Déjà vu?

The ink is barely dry on the 2017 supplemental budget, but it is already budget season again! A special thanks to Gary Robinson, Jim Dickman, Julie Demuth, and the rest of the Finance team for their great work and amazing commitment to getting this budget proposal put together.

So, how would you propose to spend $1 billion? Before you go spending it all on new cars or an improved offensive line for the Seahawks, I should remind you that you must spend it for the greatest benefit of Pierce County’s nearly 850,000 citizens!

For our part, my executive team and I approached it through the lens of our priorities: creating vibrant communities where people feel safe and have access to behavioral health options; fostering an entrepreneurial climate so that business owners want to start and expand their companies in Pierce County; and delivering an effective government with transparency and accountability to our residents.

Those three priorities form the base of our refreshed strategic plan.  You will start seeing new balanced scorecard posters in the places you work, soon, and can expect to hear a lot more about our strategic planning and performance management efforts in the months ahead. In the meantime, you can check out this website for additional information.

Summarizing our 500 page 2018 budget in one blog post is very tough!  Here is a link to the actual budget and you will find my letter to our residents on page 1.  However, I wanted to highlight how this budget reflects our concern for the most vulnerable in our community.  We propose investing nearly $22 million toward programs that support those experiencing homelessness, behavioral health issues, and opioid addiction.

From innovative new initiatives such as the Homeless Empowerment Labor Program that offers day labor opportunities to the extension of existing programs such as the Betsy Ross Project for women veterans without a home, we are optimistic that we can make a difference for those who need hope and support.

To that end, I’m happy to report that as of this week the new Mobile Community Intervention and Response Team is now on the road and proactively reaching out to those in need.  Congratulations and thanks to Peter Ansara and his crew from Human Services for launching this important service in partnership with Comprehensive Life Resources.

I also want to congratulate this year’s Standing Ovation Award recipients.  I had the privilege of honoring them at a reception with our management team this week. It was inspiring and uplifting!

In the Sustainability category, we recognized the team from Facilities that implemented smart exterior lighting here at our County-City Building.  Thanks to Eddie Parker, Dave Emry, Miko Allred and Michael Lopez!

Two teams were recognized for Partners in Service.  Norma Pancake was hailed for her work to provide Disaster First Aid training to local residents at no cost.  Bravo, Norma!

A large team from Planning and Public Works, the Sheriff’s department, Human Services and Communications worked together to ensure that the Puyallup River encampments were cleaned up in a manner that was not only effective but reflective of our shared humanity and respect.  Thank you to Todd Karr, Scott Provost, Tess Colby, Mark Schumacher, Rance Smith, Gary Koden, Mike Halliday, Tiffany Odell, Anne Radford, Todd Essman, Tony Fantello, Kyle Schmidtke, Erin Babbo and Libby Catalinich for your collaboration and for modeling the power of teamwork.

Brian Bennett was singled out in the Innovation category for his great work to devise a new, more efficient way to survey our numerous storm water retention ponds.  Way to go, Brian!  You devised a cool technology approach and saved a great deal of time and money for our residents.

Another Innovation award was recognized for a less-than-fun reality of working in the Assessor-Treasurer’s office: foreclosures.  The dedicated team of Kim Culbertson, Adria Johnston, Sandra Moore and Joyce Walsworth worked to find alternatives to foreclosure for our residents.  So much so that they took the number of foreclosures from nearly 2,000 down to only 130.  That’s a happy ending for both the County and homeowners!

Lastly, Karl Imlig from Planning and Public Works was honored with the Leadership Award for his amazing work to manage the very complex Chambers Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion.  And, he did it while serving as the manager and interim manager of two divisions: Sewer and Surface Water Management.  Karl, you deserve a cape for your super hero work!

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I hope you will join me in celebrating our outstanding colleagues at this year’s Standing Ovation Award reception on October 26 at the McGavick Center.  Tickets are available here.

Thanks for reading,