Thanks to the hard work of lots of dedicated people the Pierce County General Services Building is on the November ballot. Your vote in August was an ‘advisory vote’, it had no power, this one counts. If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to call or contact us before marking your ballot. Vote Yes, this time, to reject and repeal the funding for this project.
This is a non-partisan issue. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents have spoken in support of this petition, signed and contributed toward this effort. It’s for all of us! We the people of Pierce County!
Vote YES to REJECT: Here’s why
Project Costs – Project costs have more then doubled from $60M to $142M in just over 1 year. More then $21M goes to developers and bankers at the start of the
project. They get money up front and leave the County responsible for maintenance that they haven’t budgeted for. The developer will be our landlord in a 30-year rent to own plan at $8M per year to replace $3M in current leases.
Annex – Pierce County already owns the Annex Building. Years of deferred maintenance has left it in need of some repairs and updating. It still needs repairs and updating. It has parking and can be updated for a lot less money then building a new General Services Building with inadequate parking that we won’t own for 30 years.
Tacoma Pierce County Health Department – They currently do not pay rent in their Pierce County owned building. They are, however, required to maintain the building. They have decided that if they don’t have to update the HVAC or do other necessary repairs and maintenance that they can come up with some of their $1M/year rent for their new offices in the new building. Pierce County will still own that building and the updates, repairs and maintenance will still have to be done. The Health Department budget is already strained. To cover the costs of their new lease they will have to cut programs, increase user fees and form partnerships with other local taxing authorities, like our school districts.
Lease Costs – Currently Pierce County leases only 9% of their facilities. Those leases total $3M annually. Those leased facilities are owned and maintained by private owners who pay property taxes. (Pierce County owned properties are tax exempt) The rent to own plan for this new building is $8M/year with maintenance not included. Leases give the County flexibility in the ability to more easily change facilities as needs change.
Parking – At the last minute a $17M, three story parking garage for 622 cars was added to the project. No drawings, no specification, no documentation, a non-competitive proposal. There is still not enough parking. According to the traffic impact study there is plenty of on street parking throughout the adjacent neighborhoods. The parking study also suggests that many of the employees won’t require parking as they opt to work from home.
Convenience? – All of the people that will benefit from co-location of services will fit on a city bus. Most people who use county services have a single purpose for their visit. As more and more services are available online there will be even less need to co-location for services.
Job Loss – The County says that they will lay off 38 people to pay for the building. Cutting staff and services to make lease payments to a King County Developer. This while the County requested 18 new staff members for this year.
Taxes – Lease payments on the new building will divert your tax dollars to pay for the building loan. Current tax dollars will be spent to make the payments instead of meeting our need for services. Discretionary funds for important community programs will be eliminated to pay the new debt.
Strengthen the Lincoln District? – The new General Services Building will be unoccupied evenings and weekends. Having a government building instead of housing and local businesses will cost hundreds of millions in lost revenue to the community over 30 years in the form of property tax, sales tax, business taxes and not do anything to rejuvenate the Lincoln District.
Drawings and Specifications – There are no drawings for the parking structure. The details of finishes, flooring, etc are left entirely up to the contractor. The county feels confident that they will use the best materials.
Navigate this site, do your homework, you’ll agree… we’re certain of it:
- Use the menus (above) to research the news, articles, and history and learn as much as you can about this issue. We believe that when you’ve done your homework and scrutinized the available information, you will come to the same conclusion we have: Not this build! It’s simply not the best application of our hard-earned money.
Thank you for your time and consideration.