Citizens, city employees, council members and others lined up one after another at the Puyallup City Council meeting on August 16, 2011 to speak their mind about Pierce County’s hair brained idea of taxing the entire county to develop a Goliath communication system that many feel will be wastful and less effective than what we have now in Puyallup. You can go to the following link to view the Pierce County presentation as well as responses from citizens, employees and council members: http://cityofpuyallup.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=288
Mr. Chris McNutt from District III was unable to attend the meeting, so he submitted the following letter:
I’m Chris McNutt from District 3. I wanted to say a few things about the South Sound 911 project. I know that we generally oppose this project. Not because it’s a new tax but because we have already paid for and implemented a compliant system, not to mention the probable loss of service quality and jobs. It seems that we were deliberately left out of it’s planning only to have our inclusion used as a bargaining chip later. We’re not really left with any good options, and the potential loss of investment we’ve already made seems to be a primary focus, but focusing on it also detracts from the real problems of this project. As noted in a Pierce County Council meeting last month, the project will cost around $258 million to build and implement, but this new tax will potentially raise $5-600 million dollars. No matter what the stated intent of the associated tax hike is, the result is that Pierce County will get hundreds of millions of dollars which they can use for anything. The issues of public safety and the inadequate existing LESA system is being used as a tool for bottom line revenue generation. At that same Council meeting it was stated that LESA has over $26 million dollars in yearly funding that would apply to the new system and that the new tax would generate at least an additional $12 million. I’m only a mathematics hobbyist but a system which is supposed to reduce redundancy and cost less money to run should not require an additional $12+ million a year. There are other problems as well. The proposed overlord type dispatch center in the South Sound 911 project hasn’t been implemented outside of a Science Fiction novel because it’s simply a bad idea. Not a single communication issue that is being sited would be solved by this new system, for the simple reason that you don’t call for backup until there is already trouble. The facts are that Pierce County or each relevant individual city have had about a decade to come up with, and implement a new system which is compliant with the national regulations, and now, nearly at the 11th hour, they are making a money grab under the guise of the need for safety using over simplified or opportunistic justifications. To gain compliance they’ll need new systems, and they do need to address the existing safety issues, but handing them a brand new system along with a bonus large enough to have been intended for the CEO of a failing bank, is not an acceptable solution. These penny’s are to be taken from all our pockets to help a specific few, the most notable of which is the Pierce County general fund.