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Neighboring City Councils Ponder County's Flood District Future

Lakewood, Steilacoom and DuPont elected officials call for a tiered tax system.

Lakewood, Steilacoom and DuPont public officials agreed Monday night that a flood hazard management plan is necessary, but what remains a hot-button issue is if the special property taxing district should be flat across a county with 860,000 people living in high and low levels of flooding areas.

Three bordering city councils teamed up Monday night at the Steilacoom City Hall building to discuss a as early as this month that would establish a flood zone district creating a property tax rate of 10 cents per $1,000 assessed value.

Pierce County has no flood control infrastructure. There are nearly 12,000 jobs located in flood-prone areas. Interstate 5, Highway 410 and the rail systems are at risk, according to presentation documents. About one quarter of Pierce County commuters—or 80,785—travel north outside of the county to Seattle. Seven percent—or 18,565—represent county workers who live outside the county.

An alternative to the flat tax rate is a tiered system based on flood risk. Lakewood City Councilman Don Anderson said that is one option they'd like to explore. The Rules Committee will discuss that option Jan. 17 and could vote in the creation of the district as early as later this month.

Check back with Patch for the full story Tuesday afternoon.

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Here’s the projected timeline for forming a flood control zoning district:

Winter 2012: Boundary Review Board process and the district formation and appointment of advisory committee.

Spring 2012: Possible approval of comprehensive flood control plan and revenue and project options.

Summer 2012: Notification to County Assessor of possible revenue options.

Fall 2012: Board of Supervisors action on revenue and budget.

2013: Revenue collection and project implementation begins.

John Arbeeny January 11, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Thanks! You nailed it.
Lisa Jones January 11, 2012 at 08:58 PM
John.. I understand what your saying but there is some real justification for developing the district also and supporting improvements needed to reduce what are preventable losses occurring only because previous funds have been utilized to permit cities to continue to develop on wet lands and flood plains till now. Because of previous County permitted developments in these zones and understandable changes now facing us with the new maps, we have vital infrastructure and properties that face increased repetitive risks that are NOT along the rivers even.. but more related to down hill over flows , Port and wetland changes, etc. We can't change this without real economic havoc but we can use funding wisely and address what already is at risk by making the two changes I suggest. After this is done and PC gets based on todays reality, the County can always go back to FEMA and ask for a re-do of mapping , then having a realistically clear picture of where future development should be factually permitted. But without these items being addressed first, wanna bet that this Districts money will be a hot ticket priority to "fix" a heart string future development like the proposed new YMCA while leaving the same threats to 167, I-5 etc?
Marques Hunter January 11, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Hey, thanks for your comment. we had the Margaret Anderson coverage take priority but the update to this story was posted today. Here's the link: http://patch.com/A-qbLH
John Arbeeny January 12, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Lisa...I understand what you're saying but are you suggesting that we pay for Pierce County misfeasance/malfeasance again in areas that don't affect us? PC had the SWM money but it was more important to "expand the tax base" by allowing ill advised development.....partially underwritten by SWM funds....to go ahead in wetlands and low lying areas. On whose watch did that occur and why aren't the responsible elected officials and bureaucrats in jail over that? Why do they continue to head Pierce County Public Works? This is the same strategy used recently by Pierce County to increase the sales tax .1% to redo the County’s 911 system that already exists as a ill thought out hodge podge that’s already been paid for by citizens once. It’s the same strategy contemplated by Lakewood’s city council to increase vehicle license fees between $30.00 to $100.00 because they misspent funds dedicated to road maintenance on other nonessential projects. At some point you have to hold them accountable for their actions and let the chips fall where they may. “We screwed up so you citizens have to pay twice” doesn’t get it anymore.
Steve Dunkelberger January 13, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Pierce County will likely create the flood control district, which will set its own rates. The county's revenue projections are based on a 10 cent tax, but the taxing authority under state law allows for five times that.

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