Pierce County’s “South Sound 911” – Harsh criticism at the Puyallup City Council meeting

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.




Filed under Finances, Letters, Tax Payers Money Wasted

4 responses to “Pierce County’s “South Sound 911” – Harsh criticism at the Puyallup City Council meeting

  1. Phil Thenstedt

    It’s a shame you couldn’t have made the meeting to deliver this message in person!

    • Ronald Morehouse

      Very well said. Also they are insinuating all Fire are in favor and Central Pierce Fire voted not to support this project. To many unanswered questions.

  2. Well said Cris!!
    Another aspect is that each City would also get billed for the service.
    This might be by call volume. Regardless it is undefined. Steve Shores pointed out what happened with Fire and the so called revenue neutral billing. My take is don’t sign the interlocal agreement. Eat the inevitable 1% .Watch the big boys screw up big
    time.Maintain independence…John

  3. John Smith


    You may want to check some of your facts. None of the monies generated from this 0.01% sales tax increase (1-cent on a $10 purchase) can go to the County General Fund. Also, I think you will find if you ask that Puyallup only has a few more years (with their new equipment) before they have to make upgrades and changes to meet the upcoming federal mandates. I understand that Puyallup is not getting as big of a bang for their tax buck here but they too need to make improvements to their system in the near future and not being prepared for these requirements is not good business. Ask yourself why are an overwhelming majority of police agencies (to include Tacoma and Lakewood with current 800mhz systems just like Puyallup) as well as fire agencies on board with this plan and Puyallup is the hold out. I think the reason is jobs for your City of Puyallup Dispatchers. Is there a chance some may lose their jobs in the City of Puyallup? Yes. Is there a good chance they will get hired by SouthSound 9-1-1 if they meet the hiring requirements? Yes. There are other issues as well. What is going to happen if the Puyallup Dispatch Center has a major equipment failure with their server, is there a redundant server? Unlikely. SouthSound 9-1-1 will have two servers located in two different geographic locations to ensure a backup system is in place for a major equipment failure. I only ask that people research the project for themselves and not depend on a misinformed person’s letter… Look a bit closer at the facts, look to the future and consider the investment.

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