Feb. 28, 2009 at 1:00am
From my "in" box:
Funny things are going on over Pierce County as they scramble to plug the budget shortfall.
I had thought that these funds were protected by Washington State mandate for historic preservation use. And I guess the commitment made by the Pierce County council to the preservation community last year was one of convenience.
Is there hope for change in Pierce County politics? I remain doubtful, but we'll see.
Historic Tacoma has been tracking the use of a new $1 surcharge established by the legislature in 2005 for historic preservation & programming. The funding is allocated by County Council. As the county struggles to address a budget deficit, it recently proposed transferring $225,000 from its historic preservation program, specifically funds slated for a much-needed countywide historic resource inventory. Some inventories have not been updated in over 30 years. Historic Tacoma believes that inventory work is vital: if we don't know what we've got, it is difficult to preserve it.
While the county's budget shortfall is severe, we are concerned that the $1M in revenue to date has not been distributed equitably across the county. The majority of funds have been retained for use by county departments for document preservation. To date, only a $195,000 grant cycle for bricks and mortar preservation projects has been funded; a $60,000 countywide inventory of historic documents is planned for this year. If the cut is made, the Tacoma's Historic Preservation Program stands to lose as much as $90,000 in historic resource inventory funds.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Pierce County Council's Committee of the Whole will discuss budget amendment 2009-16, which includes the proposed $225K cut to the county's historic preservation program/special fund, at 9:30am, March 10th, Room 1045, 10th floor, City-County Building downtown.
It is important to let Council and the County Executive know that historic preservation is a long term investment in economic development, environmental sustainability and the built environment. Visit our homepage for
- Contact information for County Council & Executive
- One-page fact sheet on the issue, incl talking points
- Sample letter
- Text of budget amendment 2009-16
We encourage phone calls, email messages, letters and most importantly, one-on-one conversations with your Council representative. We also encourage attendance at the meeting on March 10th -- this is where a decision will probably be made, with official vote at a March Council meeting (TBA on our website homepage).
Stuff on my brain.