Morgan's Brain

Jan. 29, 2009 at 12:01pm

County Preserving Preservation Funds?

Todd Matthews over at the Daily Index is reporting that the Pierce County government is diverting funds that were supposed to be dedicated for supporting historic preservation community projects. While this is probably legal, it is no less infuriating.

As a strong supporter of historic preservation - and as someone who was involved in the creation of the new county preservation program - I find it more than disappointing that elected county officials have no problem removing funds from what was presumed to be dedicated for a community program. All with no discussion.

Is this business as usual at the county? I really can't say. I wish I had time to follow what goes on at the county, but I can barely keep up with what's going on at city hall! It would be nice if the TNT could dig a little deeper into stories. Sometimes it seems like Todd is the only one digging into things around here.

If you are a fan of historic preservation or a fan of keeping government priorities straight - even in difficult economic times, please contact county reps and make your voice heard!

Pat McCarthy, County Executive

Pierce County Council


comments [2]  |  posted under tacoma


by TDI-Reporters-Notebook on 1/29/2009 @ 10:52am
Hey Morgan --

As always, thanks for the post.

However, I want to be clear on something re: your 'diverting funds' observation, which I'm not reporting. The article looks at what, if anything, will happen to the county's historic preservation program in this period of budget reduction recommendations.

Two recommendations for reductions have been made. One calls for reducing/eliminating $225,000 from the county's historical documents program. Another calls for reducing/eliminating $261,600 from the Planning and Land Services (PALS) department "to be determined by the department." The latter is relevant because the county's historic preservation office is a division of PALS. A fear exists that preservation could be a target of some of those cuts.

Whether the county will leave historic preservation alone or reduce its budget is the big question I'm examining in the article, and I plan to follow in the coming weeks.

Best . . . --TODD

by morgan on 1/29/2009 @ 11:10am
TODD: Thanks for your comment. Maybe I was too harsh in the heat of the moment. I revised the post title (used to say "County Diverting Funds").

What I latched onto were a couple quotes from your article: "$173,529 was expended in 2006 for 'internal purposes.'" and "With a recommendation now to cut $261,600 from PALS and $225,000 from the county's historical documents program."

To me, that sounds like diverting funds. The funding was created to be used for historic preservation purposes. If there were not, there should have been safeguards put in place protecting the funds so they couldn't be diverted into general funds.

From working on the county program that was put in place, I was under the impression that these funds were in fact to be dedicated only for the program being created. Otherwise, why even bother creating a program?