Legislative Agenda

The Fife City Council, on behalf of its residents and businesses urge the following of the Washington State Legislature:

Enact a Transportation Package / Complete the SR 167 Corridor
Fife urges the Legislature to enact a comprehensive transportation investment package during the 2015 Session. A top priority in that package must be the completion of State Route 167 between Puyallup (SR-161) and Tacoma (SR-509) as first envisioned decades ago. Fife is disproportionately impacted by the state’s failure to complete 167, since City corridors such as 20th Street East, 54th Avenue East, and Port of Tacoma Road end up bearing the brunt of freight traffic in and out of the Port of Tacoma, not to mention congestion and backups for local and regional travelers. Additionally, Fife, along with other communities in the Puyallup and Kent valleys, is part of the second largest warehouse distribution hub on the West Coast. It is critical to the economic health of the Central Puget Sound and the State, to the future competitiveness of the Port of Tacoma, and to jobs creation and freight mobility, to “finish what was started” and complete this corridor.

Additionally, Fife urges lawmakers to ensure any transportation package also includes:

  • Dedicating a portion of new fuel tax revenue to direct distributions to cities and counties for their local road needs.
  • Local transportation financing options that cities and counties can consider in their own communities.
  • Enhanced funding for grant programs, such as the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB), Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board (FMSIB), Safe Routes to Schools, and “Complete Streets,” that are critical to helping cities address corridor needs, freight movements, safety, and multi-modal issues.
  • Reforms of the transportation system to ensure that project permitting and timelines are expedited and that taxpayer dollars are being spent as wisely and cost-effectively as possible.

2015 Supplemental Capital Budget Request – $1.2 Million to complete Brookville Gardens Park – a ‘generational’ parks/open space facility
The City of Fife is requesting $1.2 million in the 2015-17 Capital Budget for Brookville Gardens Park, a parks and open space facility that will be located in the heart of the City, just off Valley Avenue. The late Council Member Richard Godwin was a driving force behind developing this 11-acre crown jewel, which will be easily accessible on a regional basis to residents of Puyallup, Tacoma, and Pierce County. Brookville Gardens will be a vibrant park with play equipment, internal pathways, trail connections, “green” roofs for the restrooms and picnic shelter, and a pedestrian bridge from the parking lot over Wapato Creek. This project “daylights” the Creek for the public for the first time ever, and also includes work to remove culverts and an on-site well to assist with stream flow augmentation. The City held an August 2014 ceremony to dedicate the ground-breaking for wetlands mitigation work on site that is part of completing a Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board (FMSIB) project associated with the Port of Tacoma Road. However, the $1.2 million is critical and time-sensitive in order to complete the construction of what is an overall $7 million project.

Protect/restore key revenues critical to cities’ Operating & Capital needs; provide local governments with tools and authority to address their fiscal issues
Fife is part of a coalition of cities, counties, and transit agencies that are urging the Legislature to protect and retain Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) mitigation funding, which equates to about $536,000 a hear in the City’s Operating Budget. Additionally, Fife will strongly support coalition efforts by cities, counties and others to restore key revenues that are critical to helping local governments provide services and keep up with infrastructure needs. In particular, the City supports the restoration of a 50 percent cut in liquor excise tax distributions, restoring the growth in liquor revolving account revenues, and ending diversions of funding from the highly-successful Public Works Assistance Account. Fife is also prepared to support legislative initiatives to provide cities and counties with additional revenue authority and tools to help local governments better address their needs.

Amend the Public Records Act to pursue legislation unanimously recommended by the “Sunshine Committee” — protecting the identities of immediate family members and guardians of children who enroll in parks and recreation programs
Fife is leading an effort to close a loophole in a 2010 statute enacted by the Legislature that was intended to protect against disclosure of the names and identities of children enrolled in local parks and recreation programs (RCW 42.56.230). However, that same protection does not extend to the legal guardians and/or immediate family of the victim. In summer 2013, the City of Fife encountered a real-life example of where this presents a significant problem. It involved an incident where a teen-age camp counselor molested three young girls enrolled in a summer swim program run by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. This issue generated considerable news media coverage – and had Fife been asked, the City would have had to disclose the names of the victims’ parents. This could then have resulted in the victims’ identities becoming public against their will. Fife has earned a unanimous vote of endorsement from the “Sunshine Committee” created by the State Legislature on consensus-driven ‘technical fix’ language to protect the identities of immediate family members and guardians of children in cases like the one above.

The City of Fife will join others on these key issues below — either supporting efforts to enact legislation and obtain funding, or opposing legislation deemed harmful to the interests of local government:

Support- Efficiencies, Regulatory Reform, Cost Control, Cost-Savings for Local Governments:

  • Legislation that removes unnecessary or obsolete “unfunded mandates“;
  • Legislation to ease or reduce regulatory burdens and “cost-drivers”.
  • Legislation to add common sense to the Public Records Act while maintaining critical transparency and ‘sunshine’ for the public. Specifically, the City supports addressing overly burdensome requests, cost recovery for “commercial purpose” and electronic records requests, and, ultimately, ensuring the PRA applies to all elected officials at the local and state levels.
  • Mitigating medical costs for jail offenders;
  • Controlling personnel-related costs and avoiding unnecessary ‘spikes’ in pension rates;
  • Limiting local government liability

Support- Legislative Initiatives to Ensure Sustainable Revenue in the Future for Cities/Counties:

  • Funding or fee authority to offset the cost of new caseload limits for public defenders (January 2015) providing indigent defense services;
  • Providing local governments with a distribution of funding that the state will receive from voter-passed initiatives that impact public safety (e.g. Initiative 1183, Initiative 502)

Support- Economic Development Tools to Help Communities Build Infrastructure, Attract/Retain Jobs

  • Tax-increment Financing (TIF) or “TIF-like” tools that can be enacted by the Legislature;
  • Protecting dedicated accounts that assist with water, sewer, stormwater, and parks/open space infrastructure in local communities

Oppose – Legislation that Undermines Local Control, Erodes Local Revenues or Revenue Authority

  • Cities should retain authority to enter into inter-local agreements for jail-space arrangements that are cost-effective, flexible, and convenient in terms of location. Additionally, Fife asks that legislators reject a potential legislative initiative that would require cities to house their misdemeanor offenders in jail facilities within their own counties.
  • Authority for cities to operate cost-effective Municipal Courts must be maintained
  • Legislators should refrain from tax-policy decisions that remove or sharply reduce local revenues, or removal local revenue authority

Support/Oppose – Land-Use, Growth Management Act (GMA), Housing, Environmental Issues

  • Fife will support legislation to reconcile the confusion and overlap between medical marijuana and “collective gardens” statutes and ‘retail marijuana’ laws under Initiative 502 – provided that the Legislature upholds and respects local zoning authority for communities to make siting decisions. Fife further supports ensuring a distribution of new I-502 marijuana revenues for cities and counties during the 2015 Session. The city believes any revenue distribution system should cover revenue sharing for all jurisdictions since enforcement issues will cut across all jurisdictions.
  • Fife supports protecting funding for the Housing Trust Fund, bolstering funding for mental health, and ensuring the Legislature does not drastically cut funding for critical human services and housing assistance programs.
  • Fife supports protecting annexation tools and streamlining the annexation process in current law

Support – Public Safety

  • Fife supports continued state funding for gang intervention/prevention programs.
  • Fife continues to support the mission and funding avenues for the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority (WATPA).

Support – Transportation

  • Fife is prepared to support legislation pursued by Sound Transit that would provide the agency with new taxing authorities and revenue tools to finance an “ST 3” ballot measure to take to the voters of the Central Puget Sound region. Any ST 3 plan must include a light-rail extension through Fife and to downtown Tacoma.