A pair of resolutions adopted unanimously by the Pierce County Council at its Aug. 3 meeting are meant to create a comprehensive strategy for a more equitable distribution of services and resources countywide.
Proposal No. R2021-108s proposes the creation of a tool to measure accessibility, livability, education, environmental health and the economy throughout Pierce County.
“The data that we will be collecting through much of this empowers us to invest in the outcomes that we want,” explained Councilmember Marty Campbell, one of the sponsors of R2021-108s. “We will, going forward, be evaluating our policies, not just for fiscal impact, but on the impact it has on all of our residents. It’s not just enough to look at how much something is going to cost, but we need to have an accurate assessment of the impact it’s going to have on people that it’s impacting when we put it in.”
Councilmember Ryan Mello, another of the bill’s sponsors, praised Campbell’s work.
“I think it’s really important,” Mello said. “It’s going to help us provide more holistic information, as you (Campbell) suggested, so we can have a more well-rounded policy discussion and see where the impacts fall and how we can sometimes do better to make a different decision.”
Proposal No. R2021-109 requests the county executive forward legislative recommendations to establish a county equity index, as well as a diversity, equity and inclusion policy to the council for review and that this policy guide all aspects of county government.
These indicators would comprise an “equity note” akin to a fiscal note detailing the financial impacts of a proposal. The goal is for this to be in place by next summer.
“For me, this is about making sure all of our residents have the tools they need to be successful,” Council Chair Derek Young said.
He noted the proposal will let the county measure where problems exists and find solutions to those problems.
“This is a great first step,” Young said. “Maybe ‘second step’ is what I would call it.”
In other business, the council passed Proposal No. R2021-121, requesting certain county departments create a report and recommendations for establishing a “Pierce County Neighborhoods Program” that would engage in civic projects such as community gardens, clean-up events and art walks.
The council also confirmed the appointment of Kimber Starr as a new member to the Pierce County Planning Commission representing District 5.