City Hosting Press Conference on Public Safety Building
Puyallup, WA – The Puyallup City Council, at its June 6, 2023, meeting, passed an ordinance authorizing a bond measure for the new Public Safety Building. The measure will appear on the November 2023 ballot and asks voters whether they should consider funding this facility for $56 million. The City is hosting a press conference at Noon on Tuesday, June 27, 2023, at the Police Station, which is located at 311 W Pioneer in Puyallup. The conference will take place at the Police Station parking lot, located behind the building. At the conference, Police Chief Scott Engle and the Puyallup City Council will discuss the project and bond measure. Chief Engle will also be available to answer questions from the media. Following the press conference, media will be allowed to tour the current Police Station.
The new Public Safety Building would be a modern facility and house the Police and Jail all under one roof. The new building would be located at 600 39th Ave SE next to Central Pierce Fire & Rescue Station 72. Features of the new building include space for all police officers. Additionally, the new jail would have adequate room to separate inmates and space for rehabilitative services such as mental and medical health. In addition to the new facility, the project would include a police substation located downtown. The substation would be located inside City Hall on the first floor, allowing residents of downtown access to Police services.
This is the third bond measure that the City has put before voters in Puyallup. The first bond measure was put before voters in November 2021 for $82 million and received 59 percent approval but did not meet the required 60 percent criteria to pass. The City put a second bond measure before voters in February 2022, for $81 million. That measure received 56 percent approval but did not meet the required criteria to pass. City Council and staff went back to the drawing board with its consultant to determine a path forward.
Throughout 2022 and 2023, staff and City Council took a deep dive into the project to find ways to reduce the cost and bond amount. Through this effort, the City was able to decrease the total project cost by $9 million. This included decreasing the number of jail beds from 84 to 58 and the total square footage of the new police station and jail.
The total cost of the project is $76 million and would be funded through two main sources, a voter bond of $56 million and $20 million in Councilmanic bonds. Councilmanic bonds, also called Limited Tax General Obligation (LTGO) Bonds, are non-voted bonds issued directly to the City as internal debt, which must be paid back through several payments over several years. Councilmanic bonds are paid using existing City funds and do not impact property tax rates. The voter bond of $56 million would be paid through an assessment of residents’ property taxes. A $500,000 home in Puyallup would see an increase of $15 per month on their property tax bills.
In 1968, the current Public Safety Building was established downtown at 311 W Pioneer Avenue. At the time, Puyallup’s population was roughly 14,000. The facility was built based on the City's population size and level of law enforcement service needs at the time, which was approximately 23 police staff. The Jail was built attached to the facility and was designed to hold 21 inmates.
In this 50-year time frame, Puyallup’s population has grown to over 43,000. To meet the demands of this increase in population, the Police Department has grown to staff 68 police officers and approximately 95 total employees. The Jail now holds 52 inmates and is overcrowded. This has created issues with officers performing their duties due to overcrowded and inadequate workspace. Storage for evidence and equipment is at capacity due to the lack of space available in the current building. As a result, property and evidence storage is spread across four separate facilities within the City, creating inefficiencies for the department. Additionally, the age of the building has resulted in an increased need for constant repairs and maintenance. In summary, the building has outlived its useful life and can no longer serve the needs of the Police Department and the community.
To learn more about this project, please go to the Police Department’s website here. For questions, please contact Captain Ryan Portmann, Police Public Information Officer, at email@example.com or Chief Scott Engle at firstname.lastname@example.org.