Anyone who’s ever applied for a Pierce County building permit — or plans to — will be interested in attending the Pierce County Council’s Performance Audit Committee meeting Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main St.
The committee’s first-ever evening meeting will focus on the “action plan” developed in response to a recent audit of lobby wait times at the county’s development center, which issues commercial and residential building permits for parcels in unincorporated Pierce County. An amendment to the county’s constitution — or charter — that voters approved in November 2006 requires an evening public meeting be conducted within 90 days after a performance audit is completed.
“Performance audits don’t always get noticed, but they’re the oil that keeps the machine of government running smoothly,” said Pierce County Councilmember Dick Muri (District 6), who chairs the Performance Audit Committee. “They’re conducted by independent, professional contractors and are an indispensible tool for keeping government accountable to taxpayers.”
The wait-times study evaluates the development center’s progress toward its goal of cutting lobby wait times to less than 20 minutes for 95 percent of its customers. It is the county’s third permitting-related performance audit; a 2004 audit made 190 recommendations for eliminating the large permitting backlog, and another study in 2006 followed up on those recommendations.
Two proposed studies will also be discussed at the meeting: an examination of how best to serve indigent U.S. military veterans in Pierce County, to be funded by $25,000 that was included in a 2007 supplemental budget request in July; and an evaluation of the Prometa treatment protocol, which is provided for chemical addiction and funded locally with $400,000 in the county’s 2007 budget.
Pierce County voters passed a charter amendment in 1996 requiring the county to conduct performance audits, and the County Council created the Performance Audit Committee the following year. The seven-member committee includes three County Council members, the County Executive, the director of the Budget & Finance Department, and two citizen members. It meets Thursdays when needed in the County Council Chambers, 930 Tacoma Ave. S., Room 1045, in Tacoma.