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2023-2024 Biennial Budget Modification Process FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions on the 2023-2024 Biennial Budget Modification Process 

What are budget modifications? 


Budget modifications are changes to the City’s spending plan that account for new or updated Council policies, as well as trends in revenue or expenses. 


What do these proposed budget modifications do?


The proposed budget modifications address issues that are top of mind for all Tacoma residents and the business community. They:

  •  Reflect the Council’s policy decisions
  •  Maintain essential services and address critical needs
  •  Expand the City’s response to safety, health, affordable housing and homelessness, and the needs of the business community
  •  Reaffirm the City’s dedication to anti-racist systems transformation

 Do the proposed budget modifications include funding for alternative response models? 

Yes. The proposed budget modifications include full funding of alternative response models including: 

  •  A Behavioral Health Response Unit (HOPE Team) which would respond to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis;
  • A Community Service Officer program to respond to low/no-risk calls, diverting calls from commissioned officers and improving service delivery and equity

Do the proposed budget modifications include funding for police and fire services? 
The proposed budget modifications include funding for Tacoma Police Department and Tacoma Fire Department to cover:

  •  Overtime needed to maintain minimum staffing levels Continued implementation of the Violent Crime Reduction Plan and street racing emphasis patrols
  • Continued equipment replacement and software needs
  • Increased costs and demand for services such as board ups and towing

Do the proposed budget modifications include funding for affordable housing and homelessness?


The proposed budget modifications include funding for affordable housing and homelessness to cover:

  •  An extension of emergency sheltering through the end of 2024 
  • An expansion of safe parking
  • Outreach and communication on rental housing code changes
  • Communication and outreach for Home in Tacoma
  • An ADU accelerator program

Do the proposed budget modifications include funding to address Tacoma’s economic development needs?  
The proposed budget modifications include funding for the:

  •  Implementation of the Green Economy Study 
  • Business Climate Survey 
  • Extension of the Window Replacement Program to assist businesses impacted by vandalism
  • Attraction of investment and jobs by marketing Tacoma’s business advantage Change in business license penalty structure from a 50% penalty to a 20% penalty going into effect
  • Development of the Community Safety Action Strategy with a focus on engaging businesses and community members in order to develop a shared vision for community safety

Do the proposed budget modifications include funding for improvements to permitting and zoning?  
Yes. The proposed budget modifications include funding for increased permit processing support to improve timelines, as well as communication and outreach on permitting and land use programs. 
Do the proposed budget modifications include funding for Climate Action Plan implementation? 
Yes. The proposed budget modifications include funding for Climate Action Plan implementation, with added support for the Climate Resilience Program and Landscape Architect Review process and funding for the development of the Trees and Construction Operations Manual.


Is there a planned Health Impact Assessment for South Tacoma?

The City has budgeted to fund Health Impact Assessments for its long-range planning processes in South Tacoma, specifically the South Tacoma Ground Water Protection District Moratorium and the Tideflats Subarea Plan. For these efforts and others like them, including Home in Tacoma, the Pacific Avenue Subarea Plan, and the 2024 Comprehensive Plan Amendment, the City is working with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to determine how to best partner on conducting Health Impact Assessments. While a memorandum of understanding has not yet been formalized for the City’s partnership with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, this does not impact the City’s commitment to fund Health Impact Assessments, and the City is confident in its partnership with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.  
Where can I get a more detailed look at the key areas that the proposed budget modifications support? 
The proposed budget modifications presented to Council on November 14, 2023, are available here.


The recording of the presentation is available here.  
Here are some key highlights. 


Community Safety (Expense Adjustments of $32M)

  • Establishment of a Community Service Officer Program and Unit ($2.2M)  

  • New program of Tacoma Police Department comprised of 10 Community Service Officers operating under limited commission and 2 supervisors. The Community Service Officers will respond to low/no risk calls, diverting calls from commissioned officers while improving service delivery and equity.  

  • Continue and Expand HOPE Team Services ($1.6M) 

  • Continuation of the HOPE Team’s 7 staff into 2024 and adding a Certified Peer Counselor and a Business Services Manager to build HOPE Team’s capacity as it continues to provide services. 

  • Cross-Shift Rover Program and Overtime for Minimum Staffing Coverage for Tacoma Fire Department ($9.5M) 

  • Tacoma Fire Department has increased use of overtime to maintain minimum staffing levels of first responders (engines & ladders). Factors include increased usage of FMLA and PFML, increased OJI claims, and increased use of PTO, sick, and vacation time. This proposal addresses the overtime issue with 24 shift rovers funded by the EMS Levy for 2024 and additional overtime budget.  

  • Overtime for Minimum Staffing Coverage and Community Response for Tacoma Police Department ($6.5M) 

  • Tacoma Police Department overtime has increased due to the need to meet minimum staffing requirements and staff the Violent Crime Reduction Plan, street racing emphasis patrols, and other crime responses. The need for overtime to address these services is driven by vacancies and increased leave usage. Staff will continue their work to fill positions through Tacoma Police Department recruitment programs and lateral incentives as well as apply for grants to support crime response efforts.  

  • Addition of Public Disclosure Video Redaction Analyst Positions ($231K) 

  • Requests for body worn camera videos have increased from 271 requests in 2021 to 439 in 2022. Additional funding will allow the team to improve their response to requests, which staff anticipates increasing with the addition of more dash cameras through 2024.  

  • In addition, there is funding to continue equipment and vehicle replacement, cover software needs, and respond to increased costs and demand for services such as board ups and towing. 

Affordable Housing and Homelessness ($5.4M)

  • Maintain Emergency and Temporary Shelters ($1.4M) 

  • Three shelters projects were originally anticipated to transition in 2023, but this proposal will allow the City to maintain operations for all of the City’s emergency and temporary shelter capacity through 2024 with the exception of Aspen Court, which starts its transition into permanent supportive housing starting in 2024. The City will maintain all 514 emergency and temporary beds. If we were not able to maintain these projects through 2024, the emergency shelter capacity would be decreased to 474 (a loss of 40 beds) starting January 1, 2024, and then decreased again to 374 (another decrease of 100 beds) starting August 1, 2024.  

  • Tacoma ProBono ($240K) 

  • Continued funding for legal services that have served nearly 1,000 clients since 2022, preserved tenancy for 19 families, and closed over 400 cases with positive results.   

  • Outreach Materials for Rental Housing Code ($30K) 

  • These are hard costs associated with education and outreach materials and mailers related to Rental Housing Code changes to include printing, translation, transcreation, and interpretation for community engagement.  

  • Home in Tacoma – Community Engagement, Notification, and Language Access ($150K) 

  • This funding would support additional printing, postage, meeting materials, and language access to ensure broad community engagement.  

  • Implementation of Home in Tacoma Phase 2 ($400K) 

  • Planning and Development Services is committed to advancing the Affordable Housing Action Strategy, including Home in Tacoma Phase 2. This project is expected to increase the number of housing types submitted in redefined areas, and Planning and Development Services anticipates needing an additional planning and inspecting staff for implementation of Home in Tacoma Phase 2 and processing of all permit types including, specifically, “missing middle” housing types. 

  • ADU Accelerator ($250K) 

  • This funding will cover the purchase of licensing for ADUs to support pre-approved ADU plans. 

  • Searchable Building Code, Communication and Engagement, and Other Supplies for Permitting Services ($255K) 

  • This proposal will fund a Municipal Building Code that is searchable and a communication strategy to promote it. This proposal will also add parking and vehicle expenses and furniture expenses to improve the Permit Resource Center.   

Access ($12.6M)

  • Contribution to Washington State Department of Transportation for SR-167 ($500K) 

  • This covers the fourth and final payment of $500K (total of $2M) that the City of Tacoma has agreed to contribute to Washington State Department of Transportation for work on SR-167. 

  • Maintenance of Teen Late Night sites in 2024 ($300K) 

  • This $300K General Fund enhancement maintains funding in 2024 for the Teen Late Nights program, a drop-in program that provides middle and high school students with opportunities to stay safe and engage in fun activities at locations across Tacoma thanks to the collaboration of a network of community partners. In 2023, these community partners provided programing and activities to address the diverse needs of local youth. Preliminary outputs show 10,000 duplicate students served, 350 unique activities offered, and over 700 hours of programming provided.  

  • Tacoma Dome Strategic Feasibility Study ($250K) 

  • The Facility Condition Assessment conducted for the Dome and theaters identified major capital improvement needs requiring significant financial investment over the next 20 years.  This project will permit Tacoma Venues and Events to retain a third party to conduct a strategic feasibility study to better define the capital improvements needed, potential funding opportunities, potential site development opportunities for the Dome, and potential impacts of inaction.  

  • LINK Rides Partnership ($150K) 

  • Tacoma Venues and Events would initiate a partnership with Sound Transit to provide free rides on the T-Line, similar to programs in Seattle for the Climate Pledge Arena.  

  • Tacoma Public Library Main Branch Remodel ($2.95M) 

  • Washington State Department of Commerce Grant ($1.95M): This grant helps cover the cost of renovating the 1st and 2nd floors of Tacoma Public Library’s main branch to create inviting reading spaces, a maker space, enhance security, and provide tenant spaces to non-profits. . 

  • Trust Fund Contributions ($1M): The Main Branch Remodel project requires additional funding to get to the finish line. Tacoma Public Library will use its trust funds to bridge this funding gap that can be attributed to a rise in the costs of construction, materials and labor.  

  • New Photography Archives: National Historical Publications and Records Commission Grant ($126K) 

  • This grant was awarded from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to Tacoma Public Library in 2023 for the purpose of digitizing 8,000 items in the Tacoma News Tribune archives. 

  • Tacoma Reads ($45K) 

  • Tacoma Reads is a longstanding partnership between the City of Tacoma’s Mayor’s Office and Tacoma Public Library, with wide community support and collaboration. This proposal will replace the Council’s annual contingency fund request ($20K). 

  • Neighborhood Planning – McKinley Overlook ($32K) 

  • This proposal provides funding to complete the McKinley Overlook Project, total cost is $300K and staff is using funding previous dedicated to implementation of the McKinley Neighborhood Planning Project and $30K in new funding to complete the Overlook. 

  • Neighborhood Planning - Community Booster Grant ($50K) 

  • Each of the other two Neighborhood Plans (McKinley and Proctor) include a $50K community-led booster grant to support early, small-scale implementation. With this funding, the program will be able to cover a booster grant for South Tacoma. 

  • Public Art Projects ($122K) 

  • This proposal extends the Public Art Project Manager’s position through the end of 2024 by using dedicated funds. This position is essential to completing current and planned public art projects (including multiple City and Metro Parks projects that must apply 1% of project costs toward art; 2 mural projects with Tacoma Public Library; multiple anti-graffiti murals for PW, and public art for the McKinley Neighborhood).  

Health ($1.2M)

  • Climate Action Items  

  • Climate Resilience Manager ($140K) 

  • This is a staff position that will work across City departments, and with community partners, to implement the City’s Climate Action Strategy. 

  • Landscape Architect / Permit Review Arborist ($165K) 

  • This position supports the implementation of tree regulations and compliance with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Urban Forestry Manual. It also supports the City’s goal of achieving a 30% tree canopy increase by 2030. 

  • Trees and Construction Operations Manual ($100k) 

  • With this funding, the City will develop a Trees and Construction Operations Manual addressing how the City and the development community approach “conflict trees” or the conflict between existing mature trees during public and private right-of-way construction projects. 

  • Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) for South Tacoma and Tideflats ($200k) 

  • Planning and Development Services is actively working with Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department on outlining a coordinated process for HIAs. This request covers $75K in HIA consultant services, $75K in consultant services for outside technical expertise, and $50K for outreach/communications/language access).  The project will include a review of zoning and development standards for industrial lands to promote clean and green industrial development and to ensure consistency of industrial uses with policies for economic development, public health, and environmental enhancement and protection.  

  • Tacoma Public Library (Tacoma Public Library) Solar Feasibility Study / Washington State Department of Commerce Grant ($95K) 

  • The Tacoma Public Library was awarded, a $95K grant through the Washington State Department of Commerce to study the feasibility of installing solar and backup batteries at its Main Branch. 


Livable Wage Jobs ($433K)

  • Conduct Business Climate Survey per Resolution #41069 ($50K). 

  • Attraction of investment and jobs by marketing Tacoma’s business advantage ($150K) 

  • Contract with a graphic designer on an on-call basis to assist in business proposal development and market Tacoma's advantages to attract new investment and livable wage jobs. 

  • Change in business license penalty structure ($233K) 

  • Change in business license penalty structure from a 50% penalty to a 20% penalty going into effect 2024 (The loss of revenue in 2024 due to the fee reduction is anticipated to be covered by the strong revenue collected in this revenue category in 2023.)