Tumwater to implement public safety sales tax, recommending granting finance director additional powers


Tumwater is now working to implement the county's public safety sales tax, with the city’s General Government Committee recommending to the city council an ordinance establishing a public safety sales tax fund on Wednesday, May 21.

The proposed ordinance adds a new section to the city’s municipal code, describing what the new tax is and what it will be used for.

The new tax imposes an additional 0.2% sales tax on all taxable sales. The tax will be used to support criminal justice and fire protection services and cannot go towards funding ongoing programs.

Councilmember Michael Althauser commented that creating the new fund for the tax creates more transparency so that they understand how the funds are being used.

Finance Director Troy Niemeyer agreed with Althauser, explaining that the public safety tax is currently funneled into the city’s general fund.

The new tax was approved by 56% of Thurston County voters during the November 2023 elections. The county will use sixty percent of the tax while the rest will be shared by the cities.

The ordinance will now be forwarded to the city council for final approval at its May 21 meeting.

Committee recommends granting finance director expanded authority

The committee also recommended expanding the authority of the city’s finance director in approving certain routine documents and contract amendments.

If approved by the city council, Niemeyer will now be allowed to sign future data-sharing agreements and other audit documents.

The request made by Niemeyer was born out of the need for the committee and the city council to approve two data-sharing agreements with the State Auditor’s Office so that the city can share its data for auditing purposes.

The committee approved the two agreements which will now be forwarded to the city council for final approval.

Niemeyer noted that the two agreements are identical but the second one allows the city to share its data specifically from its law enforcement records management system.

According to the documents prepared for the meeting, finance directors from other local governments already have the authority to approve auditing documents. Tumwater’s municipal code currently requires the city council’s approval for such documents.

Niemeyer also requested to be given authority to approve amendments to the city’s contract with Tyler Technologies Inc. which has been contracted to help the city implement its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

City staff seek to amend the contract to increase the contract amount by $35,000. Niemeyer said that the contract currently goes for around $891,000 but needs to be increased to cover additional labor costs associated with delays in the implementation of the ERP system.

The finance director explained that the work had to be extended due to staff burnout and turnover in the city’s HR department.

The committee endorsed the amendment to the city council which will consider it for approval in a future meeting. Niemeyer’s request allows him to approve similar amendments to this specific contract in the future without the city council’s approval if the amendment does not increase the original contract amount by more than 10%.


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  • DesertMedic

    Maybe they can use the funding they have now to actually serve us.

    Monday, May 13 Report this