Last night, the Pierce County Council had an opportunity to support the most vulnerable in our community. Instead, the Council chose to defeat Ordinance 2016-57s, the one tenth of one percent for behavioral health. The ordinance would have collected an estimated $17 per person annually to provide services to those dealing with mental health and substance abuse challenges.
The vote was 4-3 and a supermajority of 5 was needed to pass the ordinance. As a co-sponsor of this ordinance and the HSRI study, I expected my Council colleagues to demonstrate leadership and start addressing the significant issues surrounding behavioral health in Pierce County. Instead, our shameful inaction will only lead to a worsening situation.
This vote comes after months of information gathering and public feedback on behavioral health. I want to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to bravely share their experiences and expertise. I want you to know that you were heard and appreciated. Your passion and concern came through loud and clear.
I am, quite frankly, angry at this outcome but I will continue to fight to ensure resources are available for individuals with behavioral health needs.