Legislative Policy Manual

Community, Economic Development, Transportation, and Infrastructure

I-5 JBLM Corridor

The City supports full funding of improvements to the I-5 Joint Base Lewis McChord Corridor to relieve congestion and allow for future economic development of Lakewood and the surrounding region.

South Sound Military & Communities Partnership & Joint Base Lewis McChord

The City is a strong partner with Joint Base Lewis McChord and a participant in the South Sound Military Communities Partnership (SSMCP). Joint Base Lewis McChord is an employment hub for the City of Lakewood. The SSMCP is a primary point of coordination for issues where the community and JBLM can work together to accomplish a common goal. The City of Lakewood supports the ongoing efforts of the SSMCP and supports policy decisions that assist JBLM.

Economic Development Tools

The City supports programs that may be developed to assist local governments in improvement of neighborhood residential and commercial area rehabilitation, through tax incentives, grants, loans and other programs. The City also supports legislation that provides economic development tools that the City may use if it so chooses. This legislation includes, but is not limited to: the multi-family housing tax incentive, tax increment financing, lodging tax, the Main Street Act (a series of small tax incentives for neighborhood business districts), complete streets grant program, community facility financing, shared state revenue for construction of convention and special event centers, additional shared state revenue for urban renewal and other public facility improvements, and innovative approaches to property tax assessment that reduces the current incentive to allow property to remain blighted.


The City believes that annexation laws should encourage the logical development and expansion of the City to provide for a healthy and growing local economy and efficient services. The law should also facilitate and ease the annexation of unincorporated islands adjacent to City limits.

The City supports legislation that will further modify state annexation laws to reduce the administrative process of annexation and further encourage and incentivize annexation of existing unincorporated islands. A recent model that provides a temporary shift in sales tax revenue to incentivize very large annexations needs modification to recognize that most annexations involve far fewer than 10,000 people.

Boundary Review Board

Boundary Review Boards are a quasi-judicial administrative body empowered to make decisions on such issues as incorporations, annexations, extensions of utilities, etc. by cities, towns, and special purpose districts. These Boards can approve, deny, or modify a proposal. Decisions are appealable to the Pierce County Superior Court. Because most issues are appealed to the Superior Court the City of Lakewood believes the Boundary Review Boards are duplicative and supports legislation that results in their elimination.

Local Authority for Land Use and Planning

Local governments must maintain final decision making authority on local zoning, land use, and planning, including local zoning and regulation of house-banked card rooms and other businesses. Specifically, the City opposes any effort by either the State Legislature or Congress to preempt local land use or taxation authority.

Public Works Trust Fund

The City supports reforming the Public Works Trust Fund by restoring its revenue sources, streamlining its processes, and allowing the Public Works Board to expand uses for its loan program and make other modernizations.

Parks, Recreation & Urban Forestry

The City of Lakewood is in need of state assistance to improve, maintain and expand its local park system and the open space areas of the City. The City supports ongoing funding for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP).

Local Transportation Funding

The City supports a local funding component in future state transportation packages.

SR 167/SR 509 Puget Sound Gateway Project

The City of Lakewood supports completing State Route 167 by adding the remaining six miles between Puyallup (SR-161) and Tacoma (SR-509) originally envisioned in the highway’s design 30 years ago.


State-Shared Revenues

The City supports restoration and continued appropriation of committed state shared funds, such as Liquor Excise Taxes and Profits, Streamlined Sales Tax Mitigation, City-County Assistance Account, Municipal Criminal Justice Account, Annexation Sales Tax Credit, and public health funding. Support legislation that provides cities with tax revenue from the sale of marijuana.

General Fund Revenue

The City supports legislation that will increase, expand, or favorably restructure its revenue-raising ability. In consideration of the continued growth in demand for services that exceed revenue growth and inflation, the City supports the following revenue options:

  • Give local governments increased local option flexibility in all areas of taxing authority.
  • Eliminate remaining non-supplanting language and restrictions on use of certain revenues in local option tax authority. This language excessively limits City Council discretion regarding funding priorities.

Unfunded Mandates & Other State & Federal Budget Impacts

Mandates from the Federal and State governments are rarely accompanied with adequate new revenues or taxing authority, but instead force the City to reduce funding levels for other services. The City opposes efforts by Congress and the State Legislature to balance budgets by shifting responsibilities to cities.

Public Safety

Authority to Appoint Municipal Court Judges

The City supports cities’ ability to appoint a municipal court judge and to maintain courts and supports further technical and financial assistance for the administration of municipal courts.

Traffic Enforcement Cameras

The Legislature has authorized local government to use traffic enforcement cameras in limited situations, including red light enforcement at certain intersections and speed control in school zones. Traffic enforcement cameras have proven to be a success in reducing instances of speeding and violation of traffic signals. The City supports the use of traffic enforcement cameras. The City also supports legislation allowing images from traffic enforcement cameras to be used by law enforcement in criminal cases if there is probable cause.

Jail and Court Costs

The City supports legislative proposals that reduce jail and court costs, and maintain the City’s flexibility in providing jail and court services. The City supports additional funding for local grants through the Office of Public Defense, and clarifying local authority to set standards for public defenders. The City also supports maintaining the flexibility to select the most appropriate manner in which to provide jail services.

General Government

Public Records & Open Meetings

The City respects the right of the public to have access to legitimate public records and documents. The City believes its ability to recover the costs of searching for, gathering and reviewing requested documents is also in the public’s interest. The City supports reasonable reforms to the public records act. The City opposes requiring the recording of executive sessions or other restrictions on legitimate uses of executive sessions.

Adopted by City Council on November 4, 2013