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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of April 28, 2015

Study Session

At this week's study session the city council will be updated on the current legislative session in Olympia, and they will hear 2014 year-end and 2015 first quarter financial reports.

 

Budget

The one ordinance scheduled for a first reading this week would amend the 2015-2016 Biennial Budget to appropriate funds from the 2013-2014 budget to cover current contract obligations, transfers, and other budget adjustments. This ordinance would increase the 2015-2016 budget by a total of $130.5 million, funded by grants, existing fund balances, and other miscellaneous revenue sources to cover obligations leftover from the 2013-2014 budget that haven't been completed, Council-approved capital projects with outstanding balances, and other adjustments recommended by staff. The proposed increase does not increase expenditures beyond what has been planned and is needed to ensure execution of 2013-2014 commitments, and does not negatively impact financial reserves.

 

Multi-Family Residential Development

Two multi-family residential developments are on the agenda this week to receive 12-year property tax exemptions. Both projects qualify for the 12-year property tax exemption, rather than the easier to get eight-year, because both plan to include affordable housing rate units alongside market-rate units.

The first project would be four rental units constructed at 636 North Prospect in the 6th Avenue Mixed-Use Center. The second project would be a six-unit development at 4518 South Junett in the Tacoma Mall Mixed-Use Center.

It seems like we've seen a bit of an uptick in these exemptions in recent months. The tax exemption only applies to the value of the new construction on the properties, while the land continues to generate property taxes throughout the life of the extension, at the end of which the full value of the property, including the buildings, goes on the tax rolls.

 

Purchase Resolutions

Two purchase resolutions appear on this week's council meeting agenda.

  • $344,834, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, to purchase one 2015 Caterpillar Wheel Loader to be used at the Tacoma Recovery & Transfer Center.
  • $2,000,000, plus sales tax, budgeted from various departmental funds, for Herman Miller furniture and services as needed, for a term of five years.

 

Other Items

April 2015 will be proclaimed as Vietnamese Journey to Freedom Month in the City of Tacoma.

 

Click! Rate Increases

Also coming up this week is a discussion for the city council Government Performance and Finance Committee of a request from Click! to increase its rates. Programming costs have increased by 17.8%, and Click! is requesting permission to increase its rates by 17.5% to recoup the additional cost. If approved by the council, the 17.5% increase would allow Click! to maintain its approved $19 million deficit for the budget cycle. If no rate increase is approved, that deficit would rise to $23 million. Other alternatives could be a rate increase that is less than 17.5%, leading to a smaller increase in the deficit; or a larger cable rate increase, which would shrink the deficit. 


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