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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of March 31, 2015

HUD Funding

This week the Tacoma City Council will hold a joint study session with the Tacoma Public Utility Board to discuss an update on the Click! Network. The Council will also hold a separate study session to discuss the HUD Annual Action Plan and Draft 2016-2019 Consolidated Plan.

City staff will present funding recommendations for 2015 HUD Community Planning and Development funds designated for Tacoma. These funds include the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG); HOME Investment Partnership (HOME); and, Emergency Solutions Grant programs (ESG). The recommendations are based on a $2,234,649 CDBG award; $199,158 ESG award; and $943,877 in HOME Funds ($766,334 allocated to the City of Tacoma, and $177,543 allocated to the City of Lakewood under the Tacoma-Lakewood HOME Consortium Agreement). Over the past six grant funding cycles, Tacoma has seen an overall downward trend in funding through these programs. 

Of the $2.2 million expected in CDBG funds, 20% is proposed for administrative purposes, 15% for Human services related public services, 50% for housing assistance projects, approximately 10% for economic development projects, and a little more than 5% for neighborhood oriented, community development projects, such as ADA enhancements and sidewalk upgrades in and around City sponsored development projects.

Staff will also present a draft of the Five Year Consolidated plan for 2016 through 2019, which sets goals and action areas for spending several federal grants, and establishes a framework for use of the CDBG, ESG, and HOME grants. 

A public hearing will be held by the council on these plans on April 14.


Strategic Direction

Every year the city council sets its strategic direction for the coming months. The council identifies policy priorities and strategic objectives to more clearly outline what it hopes to accomplish for the year, and to give staff and the City Manager a clear idea of how to set priorities and make decisions for funding, staff time, and resources. A resolution approving the City of Tacoma Strategic Direction for 2015 appears on this week's council meeting agenda. Read more on the council's strategic direction for 2015 here.


People's Community Center Pool

In 2008 the old People's Community Center pool was closed due to structural concerns. The City and Metro Parks, in cooperation with community stakeholders, have worked to design and fund a new and improved pool and supporting facilities. The new People's Community Center Pool is ready to be built, and a pair of resolutions on this week's agenda will cover the funding for that work.

The total contract will be awarded to Tacoma company C. E. & C., Inc, and will be funded by the City and Metro Parks, with the support of a Washington State Department of Commerce grant. A purchase resolution on this week's agenda would authorize $5.68 million from the City's 2009 LTGO Bond Capital Projects fund for the construction of the pool. Another resolution on this week's consent agenda would authorize a $1.74 million from Metro Parks for construction of the pool. That resolution approves an updated agreement that includes general updates to the project and an additional $90,000 of funding from Metro Parks Tacoma for the construction of the pool.


Taxi For-Hire Vehicle Stands

A final resolution this week would approve the establishment of two for-hire vehicle stands to be added to existing loading zones located at 716 and 950 Pacific Avenue. Supporting documents say that "the for-hire industry" requested the new stands, and that adjacent businesses have not objected. For-hire transportation companies pay $75 a year per vehicle for licensing and get a for-hire plate, which allows them to use the stands to wait for passengers between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., rather than occupy a regular parking spot. Tacoma already has a couple of these stands along 6th Avenue.



Last week we heard the first reading of an ordinance that would continue the downtown Business Improvement Area for its 28th year. The BIA provides security, maintenance, and marketing services for businesses within its boundaries (between South 7th and 21st and between A Street and Court D downtown), and is currently paying to keep the Link light rail free for all riders. The BIA is funded through the levy of special assessments on properties in its boundaries, and is governed by a representative board. The ordinance continuing the BIA, and approving the levy of assessments, and its budget and work plan for the year beginning this May through April 2016, is up for a final reading this week.


Public Hearings

Three resolutions on this week's council meeting consent agenda set dates for public hearings on three separate issues.

A public hearing by the city council on the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan and the 2015-2016 Annual Action Plan for housing and community development - Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at approximately 5:30 p.m. - see above.

A hearing by the Hearing Examiner on the request to vacate the north half of the 19th Street West right-of-way, lying west of the BNSF railroad right-of-way and the terminus of City right-of-way, to Narrows Marina, LLC (see map at right) - Thursday, May 14, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. - Narrows Marina LLC, which owns the property directly abutting this section of the right-of-way, filed a petition for the vacation to accommodate planned future improvements to pedestrian accessways and boat launch parking. Narrows is working to finalize a Master Development plan. The section of right-of-way to be vacated will also serve future residential development needs. The strip of property in question is currently mostly parking lot.

A hearing by the Hearing Examiner on the request to vacate a portion of South Stevens Street lying north of South 64th Street to Brad Currah and Deborah McNamara - Thursday, May 21, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. Currah and McNamara own the abutting property, and have requested the vacation of the property at the dead end of Stevens Street to accommodate a private driveway entrance, garden, and landscaping.


Fixing Tacoma Streets

Three out of four purchase resolutions on this week's agenda relate to improvements to Tacoma's streets.

  1. $5,680,906 budgeted from the 2009 LTGO Bond Capital Projects Fund, to construct a new pool at the People’s Community Center. See above.
  2. $256,936.00 budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, for completing a grind and overlay of Milwaukee Way from 600 feet south of Marshall Avenue to the north SR 509 frontage road
  3. $132,050 budgeted from the Asphalt Plant Fund, for the purchase of hot mix asphalt aggregate blend, for the period of April 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016, with the option to renew for four additional one-year periods, for a projected contract total of $660,250
  4. $1,923,636.63 budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, for improving the surfaces of the Union Avenue Viaduct and Schuster Parkway Bridge 

The HMA (hot mix asphalt) in item 3 is used for making permanent pothole repairs, replacing deteriorated street pavement surfaces and for the City's residential street paving program, which overlays approximately 40 residential blocks per year. Item 4 funds the removal and replacement of worn and failing surfaces on both overpasses in order to extend their life spans without need for significant structural repair or replacement.


Other Items

A resolution on this week's agenda would authorize the renewal of the license agreement with the company that constructs, operates, and maintains Tacoma's parking meters.

Another resolution on this week's agenda would grant an easement to the Henry Foss Group LLC, for the installation of a private water line, fire supply line, and storm drain line on City-owned property located at 1955 Dock Street.

Another resolution would authorize $50,000 to support the final phase of the Pierce County AIDS Foundation's capital campaign to provide increased capacity and space for services related to HIV/AIDS prevention and outreach. PCAF has moved into and officially opened its new space on South 40th Street, and now needs the final funding to complete improvements to furnish the lobby and three conference rooms, equip the kitchen, and outfit the facility with audio/visual equipment among other things. Overall the project cost is estimated at $1.6 million. This $50,000 would come from the City Council Contingency Fund.

Another ordinance scheduled for a final reading this week would approve the issuance and sale of water system revenue and refunding bonds, in an amount not to exceed $30,600,000, to refund and defease all or a portion of the Water System Revenue and Refunding Bonds, 2005, fixing or setting parameters with respect to certain terms of the bonds, and delegating the authority to approve the final terms of the bonds. As we heard at the first reading of the ordinance last week, Tacoma Water made the request in light of low interest rates, which it expects to lead to a savings of somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million over the remaining life of the bonds.

A pair of items - a resolution and a corresponding ordinance scheduled for a first reading - on this week's agenda would authorize and implement a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Union, Transportation Division, retroactive to January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017 for new rates of pay and compensation.

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