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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of January 27, 2015

A Regional Center for Foreign Direct Investment

In November the World Trade Center Tacoma presented an update on their strategic plan to the Port Commission, one element of which is greater involvement in foreign direct investment opportunities. 

This week's Tacoma City Council study session will be a joint meeting with the Port of Tacoma Commission. The topic of discussion will be the creation of a regional center for foreign direct investment. It will be an opportunity for the City Council to join in further conversation, including discussion of increased utilization of the EB-5 program. 


Earned Sick Leave

This is likely to be the big item on the Council's agenda once again this week, with a final reading scheduled for an ordinance implementing Mayor Strickland's proposal for a requirement that all Tacoma employers provide a minimum amount of earned paid sick leave.

The Mayor's proposal requires all employers operating in Tacoma to give their employees a minimum of 24 hours of sick leave in one calendar year, earned at a rate of at least one hour leave for every 40 hours worked. The requirement applies to all employees except those covered by collective bargaining agreements.

The Council heard a first reading of the ordinance at the December 16 meeting. At that meeting a number of amendments were proposed - adopted amendments clarified that employers may provide more than the minimum, allow employers to "front load" leave rather than tracking hours each pay period, and allow for a rollover of up to 24 hours per year for an accumulation of up to 40 hours (read our notes for that meeting for the play-by-play). Another amendment which was introduced with the first reading, but not explained in detail or voted on, would allow for "premium pay programs" - we expect to hear that one again at the final reading of the ordinance, possibly along with other amendments. The final reading was pushed out until this week to give the Council time to consider the various concerns raised by their constituents related to the specifics of this proposal, and potential amendments to the ordinance.

For months now we've hear a variety of public comment on the paid leave issue at Citizens' Forums, and at last month's first reading of the ordinance the public comment session was robust, to say the least. We have no doubt we'll once again be hearing from the public ahead of the final reading this Tuesday. What isn't clear at this point is whether we will see any changes offered by the Mayor or council members in response to public testimony asking for changes like an extended minimum number of days, or expansion to include union employees. 

We'll have to wait and see.


Tacoma 2025

A resolution on the agenda for this week's council meeting would approve the City of Tacoma's 10-Year Citywide Strategic Plan and Vision (a.k.a. Tacoma 2025). The resolution would establish an 11-member Tacoma 2025 Advisory Committee, appointed by the Mayor.

In 2013 Tacoma's Fiscal Sustainability Task Force made a series of recommendations, one of which was a recommendation that the City undertake a long-term visioning process. Over the last year the City has done that, with the help of a consultant. The process has involved work with community stakeholders and input from City staff, as well as outreach to the public at large. The Citywide Strategic Vision and Plan coming out of the process seven key focus areas.

  1. Health & Safety
  2. Human & Social Needs
  3. Economic Vibrancy & Employment
  4. Education & Learning
  5. Arts & Cultural Vitality
  6. Built & Natural Environment
  7. Government Performance

Each of these focus areas is influenced by core values as identified in the public outreach process: opportunity, equity, partnerships, and accountability. 


FWDA Marina Lease Agreement

A resolution on this week's council meeting agenda would approve an amendment to the Marina Lease Agreement between the FWDA and Foss Waterway Management, extending that lease by adding ten five-year extensions,  and authorizing the execution of a Development Contribution Agreement, in the amount of $1,500,000 for debt repayment.

This comes as part of a move to make the FWDA more self-sustaining. The amendment proposes shifting long-term management, maintenance, and capital replacement of the marinas and supporting infrastructure from the FWDA to the marina operator.

The tenant will be responsible for all maintenance and repairs, including to the Dock Street Marina, The 16th Street Pier, the 15th Street Float, The Human Powered Watercraft Float and Delin Docks Marina, and for capital replacement of revenue-generating marinas and support infrastructure.

The FWDA will be responsible for the Human Powered Watercraft float and the 15th Street transient moorage, which don't generate revenue, and will split the responsibility for the guest moorage in Dock Street Marina.


Puyallup Tribe Agreement

A resolution on this week's council meeting agenda would authorize a Third Limited Modification of the long-standing Puyallup Land Claims Settlement Agreement between the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Pierce County, City of Tacoma, City of Fife, City of Puyallup, the Port of Tacoma, State of Washington, the United States of America, and certain private property owners. The proposed modification would provide clarification to resolve a dispute between the Tribe and State over the intent of a section relating to jurisdiction over non-trust lands.



Safe Walking Routes

A purchase resolution on this week's agenda would award a $308,116 contract for the construction of bulbouts, sidewalks, and other improvements on McKinley Avenue and East I Street between East 52nd and 54th Streets as part of the Sheridan Elementary Safe Routes to School project, which will use grant funding to improve crossing visibility and safety, creating safe walking routes to the school.


Other Items

Sunday, February 1, 2015 will be proclaimed as National Freedom Day in the City of Tacoma, and the Council will recognize Mr. Bouchaib Mifdal from the Tacoma sister city of El Jadida, Morocco.

A resolution on this week's agenda would authorize a $350,000 agreement with the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center for FJC expenditures in 2015. $100,000 of the funding comes from Tacoma's Mental Health and Chemical Dependency 

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