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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of October 21, 2014

Budget talk continues to be the biggest topic this week, with conversations around the general fund, and funding for the Foss Waterway Development Authority. We'll also get to learn more about the new Seaport Alliance and plans to make the West End Alcohol Impact Area permanent, among other things.

Budget - General Fund Revenues and Cost Drivers

Budget conversations continue this week with a City Council budget work session focused on General Fund revenues and cost drivers at this week's Council study session. The study session will be televised live on TV Tacoma so you can continue to follow every riveting minute of budget presentation. 

And for a little more participatory budget action, join one of the upcoming Proposed Biennial Budget Community Meetings.

  • Wednesday, October 22, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Wheelock Library, 3722 North 26th Street (Regional meeting for North End, New Tacoma, West End, and Northeast Tacoma). 
  • Thursday, October 30, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Lincoln High School, 701 South 37th Street (Regional meeting for Central, South Tacoma, South End, and Eastside) 

Then, on November 4, according to a resolution on this week's Council meeting consent agenda, the Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2015-2016 biennial budget.


Seaport Alliance

At this week's Committee of the Whole meeting, Port of Tacoma representatives will brief Council on the newly formed partnership between the Port of Tacoma and the Port of Seattle to market and operate their marine terminals as a single entity. 


Foss Waterway Development Authority Budget

In 2007 the City of Tacoma made a $4.1 million loan to the Foss Waterway Development Authority, which the FWDA used for public infrastructure improvements along the Foss Waterway including the wharf/public esplanade and stabilization of the Seaport building. The FWDA relies on rent and sale of Foss Waterway properties for ongoing operating expenses - sources which have been down in recent years due to the economic downturn. In the past the City has provided funds to close the gap in operating expenses.

A resolution appearing on this week's regular Council meeting agenda would restructure the loan agreement, authorizing the FWDA to retain a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Foss Site 1 property for operating expenses in the 2015-2016 biennium, reducing its need for financial support directly from the City. The resolution would also add $5.2 million in additional properties (sites 10 and 12 and the Delin Docks) to the list of FWDA assets to secure repayment of the loan.


West End Alcohol Impact Area

In 2013 the City Council created a temporary, voluntary Alcohol Impact Area in Tacoma's West End, asking retailers to limit sales of certain types of cheap, high-octane alcohol to reduce chronic public inebriation. The AIA was imposed following an increase in alcohol-related calls for emergency services, and requests from the community. It was made temporary to gauge whether permanent restrictions were necessary, and temporary in response to businesses. 

The six month trial period of the voluntary ban did not achieve the desired results, with low adherence by retailers in the area, and no drop in alcohol-related calls for service. When TPD reported those results this summer, the department recommended making AIA compliance mandatory for the West End, as it is for Tacoma's existing Downtown Core and Lincoln AIAs. The West End AIA would cover most of north and west Tacoma (north of SR-16/South 19th and between Jackson/Narrows Drive/Pearl Street and Alder/Cedar, applying restrictions to 41 stores within those boundaries.

Products currently on the limited list include malt beverages like Colt 45 and Old English 800, flavored fortified wines like Thunderbird and MD 20/20, and alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko.


Public Hearings

Three resolutions on this week's City Council meeting consent agenda set November 4 as the date for public hearings before the Council on three separate issues. 

  • The surplus and proposed sale of approximately 867 square feet of land owned by the Department of Public Utilities and located near the intersection of Bridgeport Way and 21st Street West in University Place, to the City of University Place for the amount of $11,900. The narrow 8.5-foot-wide strip of property along the west side of the TPU substation would be sold to UP to allow for improvements to Bridgeport Way.
  • The 2015-2016 Biennial Budget (see above).
  • Proposed Ad Valorem tax levies and other General Fund revenues for 2015. The City is required to approve the levies annually for the following year.


Other Items

Tae McKenzie will be recognized as 2014-2015 Pacific Region Youth of the Year and the week of October 19-25, 2014 will be proclaimed Sarah Ioannides Week.

A resolution on this week's regular Council meeting agenda would declare approximately 0.85 of an acre of land located near the intersection of Canyon Road and 172nd Street East in Pierce County surplus, and approve its sale to Fretoc, LLC for $50,000. A public hearing on the sale of unneeded Tacoma Water land to the adjacent property owner was held on September 23 with no comment.

A second resolution would declare approximately 20 acres of real property owned by the Department of Public Utilities located in the Green River Watershed surplus and approve its sale of to the US Army Corps of Engineers, for $142,300. A public hearing on the sale to allow the Corps to continue operations related to the Howard Hansen Dam was held last week, with no comment.

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