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Tacoma City Business Preview for the Week of December 1, 2015

Legislative Agendas

Every year the city council identifies the issues the City of Tacoma would like to see addressed in Olympia and DC. A draft of these legislative agenda priorities for 2016 is set to get some conversation from the council at this week's study session. Last week's City Manager's report to council includes several drafts of the document. We see a variety of interesting topics getting support in the various drafts - some crossed out, some not. We'll have to wait and see what makes the final cut. 

  • State assistance to repair aging bridges
  • Local control of taxes
  • Changes to the 1 percent cap on property tax revenue
  • Funding for a continuum of services. provided both by the State and local government, to assist homeless individuals and families
  • Changes in law to help cities improve police/community relations
  • The City supports the State meeting its obligations to fully fund K-12 education with new revenue
  • Adoption of statewide requirements for paid sick and safe leave and an increase in the minimum wage to at least the level approved by Tacoma voters. 
  • Protecting the long-term sustainability of JBLM (Crossed out opposition to significant force reduction at JBLM)
  • Tacoma Housing Authority's Moving to Work program and McCarver Elementary School Initiative
  • Legislation acknowledging and building on innovative stormwater work
  • A revolving loan fund to assist small business owners who have difficulty accessing traditional capital for tenant improvements to older commercial buildings
  • Making Tacoma a "Welcoming City" for immigrants

Crossed out support for...

  • Efforts to address public safety and environmental concerns from increased rail shipment of crude oil and coal...
  • Continuation of the EB5 Immigrant Investor VISA program as a valuable economic development tool
  • The Executive Order that implements administration priorities for immigration reform absent broader Congressional action

A resolution to adopt whatever the final draft of the agendas looks like will be prepared for council consideration at the December 8 council meeting. 



As the billboard conversation continues, the city council will be discussing the issue again at this week's study session. The discussion will include a review of testimony from its November 17 public hearing, and a discussion of how to proceed. The council has two basic options for handling the issue going forward: recommendations from the Planning Commission, and an alternative set of recommendations developed by City staff.

The council is tentatively scheduled to hear a first reading of an ordinance adopting some version of new regulations on December 8, with a final reading on December 15.


Comprehensive Plan & Land Use Code & Narrowmoor

Last week we heard the first reading of an ordinance that would adopt amendments to Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Code, . That ordinance is scheduled for a final reading this week.

Last week we also heard the first reading of an ordinance that would make change related to affordable housing and infill development, create a new conservation district in the West End, and make corrections and address inconsistencies in the code. We've heard quite a bit of public comment on both the proposed Narrowmoor Conservation Special Review District Overlay Zone and the new pilot project to test out a variety of new housing options as infill and affordable housing options. This ordinance is also scheduled for a final reading this week.


Taxes for Roads

Last week the Pierce County Auditor certified final election results showing both Tacoma's Proposition 3 and Proposition A passing, approving the collection of additional funds to fix Tacoma's streets.  An ordinance on this week's council meeting agenda for a first reading amends Tacoma's municipal code to authorize the 1.5% earning tax on natural gas, electric, and phone companies, as authorized by Proposition 3. This increase is expected to generate an additional $90 million, which the City will put toward repairs to Tacoma's failing roads, including pothole repair, street resurfacing, maintenance and capital improvements for arterials and freight access roads, installation of school crossing beacons, and constructing missing sidewalks.  


Budget Adjustments

Last week we heard a public hearing on proposed adjustments to the City of Tacoma's 2015-2016 budget, resulting from a required mid-biennial review of the budget. The review identifies variations between actual and expected revenues and expenditures, and adjustments are made to account for those variances. 

An ordinance modifying the 2015-2016 Biennial Budget to appropriate funds for additional contract obligations, transfers and other budget adjustments; authorizing interfund transfers and contributions; and authorizing the acceptance, deposit, and appropriation of miscellaneous donations, contributions, and fees.

New Apartments Downtown

Another resolution would authorize a Multi-Family Housing Eight-Year Limited Property Tax Exemption Agreement with Napoleon Group, LLC, for the development of 135 multi-family market-rate rental housing units located at 1515 Tacoma Avenue South in the Downtown Mixed-Use Center. The developer plans to include 26 420-square-foot studios; 43 525-square-foot open studios; 42 650-square-foot one bedroom, one bathroom units; and 24 two bedroom, two bathrooms units between 960-1150 square-feet, along with 140 on-site residential parking stalls. 


Purchase Resolutions

Five purchase resolutions appear on this week's agenda, awarding various public safety, construction, and TAGRO-related contracts:

  • A $220,000 contract increase, for a cumulative total of $837,400, budgeted from the Fire Department General Fund and EMS Special Revenue Fund, for protective jackets and trousers for structural firefighting
  • A $227,760 contract, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, for sand used in the creation of TAGRO soil amendment on an as-needed basis, for a period of two years, with the option to renew for three additional one-year periods, for a projected contract total of $569,400
  • A $450,000 contract, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, for sawdust used in the creation of TAGRO soil amendment on an as-needed basis, for a period of two years, with the option to renew for three additional one-year periods, for a projected contract total of $1,125,000
  • A $319,250 contract, budgeted from the Street Operation Fund, for the disposal of construction debris, for a period of one-year, with the option to renew for four additional one-year periods, for a projected contract total of $1,661,390
  • A $200,000 contract increase, for a cumulative total of $3,276,054, budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, for additional project improvements with the construction of the South Tacoma Way corridor from South 43rd Street to South 47th Street and from South 56th Street to South 66th Street 


Surplus Property

An ordinance on this week's consent agenda for a final reading would reclassify the eastern 127 feet of property at 8639 Pacific Avenue from an “R-4-L” Low-Density Multiple-Family Dwelling District to “C-2” General Community Commercial District for onsite parking associated with an existing business at the site. 

A pair of resolutions on this week's regular council meeting agenda would declare surplus two separate pieces of City-owned property, and authorize their sale to adjacent property owners.

  • 0.36 of an acre of land located at the intersection of Military Road and Canyon Road in Pierce County to WGW, Inc. for $63,193
  • 0.63 of an acre of land located at 7704 6th Avenue to David Sizemore, for $35,101


Other Items

A resolution on this week's regular council meeting agenda would authorize a railroad switching fee agreement with Northwest Container Services, Inc., to establish a cost of service rate of $20 per container interchanged to a Class I railroad, with an escalation rate of $1 per year, for a three-year period, beginning January 1, 2016. 

Another resolution would authorize Tacoma Rail to update its Rail Rate Policy and reissue the Tacoma Municipal Belt Line 8807 and 6004 series freight tariffs, effective January 1, 2016, to ensure reliable rail services at cost of service rates.

Every two years the city council identifies its funding priorities for the Annual Action Plan of the Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development for the upcoming fiscal year. The statement of priorities provides direction for the selection of housing and community development activities to be funded in the upcoming application cycle for CDBG and HOME funds. A resolution approving the 2016-2017 priorities appears on this week's agenda.

Three resolutions and the first reading of an ordinance on this week's council meeting agenda would approve and implement agreements with various groups of City employees, making changes to classifications, and adjustments to pay and compensation.

There will be an open house of the new Lincoln Neighborhood Revitalization Project Office on Thursday, December 3, from 1 to 5 p.m., at 750 South 38th Street, Suite C. 

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