Tacoma City Business Preview for the Week of February 2, 2016

We're looking at a streets and driving-themed agenda for this first week of City business in February. Items up for discussion this week include a few business items related to the passage of Prop A and Prop 3 last fall, as well as one related to improving how DUIs are dealt with.

Streets

Last fall the voters of Tacoma approved propositions 3 and A to fund improvements to Tacoma's streets. Proposition A authorized a sales and use tax increase of one tenth of one percent (0.1 %). It is expected to generate $2.38 million in revenues for the 2015-2016 biennium. Proposition 3  authorized a 1.5% increase in the earnings tax on utilities companies, and a property tax levy lid lift of $0.20/$1,000 in assessed value over 10 years. It is expected to generate $9.89 million. The funds will all go to cover work to improve Tacoma's failing streets, but they will be handled in slightly different ways.

Because the taxing authority for Prop A came from Tacoma's Transportation Benefit District, the funds will be handled through the TBD's processes. A resolution on the agenda for this week's special meeting of the TBD governing board (a.k.a. the City Council), scheduled during the regular council meeting, would adopt an updated 2015-2016 budget and spending plan for the TBD. The updates account for the additional funds to be raised by the 0.1% sales tax increase approved by the voters last November. The plan is for the $2.38 million expected to be raised by that tax in the last months of the current biennium to go mostly ($2.25 million) to street rehabilitation, with the remainder ($130,000) going to non-motorized and sidewalk/curb ramps.

Prop 3 funds, on the other hand, will go directly into a "2015 Voted Streets Initiative Fund," which would be designated to hold the money from both propositions, along with additional City contributions. A pair of ordinances scheduled for first readings on this week's regular council meeting agenda would create the new Voted Streets Initiative Fund, and make necessary amendments to the City's biennial budget to accept the revenues generated by the tax increases approved by the voters. 

 

DUIs

In order to better target, apprehend, and successfully prosecute individuals guilty of traffic infractions and offenses, especially driving under the influence and other violations of alcohol laws, Tacoma Police Department is asking for an agreement with other Pierce County la enforcement entities. The agreement would help law enforcement provide mutual aid and share resources as necessary. A resolution approving the proposed Pierce County Traffic Safety Emphasis Interlocal and Mutual Aid Agreement appears on this week's council meeting consent agenda.

 

Open Data

A final resolution on this week's agenda would reaffirm the City’s commitment to promote an efficient, collaborative open government with an Open Data Initiative for timely and consistent publication of public information that fosters accountability and responsiveness. The goals of the initiative are increased transparency, engagement, accountability, and enhanced service delivery. The objective is "to publish high value datasets for the public without compromising sensitive or confidential information." The initiative would be designed to: 

  • Proactively release high value city data, making it freely available in open formats with no restrictions on use or reuse, and fully accessible to the broadest range of users and uses;
  • Encourage optimal use of data by maintaining descriptors that define the published data, and by keeping datasets as current and consistent as possible;
  • Establish and maintain an open data web portal that provides a central location for published city data;
  • Minimize limitations on disclosure of public information while appropriately safeguarding sensitive or confidential information; and
  • Encourage innovative and productive use of the city's published data

 

Other Items

At this Tuesday's Study Session, City staff will provide the council with an update on the Legislative Session in Olympia so far this year. 

City Council members will be appointed to various national, state, regional, and local committees, boards, and commissions, including the City Council’s standing committees, for the year.

A resolution on this week's council meeting agenda would approve the leasing of space at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center to the Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau for $4,200 a month for five years. The space in question is 2,239 square feet of retail space built into the Commerce Street side of the Convention Center. It has been without a tenant since 2009. TRCVB plans to use the 2,239 square feet for a Destination Marketing Office.


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