Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of April 29, 2014

Study Session

At this week's study session the City Council will hear an update from staff on the City's budget and performance measures through first quarter of this year, including year-end financials for 2013.

The Council will also hear an overview of the last year of historic preservation activities from Planning and Development Services staff, as well as upcoming and developing initiatives, the long-term vision for the program, and activities planned for May, which is National Preservation Month.  


Hilltop Subarea Plan

This Tuesday's Tacoma City Council meeting is the date set for a public hearing by the Council on the Draft Hilltop Subarea Plan and proposed amendments to the Municipal Code, relating to Zoning and Mixed-Use Center Development. The Hilltop Subarea Planning process has been a lengthy one, with extensive public comment. This public hearing comes as one of the last opportunities for the public to speak on the plan, before it goes to Council for approval to become a part of the City's Comprehensive Plan. The plan provides planning and policy interventions to intended to "anticipate, support, and guide the long-term community development in the Hilltop Subarea, including the business district core, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods." Find more on the plan at cityoftacoma.org/hilltopplan.




Three purchase resolutions on this week's City Council agenda would authorize amendments to agreements for various components of the TAGRO making process. The three contracts totalling $720,000, budgeted from the Wastewater fund would cover sandy soil, sawdust, and black bark used in the production of the various TAGRO products, through September 30, 2015. The production of TAGRO products means 100% of the biosolids produced in Tacoma are recycled. Usage of TAGRO products has been greater than expected, and those sales are expected to grow, leading to the request for an increase in the contracts for the three additives.


Transportation Program Amendment

Tacoma is required by state law to have a six-year transportation plan in place, and to conduct annual public hearings and related updates. The City has been awarded a grant to repair a retaining wall, compete missing sections of sidewalks and install or upgrade curb ramps and driveways to ADA standards in the area of North Vassault. The project has to be added to Tacoma's six-year program to be eligible to accept the grant. A resolution on this week's Council meeting consent agenda would set Tuesday, May 13 as the date for the public hearing by the City Council on the Six-Year Comprehensive Transportation Improvement Program for years 2015-2020 and the Amended 2013-2014 Transportation Program, including the Vassault sidewalk project. 


Other Items

The Mayor will recognize the 100th anniversary of the Tacoma Buddhist Temple and proclaim May 2014 as American Stroke Month.

A fourth purchase resolution on this week's agenda would amend the agreement with the company that supplies accessory equipment, installation, training, and consulting services to Tacoma Fire Department relating to the operation of a portable gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer. TFD's HazMat team uses the device for drug detection, fire and explosives investigations, environmental analysi, and to otherwise identify the presence and quantity of unknown chemicals in a sample. The additional $45,000 being requested would cover additional costs from the manufacturer with funds from a Department of Homeland Security Grant.

This week the Council is scheduled to hear the final reading of an ordinance renewing a non-exclusive franchise allowing Level 3 Communications, LLC, to construct, operate, and repair a telecommunications system within the City right-of-way throughout Tacoma. Level 3 operates a fiber optic and content delivery network, and supports end-to-end communications services. The company's agreement with the City, allowing it to continue to provide these services, is currently expired. The proposed agreement would award a 10-year contract to Level 3.

An ordinance appearing for a first reading this week would amend the Tacoma Municipal Code as it relates to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation for a new classification of City employees titled "Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator-in-Training," to be represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Another ordinance scheduled for a first reading this week would amend the TMC relating to Boilers - Engineers and Fireman Certificates, to provide an exemption for the operation of hot water boilers at the Central Treatment Plant. Current rule adopted by the City in 2002 require all employers within the City of Tacoma who have industrial boilers to possess boiler operator certifications through a training program offered by Bates. The request for this ordinance says that the nature of the City's Central Treatment Plant boiler operation does not justify requifing this level of certification, as training to operate the low-pressure, highly-automated boilers is covered thoroughly in standard training and testing for an operator. Granting the exception will allow for the City to save what staff have estimated to be close to $100,000 in overtime, course fees, and class materials.

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