Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of July 15, 2014

Human Services Strategic Plan

At this week's study session the City Council will hear a presentation from Neighborhood and Community Services staff on the proposed Human Services Strategic Plan. The City's Human Services Plan identifies the City's role in human services, funding priorities, and policies to be used in allocation of resources to meet human services needs. The plan, updated every five years, is due for an update, and expected to appear for consideration by Council at its July 22 meeting.


Charter Changes

A dozen resolutions on this week's Tacoma City Council meeting agenda relate to proposed changes coming out of the recent charter review process. At a special meeting on June 17 the Council reviewed recommendations from the citizen Charter Review Committee, as well as a short list from Council and City staff. Some items were eliminated from consideration at that meeting, the rest were passed along to appear on this week's agenda.

  • amending multiple sections of the City Charter to bring election-related provisions in conformance with state law and City practice. 
  • amending multiple sections of the City Charter to replace gender-specific language with gender-neutral language, and deleting or replacing obsolete terms and provisions. 
  • amending the City Charter to add color, ancestry, gender-identity, sexual orientation, familial status, honorably discharged veteran, and military status to the list of classes protected from discrimination in City employment. 
  • amending the City Charter to allow emergency ordinances to take effect immediately upon passage rather than after publication. 
  • amending the City Charter to require City Council confirmation for appointment of department heads. 
  • amending the City Charter to require City Council confirmation of the appointment of the Director of Utilities by the Public Utility Board, with reconfirmation by the City Council every two years following annual performance reviews by the Public Utility Board. 
  • amending the City Charter by adding a new section to require a Landmarks Preservation Commission. 
  • amending the City Charter regarding term limits, by allowing a person to serve two full consecutive terms as a Council Member and two full consecutive terms as Mayor. 
  • amending the City Charter to add a Citizen Commission on Elected Salaries to determine the compensation and salary of the Mayor and Council. 
  • amending the City Charter by removing the prohibition against new cemeteries, mausoleums, or crematories within the City of Tacoma.
  • amending the City Charter to allow City employees to contract for utility services and participate in conservation, environmental, and other programs available to the public generally and as otherwise allowed by state law. 
  • amending the City Charter by removing citizenship and City residency as requirements of eligibility for City employment.

Each resolution contains this language:

Council must decide which proposed Charter amendments, if any, shall be submitted in the form of propositions to the voters of the City of Tacoma at the General Election to be held on November 4, 2014. 

If Council does not adopt the proposed Charter Amendment ... it will not be submitted to the voters of the City of Tacoma at the General Election to be held on November 4, 2014.

The City has already collected letters of interest from citizens interested in participating on the committees that will write "for" and "against" statements for each of the proposed amendments. Those that are moved forward to the ballot this week will go to those committees to be summarized in statements that will appear in the Voters Guide for the November 4 election. Then it's all up to the voters.


Stadium Multi-Family Development

A resolution appearing on this week's Council meeting agenda would approve a multi-family housing eight-year limited property tax exemption for a 35-unit rental development. The project, occupy 219 and 223 North J Street, just off Division in the Stadium District Mixed-Use Center. The lots currently contain one unoccupied building; the City currently makes about $630 per year in property taxes. Once the project is completed, and once the eight-year exemption is up, the City expects to make nearly $13,000 annually on the development. According to the developer, the tax exemption is necessary to make the project financially feasible.


Vehicle Accident Management

A purchase resolution on this week's Council meeting agenda would award a $450,000 contract, budgeted from various departmental funds, for vehicle accident management services for the City's fleet. It would cover It includes auto repair estimates, independent appraisals, auto repairs, vendor monitoring, insurance recovery service, centralized billing for payment to one vendor, claims review, and web-based reports in real time. The contract would be for an initial term of three years, with the option to renew for two additional one-year terms, for a projected contract total of $750,000.


Other Items

At this week's City Council Committee of the Whole meeting, the Council will hear an update on improvements to the City's special events program.

The recognition for Simpson Kraft and RockTenn originally scheduled for last week's meeting is back on the agenda for this week.

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