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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of July 23, 2013
City Construction Projects & Comprehensive Transportation Program
The main item on this week’s Tacoma City Council study session agenda will be an update from Public Works and Environmental Services staff on location, scope, funding and coordination for the City’s construction projects for 2013 and the schedule for the state-mandated Six-Year Comprehensive Transportation Program annual amendments.
2% Utilities Tax to Fill Potholes
We wrote last week about a proposal being discussed to impose a 2% tax on utility earnings to fund road repairs in Tacoma. The proposed tax would be expected to bring in around $10 million annually, designated for road repairs and improvements in Tacoma. The item was added to last week’s Committee of the Whole agenda at the last minute, and discussed only briefly, prompting the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber to oppose the tax and demand greater transparency from the City. The Chamber objects, among other issues, to the fact that the conversation did not get a discussion in any other committees, commissions or task forces, and so has not had sufficient analysis.
The proposal shows up on this week’s agenda as a resolution placing the issue on the ballot for November. This week’s resolution would only place the item on the ballot, it would not enact the tax. The wording of the proposed ballot City of Tacoma Proposition 1 would read something like this:
CITY OF TACOMA PROPOSITION NO. 1
2% Earnings Tax on Utility Companies for Tacoma Street Improvements
If approved, this proposition would fund basic maintenance and safety upgrades for city roads, arterials, and bridges; permanent pothole repairs; pedestrian safety improvements to crosswalks near schools, sidewalks, and intersections; repaving of neighborhood streets; improved signal timing; and repairs to bridges. Shall the City of Tacoma, pursuant to RCW 35.21.870, levy an additional 2% earnings tax on gas, electric, and phone companies for the sole purpose of funding Tacoma-wide street maintenance improvements and safety upgrades?
Swan Creek LIbrary Sale
Another resolution on this week’s City Council meeting agenda would authorize a 90-day extension to close the deal for the sale of the old Swan Creek Library building to 4 Rent Check.com. That deal, initially passed in March, would sell the property to the company, which would renovate it to house a daycare center. The business owner has had difficulty obtaining funding for the purchase and renovations, and is shifting his approach to apply for non-profit and public sector funds for entrepreneurs.
At last week’s Council meeting we heard about a proposed deal with Niagara Bottling, LLC, which would give the company access to Tacoma Water supply for bottling. The five-year deal would give the company a reduced rate for the first 265,000 gallons daily, with the company agreeing to a minimum purchase quantity. We heard concerns at public comment over the deal, and some questions from council members, which TPU promised to address. This week Council is scheduled to vote on the final reading of the ordinance.
This week’s purchase resolution would award $1,900,000, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Fire Miscellaneous Revenue Fund, for a 50-foot aluminum hull, water jet driven CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive) equipped fast attack fireboat. The Tacoma Fire Department’s current primary front line marine firefighting vessel, the Fireboat Commencement, is nearing the end of its service life of 25 to 30 years. TFD applied for and was awarded a $1.8 million one-time federal Port Security Grant to replace the Commencement.
The assessment roll will be presented for LID No. 7723 for the conversion of existing overhead electrical primary, telephone, and cable-TV systems to underground along the alley between North 29th and North 30th Streets from White to Junett Streets; and North 30th Street from 250 feet east of White Street to Junett Street. The date for the hearing by the Hearing Examiner will be set for Thursday, August 15, 2013, at 1:30 p.m.
A pair of resolutions will appoint individuals to serve on the recently formed Transportation Commission and Events and Recognitions Committee.
A resolution and matching ordinance would authorize and implement a Collective Bargaining Agreement with United Transportation Union, Yardmasters Unit, which consists of five budgeted, full-time positions, retroactive to January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2018.
This week we will also hear the first reading of an ordinance granting a non-exclusive ten-year telecommunications franchise to Electric Lightwave, LLC, to construct, operate, and repair a telecommunications system throughout the city.
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