Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of July 29, 2014

Equity & Empowerment Budget Planning

At this week's City Council study session a representative from the Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race & Equity will provide an overview on what equity is, and how to use the information in the budgeting process for the 2015-2016 biennial budget.


Financial Report & Budget Amendments

Also at this week's Council study session, Budget Office staff will share a financial report on the second quarter of 2014, along with information on a related ordinance that will appear at this week's regular Council meeting for a first reading. The ordinance would amend the current biennial budget based on actual revenues and expenditures for the first 18 months of the biennium. 

At the financial close of the 2013 fiscal year actual revenues for the City exceeded planned revenues by $1,893,720. Staff is recommending that a portion of that surplus be used for several projects and unanticipated costs. Those recommended projects include about $550,000 for street maintenance, welcome signage, and replacement/installation of traffic control and street signage along South 56th; and sidewalk installation and landscaping is recommended along South 13th Street from Pacific Avenue to Commerce Street in anticipation of the 2015 US Open.

Another $54,000 is being recommended for the expansion of school zones around 11 Tacoma schools, $328,000 for unanticipated costs related to street lighting wire thefts that have taken place in 2014, and $165,000 in unanticipated engineering costs for design and soil testing of an Eastside PCB (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) clean-up project. The nearly $800,000 remaining would be directed to City General Fund reserves.

The ordinance would also accept grant funding received for Tacoma Fire use, and for Office of Environmental Policy projects, and make adjustments between the new Streets Fund and the Transportation Capital & Engineering Fund. An uptick in permit requests lead to over $900,000 more in revenues for Planning and Development Services, about $700,000 of which would be applied to to enhance operations and adjust staffing levels.


Human Services Direct Funding

Another resolution on the agenda for this week's meeting would authorize the allocation of a total of $3,888,390 from the City's Mental Health Fund, to support the delivery of human services by delegate agencies for the period of January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016; and directing the City Manager to negotiate a contract for services with the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center and recommend a funding allocation in the 2015-2016 Biennial Budget. 

Although the City has implemented a competitive funding process for most providers of human services that it funds, a few programs that meet criteria established in the 2015-2019 Human Services Strategic Plan receive direct funding. In the upcoming cycle, the City's Human Services Division has recommended that the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center, along with a dozen programs funded by the mental health substance use disorder tax receive direct funding, rather than completing the competitive funding process.

The Family Justice Center was established in partnership with Pierce County. In order to maintain continuity of services, Human Services is recommending that the City continue its direct funding of its portion of Center costs. The dozen mental health and chemical dependency programs being recommended for direct funding because of the parts they play in the larger strategy of addressing these issues in the community with "wrap around services."



A resolution on this week's City Council meeting consent agenda would set Thursday, September 18, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., as the date for a hearing by the Hearing Examiner to confirm the Assessment Roll for the reconstruction of unfit or unsafe sidewalks at 91 locations throughout the City. This goes back a few years, to October 2011, when a hearing date was set for the project to reconstruct those sidewalks, and to assess the property owners for the cost of the work. In the intervening years, 19 of the property owners affected have replaced their sidewalks, two properties changed hands, and the remaining 70 locations were repaired. The City is ready to bill the property owners of those 70 properties for 100% of the cost of the sidewalk replacement.


Purchase Resolutions

Four purchase resolutions appear on this week's Council meeting agenda:

  1. $374,174, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Surface Water Fund, to purchase one five-yard catch basin cleaner/vactor. The new vactor, used to clean storm system structures, storm and sewer mains, and other maintenance tasks, would replace old equipment that is no longer effective to maintain, and would be more fuel efficient, and produce fewer emissions.
  2. $192,379 budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, to provide transportation and disposal of moderate-risk waste collected through the Household Hazardous Waste program, for a two-year term, with the option to renew for three additional one-year terms, for a projected contract total of $518,544. The 25-year-old the Household
    Hazardous Waste program provides a safe alternative for the disposal of hazardous waste. The hazardous materials from Tacoma and Pierce County residents are received, processed, and packed at the Tacoma Landfill site. The proposed contract would cover transportation of the materials to a proper disposal site.
  3. An additional  $101,062, plus sales tax, for a cumulative total of $301,062, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, for Dissolved Air Flotation Tank (DAFT) polymer through April 2015. Polymer is used to remove suspended solids from the wastewater stream as a required part of the wastewater treatment process.
  4. An additional $1,200,000, plus sales tax, for a cumulative total of $4,200,000, budgeted from the Graphics Services Fund, to increase the contract for the lease and maintenance of multifunctional and networked printing devices


Strategic Planning & Visioning

This Wednesday, July 30th, at 6:00 p.m., the City will host a Citywide Strategic Plan and Vision Community meeting at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, located at 1500 Broadway. All Tacomans are invited (there will even be activities for kids) to the community visioning workshop. You can also join the online conversation at engagetacoma.mindmixer.com.


Other Items

A resolution on this week's regular Council meeting agenda would appoint three individuals to the City Events and Recognitions Committee.

This week the Council is scheduled to hear the final reading of four ordinances related to pay and compensation for several new and existing classes of represented City employees. The ordinances got a first hearing at last week's meeting, along with matching resolutions.

An ordinance on the Council meeting agenda this week for a first reading would grant a non-exclusive franchise to tw telecom of Washington, LLC to construct, operate and repair a telecommunications system throughout Tacoma. The proposed 10-year franchise agreement would make it possible for tw telecom to construct its own fiber-optic communications network in City-owned rights of way.

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