Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of June 24, 2014

Budget Meetings

This year's round of Community Budget Input Meetings have been scheduled. As with the last round of these meetings back in 2012, you can expect to hear about some of the details of Tacoma's current budget situation, some of the challenges looking ahead, and an opportunity to give your input on where you'd like to see the City put its limited resources - and where you would cut.

  • July 14th, 6:00 p.m., (District 3 - Council Member Walker) Tacoma Nature Center, located at 1919 South Tyler Street 
  • July 17th, 6:00 p.m., (District 1 - Council Member Ibsen) Wheelock Library, located at 3722 North 26th Street 
  • July 24th, 6:00 p.m., (District 5 - Council Member Lonergan) Birney Elementary Library, located at 1202 South 76th Street 
  • August 4th, 6:00 p.m., (District 4 - Council Member Campbell) Lincoln High School, located at 701 South 37th Street 
  • August 7th, 6:00 p.m., (District 2 - Council Member Thoms) Stadium High School, located at 111 North E Street 


Citywide Strategic Planning & Visioning

Another opportunity for public involvement is also on the calendar. Tacoma's current citywide strategic visioning initiative is meant to inform the City's budget priorities in the long run. The process will develop an action plan for the next five years and will create the beginning of a long-term road map for Tacoma. The plan will address seven key focus areas, and feedback gathered through the visioning process will inform the budget-setting process this time around, and in the future.

  • Public Health and Safety 
  • Quality of Life and Livability 
  • Economic Vibrancy and Employment 
  • Culture, Arts and Recreation 
  • Educational Opportunity and Attainment 
  • Effective, Efficient and Economical Government Performance 
  • Infrastructure, Mobility and Environmental Sustainability 

The Citywide Strategic Planning and Visioning community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 30th, 6:00 p.m., at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, located at 1500 Broadway. 


Gun Safety Education

The main item on this week's Tacoma City Council study session agenda is a presentation on the community-wide Gun Safety Education Campaign launched by the Tacoma Gang Reduction Project, in conjunction with National Safety Month. The Council will hear about the goals of the campaign, partnerships being leveraged, key activities planned, and community outreach efforts related to the campaign.


Comprehensive Plan & Land Use Amendments

At the beginning of the month proposed amendments to Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Regulatory Code were the subject of a public hearing.

Of the proposed amendments, we heard comments generally supportive of the sustainability and mixed-use center code review amendments, with a few suggestions from commenters. We also heard a little more from a commenter about the proposal to designate Point Ruston as a new mixed-use center. We'll see whether those and other comments have prompted any changes in these proposed amendments before the council votes on them next week. A pair of ordinances appears on this week's agenda for first readings, which, if approved next week, would implement the amendments.


Housing Funding

A resolution on this week's city council meeting agenda would authorize the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority to operate and fund the housing developments allocated to it by various City plans. Four agreements are included in the resolution - one for each year of the two year cycle for the two federal grants awarded to Tacoma, and administered by the TCRA - one for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and one for the HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) program. The TCRA is responsible for managing housing and business loan programs funded by these grants for the City of Tacoma.

This week's resolution makes a change in the way the City handles these agreements, based on notification from the federal government that the existing practice was no longer in line with federal expectations, and on feedback from involved parties that the existing format was outdated and difficult to monitor. The change will mean that rather than an annual amendment to an existing agreement between the City and TCRA, a separate annual agreement will now provide the annual funding process and other details of the contractual agreement.


Purchase Resolutions

Four purchase resolutions appear on this week's council meeting agenda.

Tacoma Fire Department's existing Computer Aided Dispatch System will eventually be replaced as a part of a coordinated South Sound 911 project. Until then, however, the Fire Department has requested an extension of the existing contract for maintenance  and repair of the system. A purchase resolution appearing on this week's agenda would authorize that extension through February 2017, at a cost of $174,929.80, plus sales tax budgeted from the Fire Miscellaneous Special Revenue Fund.

The City is in the process of converting its commercial banking services from Bank of America to Wells Fargo. While that is being completed, retail lock box services need to continue to be maintained with Bank of America to prevent potential delays, system compatibility issues, or disruption of services. A purchase resolution on this week's agenda would maintain those services on the existing contract terms through November 30, 2014, for $75,000, budgeted from the treasury operations fund.

The City's Environmental Services Department has proposed a portable compressed natural gas fueling station to provide fuel to solid waste's fleet of trucks at the Recovery and Transfer Center. The use of CNG is expected to cut fuel costs by 20-30%, and reduce truck particulate emissions by 70%, and greenhouse gas emissions by 16%. If approved SWM plans to phase in CNG over the next six to 10 years. A purchase resolution on this week's agenda would cover the costs of the proposed station, including parts and maintenance, for an initial two-year term for $773,774, with an option to renew for three additional one-year terms at a total projected cost of $860,665.

Sections of 100-year-old underground wastewater pipe along Center Street from 27th to Yakima Avenue, and at Carr Street and North 31st have been identified as at risk of failure. The pipes need to be removed and replaced, and after the excavation, the roads will need to be repaired. A purchase resolution on this week's agenda would cover that work for $819,123.15, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund.


Other Items

The Mayor will proclaim June 2014 as National Safety Month and June 28, 2014 as Highland Games Day. The 2nd Quarter Human Rights Champion Award recipient will also be recognized.

Also on this week's council meeting agenda is the second reading of an ordinance implementing rates of pay and compensation for 32 City employees represented by the United Transportation Union. That ordinance got its first reading last week.

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This is what Tacoma should consider: http://isil.org/the-town-that-privatized-everything/

June 23, 2014 at 11:27 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Perhaps that is an option worth considering, but don’t be quick to paint City of Tacoma employees with too broad of a a brush.  The failure is a failure of leadership that definitely rises to the level of malfeasance in many instances most likely cross over into corruption in some instances.  Let’s just say that given the magnitude of the fiscal problems Tacoma is looking at it would not surprise me if it does.

Fact of the matter is the rank and file City of Tacoma employees through mid management have managed to keep the City running despite their budgets being mercilessly raided for going on a third decade and the revenues transferred to fund one pie in the sky scheme after another.

June 23, 2014 at 11:45 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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