Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of June 3, 2014

Proposed Amendments: Charter Review

This week's City Council Committee of the Whole meeting will feature a discussion of proposed amendments to Tacoma's charter, as recommended by the citizen Charter Review Committee. Following that discussion, a resolution appearing on the consent agenda for the week's regular Council meeting would set next Tuesday, June 10, as the date for a public hearing before the Council on the proposed amendments. The Council will ultimately decide which of the recommendations it sends to the voters this fall.


TPU Budget

This week the City Council meets with the Utility Board for a joint study session. At that meeting TPU staff will make a presentation to the Council and the Board covering background information on conditions and drivers shaping TPU's 2015-2016 budget.


Proposed Amendments: Comprehensive Plan & Land Use Code 

At a Council study session immediately following the joint session, the main topic for discussion will be Planning Commission recommendations regarding this year's proposed amendments to Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Code. Then at its regular meeting, the council will hear public comment on the proposed amendments.


21st Street Park Play Area

A resolution on this week's council meeting consent agenda would authorize the submittal of a grant application to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office for $60,000 to install a children's play area in the South 21st Street Park located on the Foss Waterway. The City would be the sponsor for the grant; the grant writing, a one-to-one local match, and project management would be the responsibility of the Foss Waterway Development Authority. That local match would come from The Henry Group LLC, which is developing the mixed-use development adjacent to the park.

The park is part of the public acces plan for the Dome to Defiance trail system, and would be maintained by the Foss Waterway Owners Association. If the grant application is successful, it would pay for materials such as surface mats and play equipment. No word on whether or not the park will get a more inspiring name at some point.


Purchase Resolutions

A purchase resolution on this week's council meeting agenda would award $880,564, budgeted from the Surface Water and Wastewater Funds, for the replacement of a total of 2,000 linear feet of underground stormwater and wastewater pipe below South 9th, 10th, 11th, and 21st streets. The existing system of pipes under these streets is about 100 years old, and have been identified as beginning to show signs of failure. Their replacement will be done in conjunction with the Hilltop Diversitree project, which will construct medians on South 11th, where trees will later be planted.

A second purchase resolution on this week's agenda would award $1,387,083, budgeted from the Surface Water, Wastewater, and Water Funds, for the construction of the Sprague Pervious Parking Project. This would fund work on the failing residential side of Sprague located between South 19th and South 25th. The redesigned street will include pervious pavement and reduced overall paved area to reduce runoff and improve drainage, addressing localized flooding that occurs on the current street.

A third purchase resolution would award a $427,485.53, sales tax not applicable, plus a 48.5 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $634,777, budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, for completing a grind and overlay of Milwaukee Way from Lincoln Avenue to Marshall Avenue. The project would grind down existing asphalt on a major road in Tacoma's Heavy Haul Corridor in the Tideflats, which it would replace with geotextile fabric and new asphalt. The contingency is larger than what we're used to seeing, but Public Works reports that the federal grant funding the project allows for excess funds to be used to extend the limits of the project, the bid for which came in lower than anticipated.

A fourth and final purchase resolution would award a $3,500,000 contract, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for disaster debris monitoring services in the event of a natural disaster. This is a contingency contract, meaning it would only be used in the event of a natural disaster generating debris in excess of what the City is capable of managing on its own, and for which a presidential declaration has been made to allow for FEMA reimbursement. It is estimated that 87.5% of expenditures under this contract would be reimbursable by FEMA and the State of Washington. The contract is intended to allow for a quicker response to a large-scale natural disaster, while still taking advantage of FEMA funds.


Other Items

Another resolution on this week's council meeting consent agenda would set Thursday, July 10 at 9:00 a.m. as the date for a hearing by the Hearing Examiner on a request to vacate a portion of  South 49th Street between South Wilkeson Street and Interstate 5 to  Wesco Management, LLC for commercial retail development. Wesco has requested the vacation of the section of street in order to put in parking and a fire access lane at the site between South 48th and 49th and Wilkeson and I-5, where it intends to develop a 45,000 square-foot Mor Furniture store. The company is in negotiations to purchase the property for the development, and would be required to negotiate with the Tacoma School District to purchase the southern portion of the area proposed to be vacated. Wesco has also requested a rezone to allow the commercial development, along with a sign and parking variance for a 116 spot parking lot.

A pair of resolutions and a matching pair of ordinances up for a first reading on this week's council meeting agenda would authorize a collective bargaining agrement with IBEW units within Click! Network and Tacoma Power, making negotiated changes to rates of pay and compensation for more than 370 City employees.

An ordinance scheduled for its final reading this week would adopt the amended Six-Year Comprehensive Transportation Improvement Program for Tacoma, as amended for 2013-2014 and 2015-2020. This item hasn't generated much interest at previous public comment opportunities, so it's probably pretty safe to expect that the same will go for this week's vote by Council.

This week's regular council meeting is also the date set for a public hearing on the surplus and negotiated sale of approximately 13.06 acres of property located off Howe Road in Lewis County to Mr. David Filla in the amount of $160,515. The sale would allow Mr. Filla to buy back land TPU acquired from him back in 2011 as a part of a fish habitat management project, but which it didn't ultimately end up needing.

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