Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of March 4, 2014

Study Session

As the legislative session in Olympia continues, the City Council is scheduled to get another update on legislation relating to its identified legislative priorities and other issues potentially impacting Tacoma.

Also on the agenda for this Tuesday's Council study session is a brief update on progress on the Hilltop Subarea Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.


Tax & License Updates

As the City continues work to clarify and clean up inconsistencies in the Tacoma Municipal Code, a couple ordinances scheduled for a first reading at this week's regular Council meeting would amend Title 6 of the TMC. The first would make amendments to clarify when a business license is required and align administrative provisions in the tax and license codes. Title 6 is split into two subtitles, one dealing with tax code and one dealing with license code, which are not always consistent with each other, although policies and practices have continued to treat license and tax similarly in many situations. The proposed amendments would update the subtitles to reflect the current administration of licenses in a number of ways.

The following sections are being added or amended:

  • Director to make rules – gives the authority to create rules that explain license code sections more thoroughly
  • Cancellation of penalties – gives the same authority to cancel late penalties on licenses consistent with tax penalties under certain circumstances
  • Statute of limitations on assessments and refunds – provides a look back period for licenses to four years plus the current year which aligns with the tax code.
  • Delinquent license fees – gives authority to collect, write-off or waive license fees consistent with tax due when appropriate.

The amendments also include clarification that one business license per location is required except for the activity of renting real property and requiring rental property owners to register their properties with the City to be consistent with the provisional rental license requirements and other minor language clean-up.

A second ordinance scheduled for a first reading this week would make further amendments to Title 6 of the TMC to correct language and citations that are not consistent with other sections in the Municipal Code and the Revised Code of Washington. The amdendments would update and correct details in the code.


Purchase Resolutions

A pair of purchase resolutions on this week's agenda would authorize amendments to previous agreements for work on City projects.

The first would authorize an additional $95,000 plus sales tax for safety and mobility improvements along Pacific Avenue, including new concrete sidewalks, driveways, curbs, gutters, ADA curb ramps, storm and sewer improvements, and the repaving of South 25th street. The amended amount, budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, would cover unanticipated utility conflicts encountered during construction, which required additional work, bringing the project total to $737,972.

The second of the purchase resolutions would authorize an additional $98,000 to increase and extend the contract for design and construction services for the construction of a new traffic signal at South 25th and J Streets, and to upgrade the existing traffic signals on South 25th at Yakima and Tacoma Avenue. The increase to the contract, also budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, will cover increased work due to unanticipated conditions, bringing the project total to $1,019,999


Cancelled Meetings

The Council meetings of March 11 have been cancelled.


Other Items

An ordinance scheduled for a first and final reading on the consent agenda for this week's City Council meeting would approve and confirm the Assessment Roll for Local Improvement District No. 7723 for the conversion of the overhead primary electrical distribution, utilities, telephone and cable-television systems to underground along the alley between North 29th and North 30th Streets from White to Junett Streets and North 30th Street east of White Street to Junett Street.

Mayor Strickland will proclaim March 2014 as Women’s History Month. The Mayor will also present the Key to the City to Derek “DC” Clark. Clark was named Producer of the Year at the 2014 Stellar Gospel Awards in Nashville.

A resolution on this week's regular Council meeting agenda would authorize a Letter of Agreement with Teamsters Local Union No. 117, General Unit, allowing a Heavy Equipment Operator, working at the Solid Waste Division of the Environmental Services Department, who is scheduled to train either a Solid Waste worker or an Equipment Operator on specialized Solid Waste equipment to receive an additional 5% over their base wage for the hours spent training. An ordinance amending the TMC in line with these changes is also scheduled for a first reading this week.

Also on this week's regular Council meeting agenda is the final reading of an ordinance that would amend the TMC to change the crime of "Riot" to "Criminal Mischief," in keeping with changes to the RCW.

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