Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of November 18, 2014

Budget Work Session

This week's City Council study session will be another budget work session. The Council will hear presentations on budgets for the Planning and Development Services Department, the Public Assembly Facilities Department, the Public Works Department, and the Capital Facilities Plan. Once again the session will be shown live on TV Tacoma for you hard core budget watchers.


Short Term Rentals

This week's Committee of the Whole meeting has one item on the agenda at this point, at Council Member Boe's request, there will be a discussion on recent concerns raised by residents due to the lack of regulations in place for property owners who rent out their homes or rooms on a short term basis. 


Transportation Benefit District

The Transportation Benefit District Governing Board (a.k.a. the City Council) is scheduled to meet again this Tuesday during the regular Council meeting. On the agenda for this week is a public hearing on the proposed 2015-2016 TBD Budget and Spending Plan. The TBD was formed to fund transportation improvements in Tacoma, and in 2012 it adopted a $20 car tab fee for that purpose. The budget and spending plan lays out plans for how the funds raised from that fee should be spent.

The budget office expects the TBD to raise nearly $4.8 million in the 2015-2016 biennium. The recommendation is to spent the bulk of that revenue, approximately $4.3 million, on street rehabilitation, paying for repair and maintenance for both residential and arterial streets.

  • Residential Chip Seal - $507,400 - approximately 86 blocks of residential chip seal to improve the riding surface and create a water resistant roadway to extend the life of the road. 
  • Residential Overlay - $2,370,000 - approximately 78 blocks of residential overlay, including grinding approximately 2‐4 inches of damaged or failed asphalt, and overlaying it with a new pavement surface. 
  • Arterial Chip Seal -  $392,500 - approximately 15.7 lane miles of arterial chip seal.
  • Crack Sealing - $165,977 - approximately 28 lane miles of crack sealing used in preparation of a surface treatment or as a standalone repair to fill and seal roadway cracks to extend the life of the roadway. 
  • Other Maintenance/Repair - $897,017 - treatments include requested pothole repair (temporary and permanent), permanent asphalt repairs, and concrete panel replacement. 

A small chunk of the funds ($60,000) would go to maintenance, repairs, and upgrades for traffic signals, including the repair and replacement of failed vehicle loop detectors. The remainder of the budget ($400,000) would go to improvements for nonmotorized traffic, including improvements to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and sidewalk and curb ramps. 

A second public hearing is scheduled for November 25.


Convention Center Hotel

In April the City began official negotiations with Yareton Investment & Management LLC for the construction of a hotel and mixed-use project on two acres of City-owned land next to the Convention Center in downtown Tacoma. Last week the City announced a tentative deal with Yareton.

The project site is listed as one of the City's top priority sites for development, and a hotel has been a priority as well, to expand capacity for the Convention Center. A resolution on this week's Council meeting agenda would authorize the negotiated Development Agreement with Yareton. That agreement includes four stages for the project.

  1. Initial due diligence - Five months for the developer to determine the feasibility of the project.
  2. Second due diligence - 18 months for the developer to complete work on design, entitlements, and permits.
  3. Property conveyance - 30 days to ensure that entitlements and permits are in place, that the developer has 100% of the financing lined up for the $85 million first phase of the development, that an acceptable agreement is in place with a hotel operator, that a covenant is in place requiring Yareton to operate the property as a hotel for a minimum of 25 years, and that the property is paid for.
  4. Project construction - Two years in which the developer will construct the hotel building adjacent to the Convention Center.

The 240-foot tower will be a four-star, 300+ room hotel with at least 10,000 square-feet of street-level retail space, no less than 200 parking stalls, and a plaza. The hotel will also include a grand ballroom of at least 10,000 net square-feet, and at least 9,000 square feet of other function space, on which the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center will have first right of use at market rate. 

If all goes as planned, construction could begin in December 2016, with completion forecast for two years later in November 2018. 


Capital Facilities Program

A public hearing is scheduled for this week's Council meeting on the City's 2015-2020 Capital Facilities Program. The Capital Facilities Program is a planning and financial document that prioritizes capital improvements the City plans to build over the next six years, and provides a plan for paying for the improvements. Projects are selected for inclusion based on need, funding capacity, community input, and consistency and connection with Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan.

The list of projects, updated annually, includes improvements and repairs to municipal buildings, libraries, and senior centers; enhancements to bike and pedestrian facilities, parks and public spaces; police, fire department, and Tacoma Rail facilities; streets projects; and Tacoma Dome improvements. This year's CFP adds 65 projects, and removes 97. You can learn more about this year's Draft CFP during this week's City Council study session.


Property Taxes

Two pairs of ordinances related to property taxes appear on this week's agenda for for first readings. The first two would approve the total regular property tax levy amount to be collected in 2015, and the percentage and dollar increase that would represent over the prior year's actual levy, establishing the City's highest allowable levy amount. The second two would do the same for the Emergency Medical Services property tax levy.



The Tacoma Municipal Building datacenter houses IT infrastructure to support critical information services, such as financial services, human resource management/payroll services, customer billing, email, and internet service. A 2010 study found inadequate and obsolete systems within the TMB datacenter infrastructure, making for a high probability of failure, which could immediately affect services delivery citywide. The most cost-effective, least disruptive solution was found to be the relocation of mission critical IT infrastructure to an existing commercial datacenter. A resolution on this week's Council meeting agenda would authorize a five-year Master Service Agreement for datacenter co-location services located at 1101 A Street, for about $700,000.


Citizens' Forum

It's that time again already. Time for citizens with opinions on anything over which the City Council has jurisdiction to share them with the Council and the viewing public at home.

We hear there may be a big showing for this one; it sounds like the supporters of mandatory paid sick leave will be showing up to comment on the topic. A group that generally supports the idea of requiring Tacoma employers to provide paid sick leave to employees, has concerns they will share related to an ordinance being drafted by Mayor Strickland on the issue. Read more from Exit133 here.


Other Items

November 2014 will be proclaimed as American Indian Heritage Month. December 2, 2014 will be proclaimed as #GivingTuesday in recognition of the initiative to make the Tuesday after Thanksgiving a day for giving to charities, and a reminder that the spirit of the holiday season should be about community and not just consumerism. 

A resolution on this week's agenda will appoint and reappoint individuals to the Audit Advisory Board, Board of Ethics, and Tacoma Arts Commission. 

A purchase resolution on this week's Council meeting agenda would increase the contract for design work for the Puyallup River Bridge Replacement Project by $198,715, to a cumulative project total of $3,660,999. The bridge has significant deterioration, and is in need of replacement. The design for the replacement is complete, but the project has been on hold for over a year due to right-of-way negotiations, which have led to the need for further design work. 

Another resolution on the agenda would approve the 2015-2016 Administration and Operating Budget for the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority. The City of Tacoma established the TCRA in 1973 to administer federal and state housing and economic funds awarded to the City. The budget covers one full-time staff accountant, various third party professional services, and general expenses.

Also on this week's agenda is a resolution to authorize the execution of a Collective Bargaining Agreement with a group of represented City employees.

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