Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of November 2, 2015

Study Session

At this week's city council study session, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department staff will provide information on two topics: Affordable Care Act enrollment recruitment for the open enrollment period between November 1, 2015, and January 31, 2016, and maternal child health risks in urban Pierce County, such as low birth weight and high mortality rates. According to a recent assessment, those risks are disproportionately high in Tacoma's communities of color.

As a third item on Tuesday's Study Session agenda, Office of Management and Budget staff will provide Council with a 2015 Third Quarter Financial Report, based on actual revenues and expenditures. 

 

Taxes

A resolution on this week's consent agenda would set Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed Emergency Medical Services and Ad Valorem tax levies for 2016.

 

Billboards

The City of Tacoma needs to figure out what its next move(s) will be on the question of the 308 billboard faces in Tacoma that are currently out of compliance with City code. A resolution on this week's council meeting consent agenda would set Tuesday, November 17, 2015, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on proposed changes to billboard regulations, as recommended by the Planning Commission. 

As the code is written right now, those billboards should come down, but the owner of most of the billboards in Tacoma, Clear Channel Outdoor, has not done that. A standstill agreement between Clear Channel and the City. A group of "stakeholders" in the matter (representatives of the billboard interests, and community members) convened during that time produced some suggestions that the council will consider following the public hearing.

If the issues between the parties are not resolved during the standstill period, either party has the right to reengage in the legal process. If you have opinions one way or another on billboards in Tacoma, you might want to put November 17 on your calendar. Read more here.

 

THA Development

Tacoma Housing Authority has plans to purchase city-owned property at 1120 and 1124 MLK Way to build a mixed-use development with 40 to 50 housing units designed to be affordable to lower-wage workers at area employers. The housing agency has been moving forward with financing and design work as rennovations begin next door on the Kellogg-Sicker and Pochert buildings, which a private developer is turning into a mixed-use development with market-rate residential units.

Although the plans continue to move forward, a resolution on this week's council meeting agenda would authorize an amendment to extend deadlines for design and feasibility work, and closing on the property. THA is asking for a little more time because a couple things came up. The initial feasibility study and design phase were completed last year, showing that the project would cost $11.6 million, rather than the $8.3 million originally expected. They are continuing to evaluate their financing options for that project.

Meanwhile, a second opportunity has come up: the Alberta Canada/New Look building at the corner of MLK and Earnest S Brazil streets has become available for purchase. That property, just on the other end of the block where the original THA project is planned, would give the housing authority the opportunity to expand its residential development, and to provide additional parking needed.

These changes in plans will move the deadlines, pushing final design cost estimate work out to May 2016, closing on the property out to summer of 2017, and construction ground breaking out to summer 2018.

 

Live/Work/Work/Live

At last week's meeting the council heard the first reading of an ordinance making code changes to support mixed-use development related to live/work and work/live units. The final reading of that ordinance is scheduled for this week's meeting.

 

Purchase Resolutions

Two purchase resolutions appear on this week's regular council meeting agenda:

  • A $3,605,405 increase of a contract for fleet fueling services to be used by various General Government departments for a cumulative total of $22,426,295, and an extension through January 31, 2017.
  • A contract to purchase and recycle scrap metals generated by various City departments, for an initial contract term of three years, with the option to renew for three additional one-year periods.

 

Other Items

An ordinance on this week's consent agenda for a final reading would vacate a portion of South 22nd Street between the east margin of Interstate 705 and the west margin of Dock Street to facilitate full closure of the rail crossing. The vacation of the street that used to cross the rail lines there is part of an exchange agreement between the City of Tacoma and BNSF, which gave the City property that will allow for the construction of the Prairie Line Trail.

The Planning Association of Washington will present two awards for the Greenroads program and 13 Miles of Bikeways.

A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the third operating agreement with the Foss Waterway Development Authority to extend the term through December 31, 2020, and align budget submittal with the City’s budgeting schedule and requirements.


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