Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of October 6, 2015

If this week's Tacoma City Council meeting agenda had a theme, it might be public health and safety. There are quite a few items up for council consideration that fall under that heading, along with a few other topics as well. Other topics, like one of our old favorites - billboards...


A Planning Commission public hearing is coming up this Wednesday on the latest proposal for a resolution of the continuing battle between the City of Tacoma and Clear Channel over the 300+ remaining billboard faces owned by the latter, which are out of compliance with code adopted by the former.

The proposed changes would create an exchange program in which Clear Channel would be allowed to put up new billboards in designated areas, in exchange for removal of existing billboards in areas where they aren't allowed. This program would expand areas where billboards are allowed, and ease design standards on the signs. Removal of billboards in areas considered to be most sensitive would be incentivized, and the program would attempt to require removal of all non-conforming billboards in five years.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, October 7, at 5 p.m. Details at cityoftacoma.org/planning and previously from Exit133 here.


Public Health & Safety

A resolution on this week's consent agenda would accept funds from a FEMA Port Security grant program, approves the required match, and authorizes an grant agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to enhance chemical and radiation detection capabilities.

A second resolution on this week's consent agenda would authorize an Interlocal Agreement with local governments to implement the Pierce County Mutual Aid Agreement, which would provide joint resources and equipment in the event of a major fire, disaster, or other emergency.

Also on this week's agenda is a resolution regarding the combined County/City Health Department. This week's resolution would continue that relationship, with enhanced collaborative efforts and performance evaluations related to City of Tacoma Neighborhood and Community Services Programs. 

A pair of resolutions on this week's regular council meeting agenda would authorize collective bargaining agreements with groups of City of Tacoma firefighters and police officers. The first would restore a 1% wage reduction for all eligible employees, retroactive to January 1, 2015, as negotiated with the Tacoma Police Management Association. The second would authorize an agreement negotiated with the Tacoma Fire Fighters Union, retroactive to January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2018. A matching ordinance to implement these changes is also up for a first reading.

An ordinance up for a first reading this week would amend the Tacoma Municipal Code to reinstate staggered terms of one, two, or three years, and establish a term limit of 10 years for the Citizen Police Advisory Committee.


Purchase Resolutions

Three purchase resolutions on this week's agenda:

  • A $300,000 contract for services, repairs and parts for various equipment and vehicles operated by Solid Waste Management on an as-needed basis, for a 3-year period, with the option to renew for 2 additional 1-year periods, for a projected contract total of $500,000. This is pretty much what it sounds like - if the trash is going to keep getting picked up reliably, garbage trucks are going to need repairs from time to time.
  • A $5,461,280 contract for a 10-year System and Security Upgrade contract for the system that provides radio communications for City departments, including law enforcement, fire and other first responders. About 40% of the various components of the system are projected to reach both "end of life" and "end of support" in the next 5 years, and other upgrades will become available to improve the performance and reliability of the system. 
  • A $240,000 contract to Multicare Health Systems for medical services as required for pre-employment physicals, post-employment specific physicals, and drug and alcohol testing. , for a 3-year period, with the option to renew for two additional one-year periods, for a projected contract total of $400,000. This is a continuation of an existing contract.


Other Items

The city council study session for this week has been cancelled. 

October 10, 2015 will be proclaimed as Arbor Day and Green Tacoma Day, and the month of October 2015 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the City of Tacoma.

A resolution on the regular agenda for the week would accept five 10-year interest-free loans totaling $1,457,242 from the Washington State Department of Transportation, on behalf of Tacoma Rail, for track rehabilitation and improvement projects. Tacoma Rail would contribute matching funds, complete the projects by June 30, 2017, and repay the interest-free loans over 10 years, beginning in 2017. 

Last week we heard the first reading of the ordinance adopting the Six-Year Comprehensive Transportation Improvement Program Amended 2014-2015 for 2016-2021. That ordinance gets its final reading this week.

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