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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of September 10, 2013
At Tuesday's City Council study session, Council will receive an update on the Tacoma Employees Retirement System. Council will also hear a briefing on the work the City Clerk's Office has been doing to simplify and improve the sustainability of the City Council meeting agenda processes. Beginning September 17th, the new Automated Agenda process will route requests for agenda items through new software.
Council will also hear about the Department of Ecology's conditional acceptance of Tacoma's Shoreline Master Program. The City has until September 18 to either accept the conditional approval or propose an alternative. at this week's study session, staff will provide an update on last week's community meeting on the issue.
Two pot-related items appear on this week's agenda. The first is the final reading of the ordinance we first heard at last week's meeting, which would amend the Tacoma Municipal Code to add language relating to the public use and display of marijuana and medical cannabis, and would revise the definition of "drug paraphernalia" in Tacoma's codes to make it consistent with state law. Revisions to state law make the public use and display of marijuana and medical cannabis a class three civil infraction, punishable by a $50 fine, and eliminate penalties for the use, possession, and sales of drug paraphernalia used for marijuana-related purposes.
The second item is the first reading of an ordinance to amend the TMC relating to public nuisances, to identify nuisance activities related to recreational cannabis. Last July the Council passed an ordinance amending the TMC to treat certain cannabis-related activities as public nuisances. The passage of Initiative 502 in November means changes to that ordinance are needed. State-adopted rules and regulations are required to be in place by the end of 2013.
Preventing Neglect of Historic Properties
Also appearing on this week's Council meeting agenda is the first reading of an ordinance that would amend the Tacoma Municipal Code to give the City additional enforcement tools to prevent damages caused to historic properties through ongoing neglect, before it becomes cost-prohibitive to do so. The ordinance would create a new chapter of the TMC, defining neglect of historic properties as a public nuisance, and giving the City the ability to intervene to prevent a historic building from becoming derelict or dangerous. The new section would give the City the authority to impose civil penalties or, where appropriate, to seek a warrant to enter and repair a neglected condition. The ordinance is not intended as a stand-alone code, but rather is designed to be compatible with and strengthen the City's ability to protect Tacoma's iconic structures, which already exists in code. The establishment of an Emergency Preservation Subfund will provide the financial resources to cover costs of abatement when necessary.
Port Security & Water Quality Agreements
A pair of resolutions on this week's Council meeting consent agenda would authorize interlocal agreements with the Port of Tacoma regarding the coordination of stormwater management activities and the coordination and management of the Port's emergency warning system. Both the Port and the City own and operate their own separately permitted stormwater management systems. The first agreement here would establish a cooperative framework for the coordination of some stormwater management obligations to reduce stormwater impacts to Commencement Bay, its waterways, and other receiving waters. Both entities would continue to be responsible for their own permit compliance.
As a part of ongoing emergency management planning, the Port and the City want to work together to install and support a Port of Tacoma Emergency Warning System to improve the ability to warn citizens of certain potential Port area emergency events. The second agreement here would assign tasks and establish project milestones with the Fire Department coordinating the work as project manager. The agreement includes the commitment of $210,000 of federal Port Security grant funding from the Port to the City for Fire Department work over the next five months. Project completion is required by the end of January 2014.
Electrical Licensing & Exemptions
Another ordinance up for a first reading this week would amend the TMC relating to the Electrical Code, to update and clarify electrical licensing requirements and exemptions. The amendments would update and clarify rules around electrical work performed within Tacoma Power jurisdiction, clarifying the types of persons and entities performing that work that are exempt from contractor's license requirements, and providing customers with information on the requirements they must meet in order to obtain an electrical permit and perform electrical work within Tacoma Power jurisdiction.
One item on this week's purchase resolution would approve a contract of $85,000, for a cumulative total of $623,035, budgeted from the Streets Special Revenue Fund to increase the contract for the reconstruction of sidewalks at approximately 164 locations citywide. The existing Sidewalk Reconstruction Project covers the reconstruction of "unfit or unsafe"s sidewalk and associated curb ramps at 164 locations where property owners paid their share of the costs as a requirement of participation in the Sidewalk Maintenance Program. Public Works is requesting an increase in project funding to cover additional costs related to unstable soil conditions and increased traffic control costs to ensure safety during construction. Funds for the project come from an FHA grant and property owner contributions.
This week it is once again time for Citizens' Forum. This is your chance as a citizen of Tacoma to get up in front of the City Council and the viewing audience and speak your piece on any item over which the City Council has jurisdiction.
At 9:30 a.m. on September 11, the Tacoma Fire Department will host a public remembrance ceremony at Marine Park (4301 Ruston Way) to mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Tacoma City Council Member Robert Thoms and Tacoma Fire Chief James P. Duggan will be present to deliver remarks. The event is part of a nationwide salute to firefighters, police officers, emergency medical services workers and civilians whose lives were forever changed on that day.
The Mayor will proclaim the month of September 2013 as Attendance Awareness Month, and September 8-14, 2013 as National Assisted Living Week. Attendance awareness?
A resolution on this week's agenda would reappoint a member of the Board of Ethics.
Another resolution on this week's agenda would accept a $12.12 million 2013 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan for the Green River Filtration Facility project, which is necessary to comply with Cryptosporidium treatment requirements.
Another of the City's Prop 1 info sessions wil be held this Wednesday, September 11 at, 6 p.m. at the Fern Hill Library.
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