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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of September 15, 2015
Fiscal Home Rule
Earlier this year, as part of a discussion around the City of Tacoma's legislative agenda for the year, City staff proposed initiating a discussion with other Washington cities about the possibility of greater fiscal autonomy from the State.
The conversation arose as the state legislature had difficulty coming up with a balanced budget, and ultimately reduced the portion of revenue shared with cities. The thought behind greater fiscal home rule is that decreased dependence on state revenue, along with increased local control over revenue generation could possibly be better for cities.
The city council decided not to include the issue in its 2015 legislative agenda, but did ask for further study of the idea. The council Government Performance and Finance Committee is scheduled to hear more about the topic at this week's meeting.
Solid Waste Management Plan
Long-term plans for solid waste management in Tacoma and Pierce County are laid out in a Tacoma-Pierce County Solid Waste Management Plan, which provides high-level planning, rather than program specific guidance. That plan is updated periodically, in a joint City-County effort. The current SWMP was adopted in 2000. At this week's Tacoma City Council study session staff will present an update on the plan, with information on background of the plan, the development process and a summary of the plan's goals.
Citizen Commission on Elected Salaries 2015 Decision
Last November the voters of Tacoma approved the creation of a Citizen Commission on Elected Salaries, responsible for making decisions on how much the city's elected officials should make. The committee is made up of seven citizens: five selected at random from registered voters in each of the city's five districts, and two legal and human resource management officials appointed by the mayor.
On September 1 the commission returned its report, and at this week's study session the commission chair will share that decision with the council. The full report (available here in pdf) includes a decision to decrease elected official's salaries, and to do away with the annual salary increase of 2.75%. The new salary levels, effective beginning 2018, set the mayor's salary at $76,000, and council member salaries at $38,000 annually.
The commission did reserve a little room for changes to its decision, including in the report this note: "The Commission will continue to study the appropriate salary and compensation of the Mayor and Council Members in the coming months. Based on what it learns, and prior to September 1, 2016, the Commission may determine additional changes are necessary."
The Green River is the source of approximately 95% of the water supplied by Tacoma Water. It is also home to spawning salmon. A resolution on this week's consent agenda would authorize a renewed Interlocal Agreement with local governments within the Green/Duwamish Watershed in King County, with Tacoma's contribution at up to $230,000 for a ten-year period from 2016 through 2025, to support salmon recovery efforts in the Green River.
Metro Parks Development
Metro Parks Tacoma has asked for a Development Regulation Agreement for the management of Point Defiance Park under its 20-Year Master Plan.
If undertaken one-by-one, completion of the projects included in the plan would include a series of overlapping Conditional Use Permits, and the process would not be able to account for the full scope of the work or comprehensively address all the larger impacts of the individual projects as a collective whole. The Direct Regulation Agreement process would address these challenges, and allow for the larger plan to be reviewed, rated, and approved, documenting compliance with policies and standards from Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan.
A resolution on this week's council meeting consent agenda would set a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed DRA for Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at approximately 5:30 p.m.
It's that time again - time to share your thought with the Tacoma City Council on any matter over which it has jurisdiction.
The week of September 12-20, 2015 will be proclaimed as Welcoming Week and September 14-18, 2015 will be proclaimed as Eyes of the Totem Week in the City of Tacoma. There will also be a presentation on the Gun SafeT Awareness Campaign.
This week the council is scheduled to hear a final reading of an ordinance that would vacate a one-foot portion of right-of-way running along Commerce Street, South 15th Street, and Pacific Avenue to cure a building foundation encroachment for the Waddell Building (where Pacific Grill is located). Apparently the foundation of the building built in 1890 has been encroaching on the right-of-way. That encroachment was discovered in 2002 with the construction of the Marriott. Since then the building owners have been operating under a Street Occupancy Permit. This week's ordinance would allow them to purchase the vacated one-foot right-of-way for its full appraised value.
A final ordinance on this week's consent agenda for its first reading would reclassify the east 127 feet of property located at 8639 Pacific Avenue from an “R-4-L” Low-Density Multiple-Family Dwelling District to “C-2” General Community Commercial District for onsite parking.
An ordinance appearing on this week's regular council meeting agenda for a final reading would grant a nonexclusive franchise to Puget Sound Energy, Inc. to construct, operate, maintain, remove, replace, and repair pipeline facilities in public rights-of-way, for the transportation, distribution and sale of natural gas.
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