Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of September 24, 2013

Graffiti Removal

The agenda for this week's study session includes a presentation on the development of a Rapid-Response Graffiti Removal program. The new program would aim for the removal of graffiti from private property within 72 hours along "key corridors." The program would fund the removal on a site up to three times in a 12 month period, and would include Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) training. Read more from the Daily Index.


2013 Legislation Action Timeline

A briefing from staff on impacts of legislation passed in the 2013 Legislative Session is also on the agenda for Tuesday's session. Staff will share the impacts for various City departments, along with proposed timelines for those that will require future Council action.


New Streets Funds

The ordinance that would create two new funds relating to transportation infrastructure and maintenance. The “Street Operations and Maintenance Fund” and the “Transportation Capital and Engineering Fund” are intended to promote sustainability and transparency for revenue collections and expenditures. We heard the first reading at last week's Council meeting.


Port of Tacoma Road

Earlier this year the City and the Port of Tacoma were jointly awarded $429,000 for design work for the replacement of Port of Tacoma Road. If other pending grants are awarded for the project, work would begin in 2014, and would require a local match of $337,000 from the City and $500,000 from the Port. A resolution on this week's consent agenda would authorize an interlocal agreement between the City and the Port of Tacoma for the Port of Tacoma Road Design and Rehabilitation Project, including approval and acceptance of the $500,000 from the Port. Decisions on those other pending grants are expected in November and February. Acceptance of this resolution would allow design work to go ahead, and be completed this winter, to prepare for 2014 construction.


TFD Cares

In August of 2012 Tacoma Fire Department initiated a one-year Fire Department Community, Assessment, Referral and Education Services program, using a local professional and social work consulting firm to assist staff to help identify the needs of apparent high utilizers of emergency services and, where possible, to help direct such patients to agencies and programs more appropriate for their long-term needs. The  TFD CARES program is designed to reduce the impact of calls for non-emergency assistance on emergency response resources through referrals redirecting high utilizers to more fitting community and healthcare resources, preventative education targeting common preventable health conditions, and post-incident follow-up care for patients with chronic medical conditions and post-discharge hospital patients to prevent further need for services.

The contract for that pilot program is scheduled to come to an end on October 1, and TFD is requesting that the project be extended through December 2016. A resolution on this week's agenda requests that approval at a cost of $1.37 million, budgeted from the EMS and Fire Miscellaneous Special Revenue funds, to avoid an interruption in services.


Discrimination Investigation

In January a City evaluation of the way it delivers services in the investigation of employment and public accommodation discrimination cases led to the implementation of a pilot contract with consultants for investigation services, and the hiring of a temporary staff person to perform the administrative functions related to the investigation of cases that would have been performed by a full-time investigator. The short-term pilot model has resulted in significant cost-savings for the City, while increasing the level of customer service and support, as the City continues to receive a high level of discrimination complaints. The City has used the temporary staff to ensure compliance with new HUD requirements, closed the backlog of discrimination cases, and is on track to meet its EEOC contract.

As the limit for the use of temporary administrative support staff approaches, the City needs to establish a special project position to continue administrative support for the pilot project. A resolution on this week's agenda would designate the Discrimination Investigation Administrative Support Program as a special project of limited duration, and would create the support staff position.


Stadium Way Project: Additional Costs

The single purchase resolution on this week's agenda would approve an additional $1,442,800, for additional costs related to the Stadium Way Arterial Improvement Project, for a cumulative total of $12,183,577 budgeted from the Wastewater, Surface Water, Street Special Revenue, and Capital Projects REET Funds, and 2010 LTGO Bond Fund D. The contract increased represents additional costs in three general areas: unforeseen conditions and additional requirements, Division Avenue improvements, and improvements to mitigate flooding on Commerce Street.


Other Items

A pair of ordinances on this week's Council meeting consent agenda would approve the assessment rolls for a pair of Local Improvement Districts. The first of the LIDs would fund the construction of a 12-inch water main to serve the Harold E. LeMay Museum development. The second LID would pay for the conversion of the overhead primary electrical distribution, utilities, telephone and cable TV systems to an underground system along Stadium Way, from the intersection of Stadium Way and Borough Road northwesterly to the dead end.

A resolution on this week's agenda would appoint Christine Cooley to the Sustainable Tacoma Commission to fill a vacant unexpired term through April 1, 2014.

Another resolution on this week's regular agenda would sponsor the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s application for enrollment to join the Association of Washington Cities Employee Benefit Trust. The Health Department has determined that the employee health insurance plans offered by the Association of Washington Cities would be a more cost-effective option for their staff than their existing plan. The Association requires that a city member sponsor any non-city entity's request for participation in the Association's Employee Benefit Trust programs.

A final resolution this week would authorize a proposed Letter of Agreement with the Professional and Technical Employees Union, Local 17, which consists of approximately 258.9 budgeted, full-time positions, to implement rates of pay and other compensation, retroactive to January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014. The letter of agreement would replace language providing for a market rate wage increase with a 5% flat rate adjustment. The agenda also includes the first reading of an ordinance amending the TMC on the same issue.

As a final item on this week's Council meeting agenda, we see the public hearing for the appeal of the finding of the Hearing Examiner regarding the request to reclassify approximately 1.78 acres of a larger property located at 4601 South Orchard Street from a “R-2” Single-Family Dwelling District to a “M-1” Light Industrial District, as rescheduled from the August 20, 2013 Council meeting.

Today, Monday, September 23, is the date for the next scheduled City of Tacoma Proposition 1 facts and information session; it will be held at Truman Middle School.

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