Tacoma City Council Meeting - April 22, 2014



Ordinance No. 28217 (First and Final Reading) An ordinance providing for the formation of Segment 2 of proposed Local Improvement District No. 8660, for the construction of permanent alley pavement, with a structural section and storm drainage on the alley between North 30th Street and North 31st Street, from Monroe Street to Mason Avenue. [Phyllis Macleod, Hearing Examiner]


Ordinance No. 28218 An ordinance vacating the alley between Pine Street and previously-vacated South Junett Street, north of South 50th Street, for a low density multi-familyhousing development. (4910 Pine Street, LLC; File No. 124.1339) [Phyllis Macleod, Hearing Examiner]

The Consent Agenda passed, with the last ordinance to receive a final reading at a date to be determined.



  • Recognition for Diane Cecchetini.
  • Proclamation for Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Month.
  • Proclaiming April 22, 2014 as Earth Day.
  • Proclaiming April 26, 2014 as Domestic Violence Awareness Day.



Two speakers commented on the ordinance creating a framework for temporary homeless camps in Tacoma. Both requested that the vote be delayed to give ... time to discuss details that they have concerns about. The primary concern seems to be related to laguage around "sponsoring" versus "hosting" organizations. Commenters made the distinction between state language which specifies that the hosting organization be religious, and the City language, which defines the sponsoring organization as being religious. Speakers felt that this difference would impact the ability of concerned, but not religiously affiliated organizations to be involved in a management role of the camps. Commenters also expressed concern that the City was overstepping State limits by requiring that the hosting organization help find long-term housing solutions for occupants, and redundancy around solid waste disposal.



Resolution No. 38887 A resolution appointing Alan “Bob” Winslow to the Human Services

Commission to fill an unexpired term to expire April 30, 2015; and appointing and reappointing Eileen Armstrong, Jasmine Brown, Kelly McDonald, and Allen Ratcliffe to three-year terms to expire April 30, 2017. [Doris Sorum, City Clerk; Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

The Human Services Commission serves as a resource for Council and staff regarding implementation of the City’s Human services strategic plan. One member was reappointied, and four new appointments were made.


Resolution No. 38888 A resolution appointing Helen-Hien Tran and reappointing Rea Hagan to the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority Board for two-year terms to expire December 31, 2015. [Doris Sorum, City Clerk; Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

TCRA does important work for the City, including work relating to repairing homes, looking at funding for multi-family housing for low-income families, considering businesses that create jobs, addressing blighted buildings. One member was reappointed, and one newly appointed.



Resolution No. 38889 A resolution amending a contract with Pease & Sons, Inc., in the amount of $115,000, plus sales tax, for a cumulative amount of $639,363.40, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for additional work and required modifications for the Street Maintenance Asphalt Plant Recycled Asphalt Pavement/Recycled Asphalt Shingles project - Specification No. ES13-0453F. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Science & Engineering Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The resolution passed without comment.


Resolution No. 38890 A resolution awarding a contract to Horizon Truck Center, in the amount of $290,914.25, plus sales tax, budgeted from various departmental funds, for Ford original equipment manufacturer vehicle parts on an as-needed basis, for an initial contract term of three years with the option to renew for two additional one-year periods, for a projected contract total of $493,679.00, including an estimated 3 percent annual CPI increase - Specification No. GF14-0099F. [Justin Davis, Interim Facilities Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

This item also passed without comment.



Resolution No. 38876 A resolution amending the Water Rate and Financial Policy to facilitate the development of term-limited, market-based wholesale water rates. (Continued from the meeting of April 8, 2014) [Sean Senescall, Rates and Financial Policy Manager; Linda McCrea, Water Superintendent]

in 2012 Tacoma Water identified a current surplus of capacity in the wholesale market, and named using that to the advantage of rate payers as a key strategic focus. Declining demand in the region meant increased surplus, and also meant that existing wholesale customers no longer had plans to grow into capacity they had once purchased from Tacoma Water. Cost of Tacoma Water's supply was a primary consideration in this, and the resolution allows TW to negotiate market-rate deals with wholesale customers for a maximum term of 20 years. From these negotiations, Tacoma Water expects to be able to better use its surplus supply, to generate about $0.5 million to the general fund, and to use proceeds to mitigate future impacts on rates for its customers.


Resolution No. 38891 A resolution accepting a 2013-Fall Cycle Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan, in the amount of $12,120,000; and authorizing the execution of a low-interest loan agreement with the Washington State Public Works Board for a 20-year term for the Green River Filtration Facility Project. [Linda McCrea, Water Superintendent; Bill Gaines, Director of Utilities]

The Green River project adds filtration treament and storage capacity to allow the treatment plant to comply with cryptosporidium level requirements for drinking water. The low-interest loan, at the maximum available amount, will have a 1.5% interest rate over 20 years, for an estimated savings for Tacoma Water of approximately $2.9 million. The expected annual debt service on this loan will be about $700,000 per year.



Ordinance No. 28216 An ordinance amending Chapters 2.09, 13.05, and 13.06, of the Municipal Code, relating to the Fee Code, Land Use Permit Procedures, and Zoning, to create a defined permitting process for temporary homeless camps and implement a permit fee. [John Harrington, Principal Planner; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

Councilmember Walker thanked everyone who was so involved in the conversation on this one, but in response to commenters requesting a delay on the vote, she said she thinks this is a balanced policy that will allow the camps to happen in Tacoma in a controlled way. There will be time in the future for a review, and changes if necessary, Walker said. In response to a request from Councilmember Mello for clarification on the question of hosts vs sponsors vs managers, staff responded that the terms "host" and "sponsor" were meant to be interchangeable in Tacoma's regulations. The intent, according to staff, was for the host/sponsor to be a religious organization (as called for in the RCW), which would have the camp on its property, but that the rules were drafted with the idea in mind that a supporting organization could come in to help with management, regardless of religion. The ordinance was adopted unanimously, with several council members referencing the good intent of the code, and the potential to revisit details if the need should arise.



This was the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the recommendations of the Community and Economic Development Department for the City’s proposed 2014-2015 Annual Action Plan for Housing and Community Development. [Carey Jenkins, Housing Division Manager; Ricardo Noguera, Director, Community and Economic Development]

Although no members of the public came forward to speak to this hearing, we did get to hear a little more about how the funds would be used. Human Services makes these recommendations once every two years after reviewing and rating applications from agencies. Priority is given to the top overall scoring programs, without consideration for whether a program was previously funded, or the level at which it might have been funded in the past. 10 out of 24 applications received are being recommended for funding in this cycle. 

Overall Tacoma saw a decrease in the total amount awarded from the government, but that decrease was less than expected. HOME grant funds saw a 0.3% decrease, and CDBG saw a 4.3% decrease, while Tacoma's ESG award was actually higher than expected. Housing funding is recommended for three service providers for a total of five contracts for affordable housing programs. $100,000 was recommended for neighborhood projects - primarily ADA ramps and sidewalk improvements. Economic development programs, including entrepreneurial and small business assistance programs were also recommended to receive funding. ESG funds are being recommended for five shelter programs and three rapid rehousing programs. The recommendation for using higher than expected ESG funds is that the extra money be divided between the top scoring program in each category.

There was no comment at the hearing. The City Council is expected to vote on the issue on May 6, so that the plan can be forwarded to HUD on or before May 15. 



Earth Day seems like a fitting day to announce the City's Media and Communication Office's new program, Urban Green, which will explore stories around sustainable living in Tacoma and the South Sound.

Also, Human Services is working on its Strategic Plan. Look for updates coming this summer from the Human Services Commission. Part of the process will be public meetings, beginning next week.



Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee – Deputy Mayor Woodards shared the recent work of the committee.

  • Heard reports from the Human Rights Commission and Commission on Disabilities on their respective 2013 accompishments and 2014 work plans and goals.
  • Had a presentation on the Eastside Community Center feasibility study.
  • Conducted interviews for Human Services Commission vacancies, and recommended the individuals appointed this week.

At its next meeting the committee will hear a presentation from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department on the Community Health Improvement Plan.

Councilmember Ibsen reminded us that Dining Out for Life is coming up this Thursday. Simply dine out at one of the participating restaurants, and a percentage of the price of your meal goes to support the battle against AIDS. 

Councilmember Campbell, speaking for himself and absent Councilmember Boe, had several items to share.

  • Happy Arbor Day
  • Come out and volunteer for Parks Appreciation Day this Saturday, April 26th from 9 to noon at McKinley Park. Meet at the bathrooms to sign in for the day of improving McKinley Park.
  • Also this Saturday, Rebuilding Together South Sound will be working on several houses in the First Creek neighborhood. Volunteers interested in helping with home and yard maintenance and repair projects can contact Councilmember Campbell.
  • The famous Lincoln High School Plant Sale returns this week with thousands of plants to choose from at Lincoln, grown and sold by students. This Thursday through Sunday.
  • This Sunday, April 27, from 4 to 8 everyone is invited to come out for Tacoma Wayzgoose, a free celebration of letterpress and book arts at King's Books. Come out, make art, and see large block print art made with steamroller.

Councilmember Lonergan announced that it is community cleanup season again, beginning this weekend with a clean up in the Edison neighborhood. Neighborhood residents are encouraged to clean out their houses, their yards, and their neighborhood. Learn more and see a full calendar of community clean ups here. And in the spirit of spring cleaning, don't forget about Earthwise Salvage, where you can drop things off for store credit, or pick up that piece you've been needing, especially hard to find parts for older houses.

Councilmember Mello announced the Harvest Pierce County Spring Summit on gardening, which will be coming to Gray Middle School next Saturday, May 3, with free workshops, opportunities to learn and find resources for gardening, and free lunch included for participants. Register for this free event at harvestpiercecounty.org.

– 4 yrs ago you joined … building comm gardens, community, etc – wanted Tacoma to have most comm gardens per capita – we’re well on our way

It's too late now, but Mayor Strickland reminded everyon to vote for the Parks Prop 1, to maintain Tacoma's parks as what she described as one of our biggest assets. 

Councilmember Boe was absent from the meeting.


For more on the items on this week's agenda, see our City Business Preview for the week.

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