Tacoma City Council Meeting - April 29, 2014



Resolution No. 38892 A resolution setting Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the Six-Year Comprehensive Transportation Improvement Program for years 2015-2020 and the Amended 2013-2014 Transportation Program. [Dan Seabrands, Assistant Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

Adopted without comment.



Mayor Strickland read a recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Tacoma Buddhist Temple, which was founded as a gathering place to meet cultural and spiritual needs for first generation Japanese immigrants 100 years ago. During the Great Depression the Japanese community in Tacoma raised funds to build the temple on Fawcett, where it stands today. After standing empty, other than storage, during Japanese internment during World War II, the temple returned to activity, and continues to offer regular Sunday services, and special events including the annual sukiyaki dinner and obon Japanese dance festival every summer. The building is now on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. The 100th anniversary celebration will be held this Sunday, May 4, at the La Quinta Hotel.

The Mayor also proclaimed May 2014 as American Stroke Month. Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability, and the fourth leading cause of death in US. Stroke signs include face drooping, arm weakness; speech difficulty; sudden numbness or weakness in face, arm, or leg - especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, dizziness, trouble walking, and more. The mayor and advocates encourage everyone to learn their personal stroke risk, memorize and share stroke warning signs, and to call 911 at the first sign of a stroke.



No comment.




Resolution No. 38893 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Harlow Construction Co, Inc., in the amount of $105,000, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $305,000, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, to increase and extend the contract for sandy soil used in the creation of TAGRO soil amendments through September 30, 2015 - Specification No. PW10-0047F. [Daniel C. Thompson, Ph.D., Business Operations Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The resolution was adopted without council comment.


Resolution No. 38894 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Gem Shavings LLC, in the amount of $315,000, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $700,000, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, to increase and extend the contract for sawdust used in the creation of TAGRO soil amendment products through September 30, 2015 - Specification No. PW10-0395F. [Daniel C. Thompson, Ph.D., Business Operations Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

This resolution was also adopted without comment from the Council.


Resolution No. 38895 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Swanson Bark and Wood Products Inc., in the amount of $300,000, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $500,000, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, to increase and extend the contract for black bark used in the creation of TAGRO potting soil through June 30, 2016 - Specification No. PW10-0844F. [Daniel C. Thompson, Ph.D., Business Operations Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]



Resolution No. 38896 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Agilent Technologies, in the amount of $45,309.27, plus sales tax, for a cumulative total of $201,513.33, budgeted from the Fire Miscellaneous Special Revenue Fund, to increase the contract for accessory equipment, installation, training and consulting services to assist the Fire Department to operate a portable gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer - Sole Source. [Roger Edington, Assistant Fire Chief; James P. Duggan, Chief, Tacoma Fire Department]

And one more time, no comments.



Ordinance No. 28214 An ordinance renewing a non-exclusive franchise to Level 3 Communications, LLC, to construct, operate, and repair a telecommunications system throughout the City of Tacoma. [Jeff Lueders, Cable Communications and Franchise Services Manager; T.C. Broadnax, City Manager]

And the ordinance also passed without comment.



Ordinance No. 28219 An ordinance amending Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation for a new classification entitled Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator-in-Training, represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 483, Water Pollution Control Unit. [Tara Schaak, Labor Negotiator; Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

The ordinance would create a new classification within City employees, with a corresponding pay scale, to allow employees to be trained in a two-year program to become operators in the wastewater division. The change is needed following the discontinuation of the training program at Green River College, and will allow the City to internally develop operators for its system.


Ordinance No. 28220 An ordinance amending Chapter 6B.60 of the Municipal Code, relating to Boilers - Engineers and Fireman Certificates, to provide an exemption for the operation of hot water boilers at the Central Treatment Plant. [Hugh Messer, Interim Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The ordinance would allow an exemption from certification requirements for City employees working with hot water boilers at the Central Treatment Plant. The boilers in question are low-pressure hot water boilers used to heat process flows and buildings. Training for their operation is currently covered in standard operator training, and is targeted to the specific systems used, making it more aplicable than the general certification from which the exemption is being requested.




This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the Draft Hilltop Subarea Plan and proposed amendments to Chapters 13.06 and 13.17 of the Municipal Code, relating to Zoning and Mixed-Use Center Development. [Brian Boudet, Planning Manager; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

After what sounds to have been a less than totally smooth process, most of the speakers were generally in support of the Hilltop Subarea Plan. Many thanked the City and staff for listening to the community, particularly related to concerns over preserving affordable housing in the Hilltop neighborhood.

Several speakers simply said they were there to show "support for 12.5." That's apparently in reference to a change negotiated on the target goals for affordable housing in the neighborhood. One speaker commented that the new numbers referenced by 12.5 commenters made more sense to the community. According to the commenter, originally the plan called for 25% of the housing stock to be affordable for those at 80% of the median Pierce County income, which comes to right around $40,000 for a single person. Many in the community expressed their concern that this would drive out many of the existing residents of the Hilltop, which has a median household income significantly lower than that. New targets were proposed that would have 12.5% of the housing stock at that 80% threshhold, with another 12.5% at 50% of the median income for the county.

Another theme highlighted by several speakers was the importance of a library to the community, particularly for youth in the neighborhood. Professor Linda Ishem from UWT observed that in tandem with efforts to attract employees of the medical facilities to live in the Hilltop, the City should be looking at avenues for bringing current residents along, helping them to attain employment in the neighborhood as well. Ishem observed that there were plans to recruit workers to live in the neighborhood, but no comparable plans to increase the capacity of existing residents to hold jobs at the nearby medical facilities.




City Manager Broadnax reported that the City of Tacoma has been selected to receive a $250,000 national grant for the development of a subarea plan for the Tacoma Mall Regional Growth Center. Like the other three subarea plans already complete, or nearing completion (north and south downtown, and Hilltop), the plan will set the stage for future development by laying out a clear vision for growth, and identifying environmental impacts up front on an area-wide basis. The plan will focus in particular on complete streets, stormwater management, and innovative techniques for a dense urban environment. Work on the plan, which will be closely coordinated with City visioning, strategic planning, and Comprehensive Plan updates, will kick off this June, and run through 2018.

Broadnax also announced that the City's new cultural, documentary-style, arts television program, ArtTown from the City's Communications and Community and Economic Development departments won silver and bronze telly awards for excellence.



Economic Development Committee – Councilmember Campbell shared recent issues addressed by the committee.

  • Heard a report on key financial indicators for fourth quarter 2013.
  • Heard a presentation from the Puget Sound Regional Council on what they see as Tacoma’s strengths and economic development opportunities for the future.
  • Heard a presentation from the Tacoma Arts Commission on 2013 accomplishments and plans for 2014.
  • Heard a presentation from the Foss Waterway Development Authority including a recap of 2013, and future development opportunities and needs for 2014 and beyond.
  • Discussed the potential for installing artwork on Tacoma Dome.
  • Heard from Simpson Investment Company on the timber industry and new housing construction, and potential impacts to the Tacoma job market and City revenue.
  • Learned about Community and Economic Development Department plans to conduct a review of the Neighborhood Business District program this year.

At the committee's next meeting they will hear about Goodwill job training programs and recommendations on the Small Business Enterprise program.

Councilmember Boe reminded us that May is Bike Month, and it will be filled with a lot of great events - which can be found on the calendar at bike253.com.

  • Thursday is opening day of the Broadway Farmers' Market, and Bike to Market Day. The first 50 people who verify that they arrived by bike will get a $2 token to be spent at the market.
  • This Friday, no matter what your religious affiliation (or lack thereof), you can get your bike interdenominationally blessed at the Blessing of the Bikes at Urban Grace Church. Stop by on your way to work for the 8 a.m. service and coffee.
  • Kick off Bike Month this Saturday, May 3, with the Tacoma Wheemen's Tacoma Bike Swap at UPS - get bikes, parts, and accessories from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • In honor of both Bike Month and Historic Preservation Month, on Saturday, May 10, at 10 a.m. you can join in a Tweed Ride from the Point Defiance Pagoda, along the route of Tacoma's first street car line, down 6th Avenue to downtown.

As May is also Historic Preservation Month, this weekend you can also join the Historic Homes of Tacoma Tour of North Tacoma Highlights on Saturday and Sunday.

Also, for kids interested in theater, the Tacoma Musical Playhouse has a special young audience production of The Prince and the Pauper on Saturday and Sunday.

Councilmember Mello added another event to the weekend calendar with a reminder that this weekend will be the Harvest Pierce County Community Garden Summit at Gray Middle School from 10 to 2. The event is free and family-friendly with childcare and lunch provided for attendees. Register at harvestpiercecounty.org.

Councilmember Lonergan thanked everyone who came out for last weekend's community cleanup, and announced that this weekend's cleanup will take place in the Spooner Tract, Fern Hill, Blueberry Park neighborhood, with collection of unwanted items for disposal at Larchmont Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday. This is just the second of what will be 16 community cleanups in neighborhoods across Tacoma. See if/when your neighborhood is scheduled for its turn at cityoftacoma.org/communitycleanup.

Councilmember Ibsen added that the Guadelupe Gala and silent auction this Saturday at Holy Cross Parish will raise money for Guadalupe House, and celebrate Father Bill "Bix" Bicshel's birthday.



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