Tacoma City Council Meeting - April 8, 2014



Resolution No. 38875 A resolution setting Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date 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]

The consent agenda was adopted without comment.



Mayor Strickland proclaimed the week of April 14-18, 2014 as Registered Apprenticeship Awareness Week in Tacoma, in recognition of apprenticeship as a time-honored and proven method of training the workforce for skilled trades. That week leaders representing apprenticeship, labor, education, and other interested parties will convene at the Emerald Queen, and the Washington Apprenticeship and Training Council will meet at Hotel Murano. The leaders will be discussing ways to keep apprenticeship programs strong.



No 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. [Sean Senescall, Rates and Financial Policy Manager; Linda McCrea, Superintendent, Tacoma Water]

The resolution was continued to the April 22 Council meeting.


Resolution No. 38877 A resolution designating the J.E. Aubry Wagon & Auto Works Building located at 2105 South C Street and the Hunt-Mottet Warehouse Building located at 2109 South C Street, as City Landmarks and adding said buildings to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. [Reuben McKnight, Historic Preservation Officer; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

The two buildings sit within the Union Station Conservation District, and are emblematic of industrial styles from the turn of the century. The Hunt-Mottet (pronounced mo-tay) Warehouse was constructed in 1907 to support the company's booming retail and wholesale business, headquartered on Pacific Avenue in the building that was remodeled several years ago into the Hunt-Mottet Lofts. The JE Aubry building, constructed in 1910, looks very much now as it did then, minus some pilasters at the top. That building originally served as a wagon shop, and later as an autobody shop. The request for historic designation was requested by the property owner, who plans to take advantage of tax incentives for remodeling the pair of historic buildings.


Resolution No. 38878 A resolution authorizing the execution of letters of agreement with Teamsters Local Union No. 117, General Unit, which covers approximately 191.5 budgeted positions, for market-based wage adjustments and other compensation, effective retroactive to January 1, 2014. [David Topaz, Labor Negotiator; Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

The adjustments made to the current labor agreement have been approved by both labor and TPU.


Resolution No. 38879 A resolution approving revisions to the City’s Compensation Philosophy section on competitiveness. [Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

The revisions remove references to pay rates at a specific percentile of the market.


Resolution No. 38880 A resolution authorizing the use of up to $30,000, budgeted from the Council Contingency Fund, for advertising and meeting costs related to the 2014 City Charter Review. [Doris Sorum, City Clerk; Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

The citizen Charter Review Committee and its various subcommittees have held more than 50 meetings since convening in January. Out of that process have emerged several proposed changes to Tacoma's Charter, and the committee is now in the process of soliciting feedback from the community. To that end, postcards were sent to every household in the city, informing residents of opportunities to provide input, including a planned meeting and telephone town hall event. This resolution funds those mailings and the cost of the telephone town hall meeting. In light of the fact that the postcards have already been mailed to citizens, Councilmember Lonergan raised the question of what would have happened had the council failed to approve the use of contingency funds. We didn't quite catch the answer...


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]

The 10-year agreement would allow the Delaware LLC to continue to provide services under similar terms to the previous franchise agreement adopted in 1999. The ordinance will get its final reading at the April 29 Council meeting.


Ordinance No. 28215 An ordinance amending Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation for employees represented by the Teamsters Local Union No. 117, General Unit. [David Topaz, Labor Negotiator; Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

This ordinance would implement the earlier resolution on the same issue.



This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed declaration of surplus and sale of a .45-acre parcel of Tacoma Water property near the intersection of State Highway 165 and Ryan Road in Buckley, Washington, to the City of Buckley. [Gloria Fletcher, Senior Real Estate Officer; Linda McCrea, Superintendent, Tacoma Water]

The public hearing is required for the sale of about half an acre of unimproved land near Buckley from Tacoma Water to City of Buckley for road relocation project. Tacoma Water has no need for the land, and has agreed to the sale of the land at the market rate of $43,000. Due to additional costs incurred by delays in the project associated with Tacoma Water, the net proceeds for Tacoma will come to about $14,500. No one came forward to speak on the issue.



This month's Citizens' Forum had a big turn out, with nearly two dozen commenters speaking on a wide variety of topics. After our most regular recent CF commenter was asked to step down for inappropriate comments, the speakers were much more... sane focused.

We heard from eight residents of the Narrowmoor neighborhood in west Tacoma, asking the Council to consider implementing a moratorium on shortplatting in their neighborhood. Narrowmoor, which the residents defined as the blocks roughly between 6th Avenue and South 19th, and between Jackson and Titlow, has been sumbitted by the residents for a conservation district designation by the City. While that application is being reviewed, a lengthy process, the residents are concerned that further shortplatting might occur. All but one of the commenters voiced concern over what they described as the threat of shortplatting (subdividing of the existing large lots) to the character, integrity, and property values in their neighborhood. The one voice against the moratorium, and the ultimate conservation district designation, came from a resident who said he doesn't feel there is a significant threat from shortplatting, and that he doesn't believe the views residents are trying to protect with the conservation district fall within the purview that designation.

The other major topic covered by commenters was the issue of mandatory paid sick leave. We heard from 10 commenters in support of a requirement for employers to offer paid sick leave to employees. Commenters included both workers with and without the benefit currently, as well as a recent recipient of Tacoma's Human Rights Champion Award. One commenter spoke against the idea, challenging the validity of studies that supporters offer showing that the benefit does not have a significant negative overall impact on employers. In response to his claims, we heard from the other speakers a comparison of the paid sick leave issue to earlier fights for 40 hour work weeks, and worker safety regulations. One speaker framed the issue as a question of whether or not we believe as a society that paid sick leave is a part of a "decent, humane workplace." If it is, he and others argued, it's a matter of public interest and basic human rights; if you don't believe that, then it's a matter for the market to decide.

One speaker shared her experiences as a bike commuter in Tacoma, and asked the Council to consider more investment in bike infrastructure. The new ED for the Tacoma Farmers’ Markets thanked the Council for their support, noting that in 2013 market vendors brought in over $800,000 in revenue, and inviting everyone to come out and enjoy the markets when they kick off again for 2014. The Broadway and 6th Ave markets open for the season the first week of May, and the South Tacoma Market opens the first of June. And last, but not least, we heard from a commenter regarding the arrival of rideshare companies in Tacoma. Taxi drivers, she said, are in support of innovation, but they want rideshare companies to play by the same rules, and to carry commercial driver's licenses, insurance, and so on. She asked the Council to be proactive is setting a framework that works for everyone.



Tacoma's Neighborhoods and Community Services department recently completed a proactive code compliance survey. Staff surveyed 1,900 parcels along arterial streets and in Tacoma's business districts for potential issues. Of those, over 1,400 were identified as having potential nuisance code compliance violations such as overgrown vegetation, litter and debris, and other conditions that could be in violation of City code. Postcards will be sent to those property owners, informing them of issues. The intent is to alert property owners to conditions, raise awareness, and allow for proactive resolution. The postcards are not intended as formal notices of violation. Citizens who have concerns about properties in their neighborhoods can call Code Compliance directly or the City's 311 support line, or go to cityoftacoma.org/CityQA.

This year the Tacoma Rainiers celebrate their 20th season as the Rainiers. Their facility has recently seen a few improvements, including the installation of green streets grade parking lots, and two shiny new signs pointing the way to Cheney Stadium.

On May 13 in Olympia, Tacoma will be honored as the recipient of the 2014 State Historic Preservation Officer’s Award in the Historic Preservation Planning category. The award recognizes the City, elected officials, and staff for taking proactive steps in amending Tacoma's municipal code to aid in the preservation of historic properties in Tacoma with the adoption of the amendment to prevent demolition of historic properites through neglect adopted in September 2013.



Councilmember Ibsen reminded us of two events coming up this week.


Councilmember Boe shared a couple of upcoming arts events.

Mayor Strickland reminded us of the on-going Charter Review process, and opportunities for citizens to provide input, including this week's public meeting, and next week's telephone town hall. You can also share your comments via email at CharterReview@CityofTacoma.org



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

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