Tacoma City Council Meeting - December 8, 2015

CONSENT AGENDA

PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS/PRESENTATIONS/ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mayor Strickland presented her selection for Tacoma Reads 2016, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It’s the fictional story of a plague that sweeps the world. It’s a combination of history and sci-fi.

The book’s author will be in Tacoma in March to discuss her book, there will be performances, participatory activities, and more around the theme of the book. Everyone in Tacoma is encouraged to pick up a copy, read, and discuss.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

No comment.

 

REGULAR AGENDA

APPOINTMENTS

Resolution No. 39337 A resolution reappointing individuals to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Councilmember Walker listed the experience, accomplishments, and backgrounds of the five individuals being reappointed to the commission. 

 

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution No. 39338 A resolution adopting the priority issues for the 2016 sessions of the United States Congress and Washington State Legislature.

The council adopted its annual agenda for what it would like to see Congress and the state legislature address in 2016. Tacoma’s 2016 priorities build on its 2015 list, making additions including asking for help with preservation and maintenance of old bridges, minimum wage and paid sick and safe leave at a level at least equal to what Tacoma voters passed this year, and small changes to protect details of employee retirement private equity investments from public records act requests.

 

Resolution No. 39339 A resolution designating the Epworth LeSourd United Methodist Church, located at 710 South Anderson Street, as a City Landmark and placing said property on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places.

The historic Methodist church was designed by the noted Tacoma architect who also designed the Washington State Historical Society building, the old YMCA building on St Helens, and Stanley School, among others.

Constructed in 1926, the church is an example of Gothic Revival architecture. The current owner, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, intends to use the church as a performing arts venue and educational center under a historic conditional use permit. This will allow the historic building to be preserved and maintained, and continue to be used.

 

FINAL READING OF ORDINANCES

Ordinance No. 28337 An ordinance amending Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Compensation Plan, to implement changes in rates of pay and compensation for represented and non-represented classifications, and changes in classifications to reflect the organizational structure.

Ordinance No. 28338 An ordinance modifying the 2015-2016 Biennial Budget to appropriate funds for additional contract obligations, transfers and other budget adjustments; authorizing interfund transfers and contributions; and authorizing the acceptance, deposit, and appropriation of miscellaneous donations, contributions, and fees.

Ordinance No. 28339 An ordinance amending various chapters of Title 6 of the Municipal Code, entitled “Tax and License Code”, to authorize an additional 1.5% earnings tax on natural gas, electric and phone companies, as passed by Proposition 3 in the November 2015 general election.

All three ordinances were adopted without comment.

 

CITIZENS’ FORUM

All but two of the half dozen commenters at this month’s Citizens’ Forum spoke regarding the future of Tacoma’s Click! network. All asked the council to go with the “all-in” option of doubling down and investing in the network as a publicly-owned utility.

We heard requests that Tacoma recommit to its former title of “most wired city,” that the City invest in upgrades, and ensure that all residents have access to high speed internet. Several of the commenters also challenged the idea that the network is not profitable, pointing out that the desire of private businesses to acquire it suggests otherwise, and pointing to a report describing Click! as debt-free. The CEO of local ISP Advanced Stream pointed to the groundswell of grassroots support for Click!, saying that loyalty could be harnessed to the network’s advantage, to grow the customer base.

Aside from Click! comments, a regular commenter returned to voice his concerns over Tacoma police officers and their treatment of black citizens. A final speaker voiced her appreciation for the young African American people from the Hilltop who showed up to last month’s Citizens’ Forum to share their thoughts on the state of their community, specifically related to recent deaths in the community. She invited the council to an upcoming event at which the young people will again take an opportunity to speak their minds on December 27 at the Sure House Church at 901 South 10th Street in Hilltop.

 

REPORTS BY THE CITY MANAGER

City Manager Broadnax gave an update on the City’s response and plans to address homelessness and increased visibility of homeless encampments around the city.

The City estimates that approximately 250 families with children, and more than 400 single adults in Tacoma are experiencing homelessness, and that every night about 100 of those families and individuals are turned away from shelters. These counts are considered to be conservative. Tacoma’s four shelters support an area including not just Pierce, but Thurston and south King counties as well.

By declaring inclement weather, shelters are allowed to operate at maximum capacity. This year, rather than doing so on a day-to-day basis, the City will institute an inclement weather season beginning December 14, and running through March 2016.

The City is also expanding its services with a new shelter in partnership with Community Youth Services. The temporary shelter will allow young adults to stay overnight at the Beacon Senior Center building at South 13th and Fawcett during the inclement weather season. Warm meals and other services will also be available to young adults at that shelter.

Mayor Strickland noted that Tacoma is providing the majority of homeless services in Pierce County, and echoed an invitation from the City Manager for everyone in the community to a community informational meeting to discuss a regional homelessness services plan. That meeting will be held this Thursday, December 10, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Beacon Senior Center at 415 South 13th Street.

 

COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

Councilmember Thoms thanked City staff and the City Manager for their work on addressing homelessness needs.

Deputy Mayor Boe invited everyone to … Boe also encouraged everyone to enjoy a list of upcoming arts events:

  • December 11, 12, and 13 - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang continues from Tacoma Musical Playhouse  
  • December 11 – Puget Sound Poetry Connection hosts its distinguished writer series and open mic at King’s Books
  • December 12 – Hilltop Artists annual winter glass sale at Jason Lee Middle School
  • December 13 – Tacoma Youth Symphony takes over Urban Grace with performances from the Tacoma String Philharmonic and Tacoma String Symphony as well as the Tacoma Junior Youth Symphony and the Tacoma Youth Brass Ensemble
  • December 19-23 - the Puget Sound Revels take over the Rialto Theater for a Scandinavian-themed Christmas Revels. Boe describes this celebration of the winter solstice as a cross between the History Channel and the Carol Burnett Show
  • And last, but not least, Zoolights continues through the New Year

ADJOURNMENT

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


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