Tacoma City Council Meeting - July 17, 2012

This week’s meeting came with a bit of a surprise to anyone watching the debate over medical cannabis facility zoning in Tacoma…  Other than that, no huge surprises this week.



Resolution No. 38508 Accepting a 2011 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security, in the amount of $7,737,255, for wage and benefit costs not related to overtime, for up to 37 firefighters for a two-year term; depositing said sum into the Fire Miscellaneous Special Revenue Fund; and authorizing the execution of the necessary documents for the administration of the grant. [James Duggan, Interim Chief, Tacoma Fire Department]

The grant, which is 100% federally funded, requiring no local match, covers a 24 month period of staffing beginning this Monday, July 16, 2012.  The grant comes with two restrictions: funding will be terminated if any firefighters are laid off during that 24 months, and additionally that unless the City is granted a waiver, it must maintain staffing at current levels (meaning that without the waiver, any staff who retire must be replaced). 


The Washington State Recycling Association has awarded City of Tacoma employee Mark Tveit as Individual Recycler of the Year for his work to divert 16 tons of styrofoam from the landfill through a process that allows it to be compressed and recycled for other uses.

Tacoma’s Sister Cities program was recently awarded the *Sister Cities International Innovation: Arts & Culture Award for the Fuzhou Ting in the Tacoma Chinese Reconciliation Park project*.  The Park, a memorial dedicated to the memory of the expulsion of Tacoma’s Chinese citizens in 1885, aims to support the city’s efforts at reconciliation, and represents a partnership between Tacoma and Fuzhou.  Debbie Bingham presented the award to the City Council in recognition of their support of the project.


Although the ordinance pertaining to zoning regulations for medical marijuana in the City was removed from the agenda, two speakers spoke to the issue.  One speaker, a landlord to both an existing medical cannabis dispensary and a storefront church, urged Council to consider allowing for existing uses to continue.  The other speaker encouraged the Council to persevere with local legislation supporting the will of the people, and not be intimidated by the federal government.  He commended the Council’s courage thus far, and encouraged them not to “wuss out” now. 




City Clerk advising that the Civil Service Board has filed proposed revisions to Chapter 1.24 of the Municipal Code, entitled “Personnel Rules”, relating to three sections: Section 1.24.430 Rejection of Application, Section 1.24.460 Veteran’s Preference, and Section 1.24.665 Affirmative Measures.

This item was communicated for information purposes only.  It is tentatively scheduled to appear on the agenda for a first reading on July 24. 


Purchase Resolution No. 38509 Awarding contracts to:

  1. FKC Co., Ltd., on its bid of $1,409,463.00, plus sales tax, plus a 10 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $1,550,409.30, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, for three screw presses and ancillary equipment to be used in the Central Treatment Plant Dewatering Facility Upgrade project – Specification No. PW12-0246F [John O’Loughlin, Science and Engineering Division Manager; Dick McKinley, Director, Public Works];
  2. Northwest Cascade, Inc., on its bid of $1,334,736.00, sales tax not included, plus a 20 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $1,601,683.20, budgeted from the Wastewater, Surface Water, and Tacoma Water Bond Funds, for the replacement of 4,200 linear feet of existing wastewater, surfacewater, and water pipe – Specification No. PW12-0004F [John O’Loughlin, Science and Engineering Division Manager; Dick McKinley, Director, Public Works]; and
  3. Mercer Health & Benefits LLC, on its bid of $516,500.00, sales tax not applicable, fees to be paid from commissions on products by the benefit carriers on a monthly basis, to provide insurance brokerage and consulting services for employee benefits for an initial five-year term, with the option to renew for two additional one-year terms – Specification No. HR12-0236F [Debbie Dahlstrom, Risk/Benefits Manager; Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources].

Several questions were raised by Council regarding item three.  Concerns were focused on the idea of a “commission” based structure, as well as questions regarding what was being paid for, and why Mercer scored slightly higher than Tacoma-based Brown & Brown.  According to the answers provided, the use of a broker is common in the industry, with the idea that brokers can survey available options and use their expertise to keep costs down.  Commission amounts are set ahead of time.  Staff will provide Council with discussion points from the selection process.

Resolution No. 38510 Designating the Ella and John Snyder House, located at 612 North 4th Street, as a city landmark and placing said property on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. [Reuben McKnight, Historic Preservation Officer; Martha Anderson, Interim Director, Community and Economic Development]

The residence, designed by architect Ambrose J Russell of Tacoma has belonged to historic owners, including John Snyder, who was prominent in the lumber industry, and served on the City Council.  The home in located in the Stadium Historic District.

Resolution No. 38511 Authorizing the execution of a lease agreement with KAG Logistics, Inc., at a base rate of $24,000 per year, for the use of approximately 2.4 acres of Tacoma Rail Mountain Division property located in Fredrickson, for an ethanol and other liquid commodities rail-to-truck transloading facility, for a five-year term with the option to renew for three additional five-year terms. [Dylan Harrison, Senior Real Estate Specialist; Dick McKinley, Director, Public Works]

Councilmember Ibsen noted that it was good to see a proposal to generate revenue for TRMW, which has been operating at a deficit.



Ordinance No. 28080 Amending Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Compensation Plan, to allow employees to take Personal Time-Off in tenth-of-an-hour increments, provide clarifying language regarding cash-out eligibility, and add language to provide for VEBA contributions upon separation where applicable. [Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

The ordinance passed without comment.



Ordinance No. 28081 Amending Title 13 of the Municipal Code, entitled “Land Use Regulatory Code”, to establish regulations regarding medical cannabis and its associated distribution centers and collective gardens, as recommended by the Planning Commission. [Lucas Shadduck, Senior Planner; Martha Anderson, Interim Director, Community and Economic Development]

The item was removed from the agenda.  Mayor Strickland explained that although state law would allow for medical cannabis facilities, federal law still makes distribution a crime, therefore the City cannot endorse or permit those activities.  Enforcement of possession is still a low priority for Tacoma police, but the Council is scrapping the idea of zoning changes for now.  A new proposal will focus on protecting sensitive areas, while honoring the community desire for legalization.  With the moratorium set to expire in two weeks, we’ll hope to see something on next week’s agenda.


City Manager Broadnax had two reports:

  • Tacoma has been awarded the Certificate of Distinction from the International City Managers’ Association for Performance Management.  Tacoma is one of 15 cities to receive the honor this year; the second time for the City.  The award recognizes City efforts to track, report, and act on reporting data, aligning staff work with City Council priorities.  The Certificate of Distinction is the second tier of a three tiered award, and Broadnax says the City plans to implement practices with the aim of winning the highest level of recognition.
  • Broadnax also recognized a detective from the Tacoma Police Department who was named employee of the month for efforts at solving a difficult string of thefts.


Neighborhoods and Housing Committee Councilmember Walker reported on the work of the committee, including a do pass for changes to poultry code report from staff on the residential provisional rental licensing program that went into effect earlier this year; and updates on foreclosures in the region and City code enforcement.

Councilmember Boe commended Metro Parks for the work doen on Wapato Park, and encouraged everyone to visit to see the improvements.

Councilmember Ibsen mentioned the new challenge course at Northwest Trek, which he hasn’t tried out yet, but which he thinks looks like a great investment for the park (we tried it, and we can vouch for it as an attraction worth your visit).

Councilmember Mello remarked that he appreciates the focus on incorporating sustainability in City decision making, and would like to see vehicle miles travelled continue to be a part of that conversation.  Mello also thanked Mayor Strickland for her leadership and involvement in Tacoma’s Pride celebration.

Councilmembers also reminded us of the upcoming community budget input meetings this week and next Monday. 

  • Wednesday, July 18 at 6:00 p.m. at Stadium High School
  • Thursday, July 19 at 6:00 p.m. at Lincoln High School
  • Monday, July 23 at 6:00 p.m. at Baker Middle School

Mayor Strickland reminded us that 3rd Thursday is coming up this week, and that the LeMay America’s Car Museum will be participating in free admission Thursday evening.


Well, that’s a bit of a cliff-hanger on the medical cannabis decision.  We’ll have to wait and see where they go next with that…

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Not much headway this week on Tacoma’s $11M budget shortfall but we did make progress on our city poultry problem. That’s something.

July 20, 2012 at 5:33 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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