Tacoma City Council Meeting - June 24, 2014


Deputy Mayor Woodards proclaimed June 2014 as National Safety Month. National Safety Month focuses on increasing awareness of leading safety risks, and decreasing the number of accidental injuries and deaths. The 2014 theme is “Safety, it takes us all.” Nearly 3,800 people annually die from unintentional shootings in the US, one third of them under the age of 25. Tacoma’s Gang Reduction Project will be launching a citywide gun safety education campaign. The Deputy Mayor encouraged everyone to join in promoting safety in our communities.

Mayor Strickland proclaimed June 28, 2014 as Highland Games Day. The Tacoma Highland Games Association formed 45 year ago to foster and restore interest in traditional Scottish and Gaelic culture across the Northwest. The 2014 games take place this weekend, and will include competition in four major areas: highland piping, drumming, dance, and traditional Scottish athletics. The Mayor encouraged all citizens to learn more about Scottish traditions and culture by attending the games in Graham this Friday and Saturday.

The Council also recognized the City's 2nd Quarter Human Rights Champion Award recipient, Tina Aure, a law librarian at the Tacoma law library who helps people trying to navigate the legal system.



One commenter who has become a semi-regular at public comment spoke relating to the purchase resolutions, which, although he admitted he had not researched, he found to be too high. He also spoke relating to the ordinance adjusting wages for a group of City employees, suggesting that the City invest in a tough negotiator to go up against union reps. A second commenter speaking on behalf of the Point Ruston development renewed their request to approve the proposed Point Ruston mixed-use center without an additional affordable housing requirement




Resolution No. 38932 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, in the amount of $174,929.80, plus sales tax, for a cumulative total of $656,085.80, budgeted from the Fire Miscellaneous Special Revenue Fund, to increase the contract for maintenance and repair services for the Fire Department’s Computer Aided Dispatch System through February 28, 2017 - Sole Source. [Roger Edington, Assistant Chief; James P. Duggan, Chief, Tacoma Fire Department]

The original contract for Tacoma Fire's existing system was with Northrop Grumman, and as with most software arrangements, the City doesn't own it, so the existing contract will be extended until it's time for a new system - at least until 2017 at this point.


Resolution No. 38933 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Retail Lockbox Inc., in the amount of $75,000, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $1,265,873.01, budgeted from the Treasury Operations Fund, for lockbox receipting services through November 30, 2014 - Specification No. FI06-0808F. [Michael San Soucie, Treasury Manager; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]

The item was adopted without council comment.


Resolution No. 38934 A resolution awarding a contract to TruStar Energy LLC, in the amount of $773,774, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for a portable compressed natural gas fueling station, and parts and maintenance services, for an initial contract term of two years, with the option to renew for three additional one-year terms, for a projected contract total of $860,665 - Specification No. ES14-0169F. [Gary Kato, Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

This item was also adopted without council comment.


Resolution No. 38935 A resolution awarding a contract to Northwest Cascade, Inc., in the amount of $712,281, excluding sales tax, plus a 15 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $819,123.15, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, to replace 12-inch diameter underground wastewater pipe in Center Street from South 27th Street to Yakima Avenue, and spot repair 18-inch diameter underground wastewater pipe in Carr Street at North 31st Street - Specification No. ES14-0023F. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

This project is in an area whre there are a lot of underground utilities, and where they will need to go fairly deep under ground in some places.



Resolution No. 38936 A resolution authorizing the execution of four agreements with the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority, to fund housing development programs allocated under the City’s Consolidated Plan, and the 2013 and 2014 Annual Action Plans. [Carey Jenkins, Housing Division Manager; Ricardo Noguera, Director, Community and Economic Development]

The existing agreement was no longer adequate. It had been amended 270 times since its original adoption in 1974, and didn’t provide an adequate monitoring framework. The new documents remove outdated sections. It also creates a defined monitoring process, provide better way to control HUD compliance, and provides for a new agreement to be executed each year, which should provide for better budget and expenditure control for HUD funds. It also provides improved guidelines for partners. There are new documents for how the City handles both HOME and CDBG funds.



Ordinance No. 28228 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 United Transportation Union, Switch Crew Unit, which covers 32 budgeted positions, effective July 1, 2014. [Mike Brock, Labor Negotiator; Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

The ordinance was adopted without further comment.



Ordinance No. 28229 An ordinance approving the proposed 2014 Annual Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Regulatory Code as recommended by the Planning Commission on May 7, 2014, and amending appropriate elements of the Comprehensive Plan. [Brian Boudet, Planning Manager; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

The annual amendment has gotten a fair amount of attention so far. Public comment has mainly focused on changes around electric vehicle infrastructure, a mixed-use center for Point Ruston, and issues related to so-called “pipe stem lots.” 10 subjects are addressed between the two ordinances on this week’s agenda, and an upcoming resolution. This first ordinance amends six elements of Tacoma’s Comprehensive Plan, and adds a new container port element, and rescinds three existing elements that will be incorporated into improved citywide guidelines for public access and shoreline design.

An amendment was proposed and adopted to change the requirements around the creation of a new Point Ruston mixed-use center. The original recommendation had been to include an additional requirement for affordable housing. The amended version drops that requirement. According to staff the eight- or twelve-year multi-family tax exemption tends to be tied to the mixed-use center designation, and the 12-year exemption is tied to affordable housing. Deputy Mayor Woodards called adding an affordable housing clause specifically to the Point Ruston MUC setting a precedent that has not been set before. Woodards called the additional requirement an extra burden on a project that has already overcome many, in the current challenging economic environment.

Councilmember Boe explained his support for the amendment, saying that consistency and predictability across all of Tacoma’s mixed-use centers is needed. Boe called the requirement another level of burden, adding complication where the other proposed mixed-use center amendments are trying to simplify. Mayor Strickland noted that if the existing eight- and twelve-year multi-family and affordable housing incentives aren't producing the desired results, they can be revisited, but that imposing requirements on specific developments is not the way to do that.

The amended ordinance will get a final reading next week. 


Ordinance No. 28230 An ordinance amending various chapters of Title 1 and Title 13 of the Municipal Code, relating to the 2014 Annual Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Regulatory Code as recommended by the Planning Commission on May 7, 2014. [Brian Boudet, Planning Manager; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

This second ordinance makes amendments to eight chapters of the municipal code. Deputy Mayor Woodards proposed an amendment, which was adopted, to essentially make the same changes to code amendments that were made to the Comprehensive Plan amendments.

A second amendment, proposed by Councilmember Boe, was adopted, making changes related to electric vehicle charging stations. The amendment makes installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure recommended, rather than required for new and more than 50% remodeled commercial and multifamily projects.

There are three basic categories being considered here – commercial, multi-family, and single-family residential. There are four levels of requirements being considered – no requirement, recommended installation, requirement for only the conduit to be installed, and a requirement for full installation. The single family will not have any requirement or recommendation. The commercial had been set to have a full or conduit requirement. The multi-family had gone back and forth, finally settling on the conduit requirement. This amendment would lower both commercial and multi-family to only a recommendation for installation. The amendment was adopted with Councilmember Ibsen voting opposed.

Councilmember Thoms proposed a third amendment, which was adopted, that would give some support to the approach of recommending EV infrastructure. This third amendment would direct staff to work on a mix of requirements and incentives to encourage voluntary installation of EV charging stations. Councilmember Campbell pointed to the challenges faced by Tacoma’s existing housing stock – neighborhoods and multi-family housing without private garages will be difficult to add charging stations to, and that our electric infrastructure may not be prepared for everyone to start plugging their cars in.

A final amendment, proposed by Councilmember Campbell, was also adopted, this one relating to so-called pipe-stem lots. The amendment removes language relating to regulation of the smaller lots, set back from the road. The regulations would have set height and setback requirements, but those will be delayed, pending feedback from the Planning Commission. The Master Builders Association had expressed concern relating to the mismatch between proposed regulations for these lots and surrounding zoning. 



City Manager Broadnax announced that the City is seeking volunteers to encourage recycling at this year's Freedom Fair along Ruston Way. Volunteers are asked to sign up for two hour shifts to educate and remind fair goers about recycling. Volunteers must be at least 16, and will be thanked for their efforts with a $7 food voucher.



Economic Development committee – Councilmember Campbell shared recent work of the committee.

  • Heard an informational briefing from Tacoma Goodwill on its job training programs and other community services.
  • Interviewed Tacoma Arts Commission applicants.
  • Heard an informational briefing from Sitecrafting on the state of the tech industry in Tacoma.
  • Heard an update from the South Tacoma Auto and Retail Sales Group on plans to start a Business Improvement Area in their recently designated business district.
  • Received an update on recent developments in Tacoma’s neighborhood business districts.

At the committee’s next meeting, they will interview applicants for the Events and Recognition Committee.

Councilmember Boe shared a list of upcoming events.

  • Wednesday, June 25 at noon at Dock street and 15th - Rededication ceremony of the Sun King sculpture.
  • Thursday - Farmers’ Market on Broadway from 10 to 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 28 - The Urban Art Festival in Fireman’s Park – noon to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday - Proctor Farmers' Market
  • Sunday - South Tacoma Farmers' Market
  • Friday through Sunday this weekend - Taste of Tacoma at Point Defiance Park
  • Friday and Saturday - Tacoma highland games at Frontier Park in Graham

Councilmember Campbell thanked everyone who came out to Go Skate Tacoma in Tollefson Plaza last weekend, and encouraged everyone to turn out for the Walk for Safe Neighborhoods this Friday at Wapato Park from 5 to 7 p.m.

Councilmembers Mello and Walker were absent from this week’s meeting.


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

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