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Tacoma City Council Meeting - November 19, 2013



Resolution No. 38774 A resolution setting Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the South Downtown Subarea Plan and minor amendments to Chapters 13.06, Zoning, and 13.06A, Downtown Tacoma, of the Tacoma Municipal Code. [Ian Munce, Assistant to the Director; Peter Huffman, Interim Director, Planning and Development Services]

The consent agenda passed without comment.



Deputy Mayor Campbell proclaimed November 2013 as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. The stats on this one are pretty sobering:

  • In 2013 45,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 38,000 of them will die of the disease
  • Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a single digit 5-year survival rate. 73% of those diagnosed die within the first year after diagnosis. 94% die within the first five years.
  • You might remember that Steve Jobs died of complications of a form of pancreatic cancer.

The Deputy Mayor also proclaimed the week of November 17-24, 2013 as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Although much is being done to minimize homelessness, at any given time there are around 2,000 homeless adults and children in our community.



There was no public comment this week.




A Public Employment Relations Commission Notice to Employees was read into the record. [Karen Short, Sr. Human Resources Analyst; Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

Regarding a finding that the City committed an unfair labor practice, and required that the City post a notification of this finding.



Resolution No. 38775 A resolution awarding a contract to Green Earthworks Construction, Inc., in the amount of $243,618.85, including sales tax, plus a 20 percent contingency for a cumulative amount of $292,342.62, budgeted from the Surface Water Fund, for the replacement of approximately 600 linear feet of stormwater pipe from East 15th Street to St. Paul Avenue - Specification No. ES13-0053F. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Science and Engineering Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The contract awarded came in at 15% below the pre-bid estimate.


Resolution No. 38776 A resolution awarding a contract to Pease & Sons, Inc., in the amount of $476,694,00 plus sales tax, plus a 10 percent contingency for a cumulative total of $524,363.40, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for the construction of a material storage canopy and Recycled Asphalt Pavement/Recycled Asphalt Shingles equipment foundation - Specification No. ES13-0453F. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Science and Engineering Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

Councilmember Boe recused himself to avoid any potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest. This award came in at 9.2% below the pre-bid estimate


Resolution No. 38777 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Ceccanti, Inc., to increase the contract by $1,900,000.00 including sales tax, for a cumulative total of $12,640,776.99, budgeted from the Wastewater, Surface Water 2006 Bond Construction, Capital Projects REET, 2010 LTGO Bond Fund D, and Streets Special Revenue Funds, for added roadway and stormwater work, unforeseen subsurface conditions, and improvements to mitigate flooding on Commerce Street. -Specification No. PW12-0083F. [Chris Larson, P.E., Engineering Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Interim Director, Public Works]

The significant increase in project costs came in two general categories. First, improvements to the roadway were made. The road surface of Division began with a number of potholes, and worsened to the point where a full street rebuild was done, rather than the initially planned grind and overlay. A concrete intersection was installed to improve durability and a pedestrian-operated signal. As that work was being done, stormwater facilities were replaced, including a section of 100 year-old pipe. As work progressed, subsurface void pockets were discovered to be larger than expected, requiring extra fill and labor.

The other set of increases in costs came from storm-related work on Commerce. The sandbags and other barriers in front of the Old City Hall Annex building at 615 Commerce were set up to redirect stormwater until a more permanent fix to the stormwater runoff problem can be installed. Since the initial work on that area was complete, three storms have had intensities greater than 100-year storm event standards. The existing City standard has been to build to 25-year storm standards. Those storms overwhelmed existing runoff paths, resulting in flooding and damage to 615 Commerce when the water, which had nowhere else to go, ended up in the building. New stormwater pipes will be installed to redirect water downhill and away from the building.

Some of this work, particularly the uphill work, has been accomplished. The work on stormwater issues will begin around December 2 on the Commerce side, moving downhill after the new year, including an 8 to 10 week closure of Schuster. All the work should be complete by mid-March, (weather permitting).


Resolution No. 38778 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Tucci and Sons, Inc., in the amount of $895,000.00 sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $8,593,152.85, budgeted from the Wastewater, Surface Water, Capital Projects REET, 2010 LTGO Bond Fund D, and Streets Special Revenue Funds, for grade issues, rain garden modifications, subsurface conflicts, unforeseen conditions, structural walk repairs, and stormwater improvements - Specification No. PW12-0346F. [Chris Larson, P.E., Engineering Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Interim Director, Public Works]

The nearly $1 million in additional project costs came in several areas. A lack of survey of conditions in front of Key and Chase banks led to additional design and construction work; rain garden modifications were necessary to deal with what sound like design shortcomings, including a lack of footing for walls and unsealed liners; other unforeseen subsurface conflicts and conditions had to be dealt with; and stormwater improvements at 7th and Market are needed. There was some discussion of identifying these sort of issues in the future. It sounds like projects have begun to go through "constructability" reviews, and the City Manager promises he and staff will look into further ways of avoiding these sorts of project overruns, where possible.

A celebration of the completion of Pacific Avenue work is planned for December 7 on Pacific between 7th and 9th, complete with hot cocoa and popcorn. Everyone's invited.



Ordinance No. 28185 An ordinance amending Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation, and changes in classifications for the following bargaining units: the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge No. 160, on behalf of Local Lodge 297, Rail Mechanics, Track Workers, and Yard Clerk Units; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 483, Court Clerk, Customer and Field Services, Supervisors’, Water Division, and Water Pollution Control Units; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers; and Professional and Technical Employees, Local 17. [Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

There was no Council comment on the ordinance, which would amend compensation for classifications covered by 10 collective bargaining agreements.


Ordinance No. 28186 An ordinance relating to property tax levies, authorizing an increase in terms of both dollars and percentages for the 2014 Emergency Medical Services property tax levy. [Tadd Wille, Budget Officer; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]

This ordinance, along with the following three ordinances will set the amount of regular and EMS property tax levies collected by the City of Tacoma in 2014. The City is required to pass two ordinances for each of these levies. One approves the total levy amount to be collected, capped at a 1% increase over the highest levy year since 1985. The other approves the percentage and dollar increase over the prior year's actual levy. These may appear to identify different amounts due to the differences in state requirements...

This first pair of ordinances considers the EMS levy. The maximum allowed EMS levy, at the 1% increase over the highest levy year, will be set at $10.2 million. Because assessed values are down, that would put the collection rate at $0.62 per $1,000 of assessed value. Because the City is only allowed to collect up to $0.50 per $1,000, the actual amount that can be collected is limited to $8.3 million.


Ordinance No. 28187 An ordinance setting the 2014 property tax levy for Emergency Medical Services. [Tadd Wille, Budget Officer; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]

This ordinance goes with the prior one, setting the actual dollar amount to be collected.


Ordinance No. 28188 An ordinance authorizing a zero percent and zero dollar increase in the 2014 general property tax revenue collection. [Tadd Wille, Budget Officer; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]

This second set of ordinances sets the regular property tax levy numbers. This ordinance sets the percent increase over the prior year's actual levy collected. That amount included a refund, so there will be a 0% increase set for 2014, and a $0 increase. 


Ordinance No. 28189 An ordinance setting the 2014 Ad Valorem property tax levy. [Tadd Wille, Budget Officer; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]

The regular levy will be set at $52.2 million - a 1% increase over the prior highest regular levy, per state rules. This ordinance sets the actual dollar amount to be levied for 2014 general property taxes. 

There, does that all make sense now? All of these items will be sent over for final reading next week.



This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council regarding the surplus and proposed sale of 27,499 square feet of Tacoma Water property located at 7704 6th Avenue, to David A. Sizemore, in the amount of $22,500. [Maureen Barnes, Real Estate Officer; Linda McCrea, Superintendent, Tacoma Water]

A motion was made and adopted to continue this item to the November 26, 2013 Council meeting.


This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council regarding the proposed sale of four former substation sites located at 5001 North Visscher Street, 1801 North Orchard Street, 4924 North 31st Street, and 1009 South 35th Street, owned by Tacoma Power, previously declared as surplus, to Reggie Brown for the cumulative total of $317,000. [Maureen Barnes, Real Estate Officer; Ted Coates, Superintendent, Tacoma Power]

The four former Tacoma Power substation sites (Ruston, Fairmont, Downing, and Lincoln Park) being considered were among a total of nine originally declared surplus in 2009, when they were no longer needed following upgrades to the system. Brown plans to build residential infill housing on the properties, which will return to the tax rolls. All of the properties are in the middle of existing residential developments. Returning the vacant parcels to tax rolls is expected to bring in $4,000 to the City initially, with that amount increasing when the properties are developed. No one came forward to speak to the hearing, but Councilmember Mello asked that staff review comments from public comment on the original surplus of the property, to ensure that any issues raised at that time are considered as the proposed sale moves forward.



Tacoma Police Department recently receive national re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. TPD received the accreditation for the first time in 2010. The accreditation process requires assessments every three years, with self-assessments in between. Congrats TPD.



Economic Development Committee – Councilmember Boe reported on topics covered by the committee.

  • Heard an update from the Port of Tacoma on its 10-year strategic plan and new business opportunities.
  • Heard from City staff on Community and Economic Development activities that took place in 2013 in Tacoma’s neighborhood business districts, as they relate to the City’s Economic Development Strategic Framework Plan.
  • Interviewed candidates for the Foss Waterway Development Authority, and made recommendations for appointments and reappointments.

At its next meeting the committee will hear end of year reports on the City’s LEAP and SBE programs.

Councilmember Boe also shared a few other items.

  • On Sunday, November 24, there will be an "entertainment spectacular" at the Pantages, featuring Pat Sheridan, renowned tuba virtuoso. Everyone is invited to come down and get your oompa on. Visit tacomaconcertband.org
  • Also coming up are the Christmas Revels, December 14 through 18 at the Rialto Theater. Appalachian theme. Tickets going fast.
  • Also pick up tickets to the Sing-along at the Pantages. This year it will be songs from the musical Grease. Immediately after the sing-along, you can enjoy the lighting of the tree directly out front.
  • So get downtown and enjoy the singing, the new Pacific Avenue streetscape, and maybe even Polar Plaza.

Councilmember Mello shared an upcoming event on how to keep your home more energy efficient and comfortable in cold weather. Sustainable Works hosted a free fair and expo at UPS on Wednesday evening.

Deputy Mayor Campbell announced a public meeting to be held Wednesday at the Portland Avenue Community Center regarding PCBs found in the stormwater system. The contaminants were traced back to leaking sealants from roadwork done circa 1975 on the Eastside. Although those sealants have begun to leak, the City has been able to trace the pollution to its source, and will remove them. 

Campbell also shared the memorial to be held for Pastor Ron Vignec this Thursday, November 21, at 3 pm at Urban Grace Church downtown. Pastor Ron was a tireless and passionate advocate for the Eastside. His life touched thousands all around Tacoma.

Mayor Strickland was 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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