City of Tacoma News

1. City considers agreement on Thea Foss development project

More than 200 new condominiums along with retail space and parking could be built on the western shores of the Thea Foss Waterway if the City Council approves an ordinance that will have its first reading March 22. The purchase and sale, development and environmental indemnity agreements for Thea Foss Waterway Site 5 would include a sales price of $30 per square foot, which would bring in an estimated $2.6 million from the developer, Thea Foss Holdings LLC (formerly named Nearon Enterprises). The development would include 212 condos, 12,280 square feet of retail space, a 4,677 square foot restaurant and roughly 346 parking spaces. The developer would also agree to complete the esplanade and sidewalk adjacent to the site and construct public restrooms. Proceeds from the sale are pledged for partial repayment of the Foss Waterway Development Authority’s $2.7 million loan from the City.

2. Code amendments would ban ‘sexual encounter establishments’

Businesses that fall under the definition of “sexual encounter establishment” would be banned in Tacoma if the City Council approves two ordinances that will have their first reading March 22. The first ordinance would amend the section of the Municipal Code relating to public safety and morals to prohibit “sexual encounter establishments” from operating in the City. The second ordinance would amend the tax and license portion of the Municipal Code by deleting language referring to the licensing of “sexual encounter establishments” that was added by the City Council last year. Time will be available for public comment at the beginning of the meeting. The council will schedule a vote on these ordinances at a future date.

3. Council to consider power rate increase

The City Council will consider allowing Tacoma Power to raise power rates during the final reading of an ordinance March 22. If approved, the ordinance would increase power rates beginning April 4, 2005. Tacoma Power is attempting to use $26.3 million from the rate increase to cover a portion of a projected revenue shortfall in excess of $45 million during the 24-month rate period from April 4, 2005 through March 31, 2007. The utility also plans to allocate $19 million from its cash reserves to help cover the shortfall. The main causes of the shortfall are implementation of a new license for the Cowlitz Hydroelectric Project, revenue financing of 50 percent of renewal and replacement capital, and power and transmission costs from the Bonneville Power Administration. Tacoma Power’s rate case assumes an average of a 5.2 percent system-wide electricity rate increase.

4. Ordinance could allow Click! Network to raise rates

City Council members will hear the final reading of an ordinance March 22 that would authorize Tacoma Power’s Click! Network to increase rates for its cable TV products and related services both inside and outside the City of Tacoma. The proposed rate increase is designed to generate more revenue for commercial telecommunication operations and to assist in recovering costs as represented in the 2005-2006 budget. Tacoma Power’s 2005-2006 budget assumes an average of a 5.3 percent rate increase for Click! Network cable TV services.

5. City may pay $471,432 for animal control services in 2005

The City Council is scheduled to vote March 22 on a resolution that would agree to pay the Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County $471,432 for domestic animal control services for 2005. Prior to 2004, the City had contracts with the Humane Society for 25 years. The one-year contract for 2005 represents a 2.5 percent increase over the 2004 contract. The Humane Society has notified the City that beginning in 2006 they will no longer provide animal control services. The City has a team studying how it will provide animal control services in 2006.

6. $83,102 grant would promote business development on East Side

The City Council will hear the first reading of an ordinance March 22 that would authorize accepting $83,102 from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration to promote business development on the east side of Tacoma, including the Portland Avenue Business District. The funds would be matched by the City and used to help identify barriers to business growth and to come up with solutions to the issues. The Tacoma Economic Development Department has budgeted in-kind and consultative services funds from its 2005-2006 budget to meet the match requirements.

7. Study session to cover Sound Transit update, housing plan

City Council members will hear an update on the progress Sound Transit is making in Tacoma and the region during the March 22 study session. The council will also hear a report on the Five-Year Consolidated Housing Plan that describes the city’s housing needs and how it will use federal funds to address those needs. The public may attend the noon study session in Room 16, Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St., but the Council will not take public comment. CityPost (Channel 85 on Click!, Channel 77 on Comcast) will air the audio portion of the session live.