City of Tacoma News

1. Council to consider power rate increase 2. Ordinance could allow Click! Network to raise rates 3. City may extend...

1. Council to consider power rate increase

The City Council will consider allowing Tacoma Power to raise power rates during the first reading of an ordinance March 15. 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. The council will schedule a vote on this ordinance at a future date.

2. Ordinance could allow Click! Network to raise rates

City Council members will hear the first reading of an ordinance March 15 that would authorize the 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. The council will schedule a vote on this ordinance at a future date.

3. City may extend agreement with investment firm

The City Council is scheduled to vote March 15 on authorizing the Board of Administration of the Tacoma Employes’ Retirement System (TERS) to extend an investment management agreement with Metropolitan West Asset Management, LLC, until March 2008. If approved, the agreement would provide Metropolitan West with an estimated fee of more than $582,500, for a cumulative total of $1,747,500 for investment management services from April 1, 2005 through March 31, 2008. TERS earned a 15.6 percent return for calendar year 2004. Time will be set aside for public comment at the beginning of the council meeting.

4. Street vacations would create space for new 40-home development

Work could begin on a new 40-home development on Tacoma’s East Side if the City Council approves vacating a portion of East 50th Street and East E Street in an ordinance on March 15. The new single-family homes would be built within the preliminary plat entitled “Timothy Meadows.”

5. Affordable housing levy, retirement contract lead study session

At the March 15 study session City Council members will return to consideration of a proposed Affordable Housing Levy that could go to the voters later this year. The council will also hear details of a proposed retirement contract renewal with Metropolitan West Asset Management. 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.

6. $50,000 available for surface water projects in Tacoma

Individuals or groups concerned about water quality in Tacoma may apply for a City of Tacoma grant to help educate residents, prevent pollution, and protect and restore surface water resources.

In its third year, the City’s Make a Splash grant program is open to projects within Tacoma city limits. Individual grants can be up to $2,500. The program, which will grant up to $50,000 total, is supported by the City’s surface water utility rates.

To date, Make a Splash grants have funded 35 environmental activities such as rain barrel installation, science day camps and habitat restoration.
For more information or to download an application, visit http://www.cityoftacoma.org/makeasplash, or contact Christy Strand, (253) 502-2105. Applications must be postmarked by May 16. Recipients will be notified in June.

7. $750,000 grant will help overhaul Tacoma Fire fireboat

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently notified the Tacoma Fire Department that it will receive a $750,000 grant to refit one of the department’s aged fireboats, which protect about 44 miles of shoreline and more than 11 square miles of water.

“Our fireboats are vital in protecting our harbor and waterfront, especially considering homeland security issues,” said Tacoma Fire Chief Eileen Lewis. “This grant is a significant benefit to the City.”

The grant funding was obtained from DHS’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which receives grant applications from fire departments across the nation. Under this matching grant, DHS will supply the maximum allowable funds of $750,000 and the department will provide a cash match of $350,000 towards this project.

Recent performance audits by Buracker and Associates and Tri-Data Corporation highlighted the need for at least one reliable fireboat. Both of the City’s fireboats are more than 20 years old and in need of major overhaul.

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