City of Tacoma News: Tacoma City Council

Tacoma City Council
Study Session
Noon, Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Room 16
Tacoma Municipal Building North
728 St. Helens Ave.

Labor Relations 101
City Council members will hear about the ins and outs of working with unions when the Human Resources Department provides Labor Relations 101 training. The presentation by Bruce Schroeder, Summit Law Group and Richard Sokolowski, RJS & Associates will cover basic labor relations concepts such as mandatory subjects of bargaining, negotiations process and what happens when negotiations are unsuccessful.

Tacoma City Council
Regular Meeting
5 p.m., Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Council Chambers
Tacoma Municipal Building
747 Market St.

Streetscape improvements
The City Council is scheduled to vote on accepting a $1.4 million grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation for Downtown streetscape and LINK Light Rail pedestrian improvements. The grant would provide $600,000 for streetscape improvements and $786,333 for LINK Light Rail pedestrian area improvements, including enhanced street lighting, sidewalks, crosswalks and landscaping. If the council accepts the grant, the city would need to provide an additional $216,363 in matching funds. The city addressed both downtown streetscape and light rail improvements in its Six-Year Comprehensive Transportation Program for 2004-2009. The council took public comment on the proposed ordinance April 13.

Tax breaks for developers
The City Council will consider granting multi-family housing limited property tax exemptions to three developers to support market-rate housing development. Separate resolutions would grant 10-year property tax exemptions to Charles R. Johnson, II, Cherry Orchard, LLC, and Pioneer Cay Developing, LLC. The tax incentive program is for developers of four or more units in any of Tacoma’s 14 mixed-use centers. The housing units are the only things that receive the property tax exemption. The land and any future improvements other than housing would get taxed at the regular rate. In just three more years, the city will begin to reap the benefits of the first exemptions granted in 1996. The projects would provide short-term employment for up to 135 residential construction workers. The council will take public comment before the scheduled vote on each resolution.

State loan for construction
If the City Council executes the Construction Loan Agreement with the Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, the city will soon receive a $10 million Public Trust Fund loan. The city will use the funds for street and bridge rehabilitation, sidewalks, lighting, traffic signals, bicycle lanes and landscaping, as well as for new construction projects. Specific projects include construction of Pacific Plaza; improvements to the East 34th, East L and Proctor street bridges; and numerous street and alley improvements through the Local Improvement District process. The city must provide a 15-percent match-$1.5 million-that would come from already budgeted funds allocated in the Six-Year Comprehensive Street Program. The 20-year loan from the state carries an interest rate of 0.5 percent. The council will take public comment on the proposed ordinance and expects to vote April 27.