City of Tacoma News: Tacoma City Council

Tacoma City Council
Study Session
Noon, Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Room 16
Tacoma Municipal Bldg. North
733 Market St.

Federal legislative update
Len Simon will give the City Council a report on the outlook for the upcoming 108th Congress and the city’s federal legislative agenda. U.S. Representative Adam Smith will attend and join the discussion. The public may attend the noon study session, but the council will not take comment.

Tacoma City Council
Regular Meeting
5 p.m., Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Council Chambers
Tacoma Municipal Building
747 Market St.

Annual compensation ordinance
The City Council will vote on an ordinance to amend the city’s compensation plan. The ordinance includes union negotiated increases and cost-of-living increases for unrepresented employees. The council may also consider market-rate adjustments as the result of a compensation survey including more than 100 unrepresented classifications. The council took comment Dec. 10.

Naming rights to enter next phase?
Will some of Tacoma’s public buildings get new names? The council will decide if the city will offer naming rights for the Tacoma Dome, the new Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center and Cheney Stadium. In February, the City Council voted to enter Tacoma into the name game when it approved a $58,000 contract to explore naming rights on several city facilities. Over the past 10 months, Cleveland, Ohio-based Superlative Group, Inc. has researched the value of the naming rights for city buildings and identified potential customers for those rights. Now, the council will consider the next phase of the contract. If the council approves the $50,000 agreement with Superlative Group, Inc., the company will begin marketing naming rights to potential customers identified during the first phase of the contract. The national naming rights company would also receive an 8 percent commission on the value of each naming rights contract it sells, plus reimbursable expenses up to $50,000 during the two-year contract period. The city may reject any naming rights proposals and the City Council must approve any naming rights agreements. Naming rights agreements would provide revenue for facility improvements and offset the cost of new construction. The council will take public testimony before voting.

Council may support FAST projects
The City Council will consider endorsing an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Phase I of the Freight Action Strategy (FAST), which aims to improve regional freight mobility along the Tacoma-Seattle-Everett corridor. The Washington State Department of Transportation and the Puget Sound Regional Council created the partnership in 1996, and the City Council authorized a MOU between the affected cities, counties, ports and railroads in 1999. The city is responsible for the design and construction of the D Street overpass, one of the FAST Phase I projects. If approved, the revised MOU will restate Council support of the collaborative efforts for FAST Phase I projects, as well as state support for Phase II projects. The city uses the endorsement to support its grant applications. The council will take public comment before voting.

2001-2002 budget cleanup proposals
The City Council will vote on additional final adjustments to the 2001-2002 Biennial Budget. Among other things, the amendment extends deadlines of approximately $3 million in various loans from Dec. 2002 to Dec. 31, 2004. The loans, from restricted funds, could not be used for general fund services such as police, fire or libraries. At the same meeting, Tacoma Public Utilities is seeking approval to amend its 2001-2002 budgets as follows:

Tacoma Power – from $629.4 million to $759.4 million to cover expenses incurred during the severe drought of 2000-2001, which reduced the utility’s ability to generate power at its hydroelectric projects and forced it to purchase power at prices that market manipulation drove to historic highs.

Tacoma Water – from $80.4 million to $90.4 million to cover a State Public Works Trust Fund loan for the Second Supply Project.

Information Systems – from $9.9 million to $10.2 million to pay expenses associated with the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. The council took public comment Dec. 10.

The City Council approved an amendment to the 2001-2002 Budget Oct. 29.

Fire department equipment funds
The Tacoma Fire Department may purchase $280,000 worth of incident response equipment that would enhance the police and the fire departments’ capacity to respond to terrorists events, if the City Council approves. The council will vote on a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that Fire would use to purchase specialized equipment for training for and responding to potential incidents involving terrorism or weapons of mass destruction. The money would help pay for personal protective equipment for law enforcement officers and firefighters, monitoring equipment for hazardous materials and bomb squad teams and decontamination equipment that would be used to assist hospitals with mass decontamination. The council took public comment Dec. 8.

Council may buy West End property
The West End Neighborhood Council has asked the City Council to buy a 1.29-acre parcel of property for $231,700 that could one day serve as a community center or park. The council will vote on the request. Funds for the parcel, near the southwest corner of North 37th and Pearl streets, would come from the West End’s portion of a 1997 bond issue created to help fund neighborhood improvements throughout Tacoma. The council will take public testimony before voting on the item, which was held over from the Dec. 10 meeting.

Council cancels meetings
The City Council has canceled both the Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 council meetings and study sessions in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Editor’s Note: There are no Pierce County Council meetings scheduled for Dec. 17 and Dec. 24.