Notes from Shoreline City Council meeting Oct 22

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Seated, left Deputy Mayor Jesse Salomon, Mayor Will Hall
Standing, from left, Doris McConnell, Chris Roberts, Keith Scully,
Keith McGlashan, Susan Chang

City Council Meeting 12/22/2018
By Pam Cross

Deputy Mayor Jesse Salomon called the meeting to order at 7:00pm. Mayor Hall was excused by the Council for personal business.

Presentation of City Manager Debbie Tarry 
  • Hamlin Halloween Haunt Friday 10/19 had the largest attendance on record
  • As part of the Cultural Conversation, there is a Youth and Law Enforcement discussion at City Hall 10/23 6:30-8:00pm. All are welcome to attend. Dinner provided.
  • The 185th Corridor Project is having a drop-in event - stop by and speak to Staff at Spartan Recreation Center 10/23 1:00-3:00pm
  • The 185th Corridor Project is also having an Open house 10/25 6:00-8:00pm at Shoreline City Hall Council Chambers. The presentation will begin at 6:30.
  • The Parks Funding Advisory Committee will meet 10/24 at 7:00pm in Council Chambers
  • The PRCS/Tree Board will meet 10/25 at 7:00pm in Room 303 at City Hall 

There were no Council Reports. The Agenda and Consent Calendar were unanimously approved.
There were no Public Comments.

Action Items

8(a) Discussing the Proposed 2019-2020 Biennium Budget – Department PresentationsDiscussing the Proposed 2019-2020 Biennium Budget – Department Presentations

(Note: What follows is an abbreviated summary of the Staff report that covered some 150 pages of the Proposed Budget for 2019-2020 in just under an hour.)

Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director, introduced the topic and department speakers.

She began by describing the basic layout of the sections (summary, staffing, 2018 goals and status, 2019-2020 goals, budget, budget changes, performance measures). The City has a commitment to innovation and sustainability and the budget is designed to demonstrate this.
The departments were discussed individually:

City Council
Budgeted at 494,200
Sara Lane

The conversion from an annual budget to a biennial budget made it difficult to follow the numbers. Council asked to have this reframed for clarity and Staff is looking into it./pac

This slide provides an expenditure graph that shows 2015 and 2016 actual numbers, 2017-18 budgeted, 2017-18 projected and 2019-20 budgeted. 2017-2018 is a summary of 2017 actual numbers plus 2018 projected numbers.

This is useful to the financial accountant but is not helpful to Council members who want to see what is actually happening year to year. The expenditure slides all followed this format.

City Manager’s Office 
Budgeted at 8,999,708
John Norris, Assistant City Manager

There are seven programs within the City Manager’s Office.

There is a $50k overall increase due to implementation of the City’s continuous improvement initiative and efforts. The CERT program was moved here from the Community Services department (that budget will decrease by $50k so this is considered a “budget neutral” change). There is a request to add $70k for translation services to expand and enhance City outreach efforts.

Council had a question regarding the CERT 24-hour answering service. It was explained that the current system uses a telephone-pager system that requires the CERT members to call in to get the number of the caller and obtain details. Moving to an answering service will continue to provide 24-hour service but in a better and more efficient way.

The Council asked if they are removing ongoing efforts for Salmon Safe Certification. No, the elimination of that fee is a result of the completion of the initial application, and that money is no longer required at this stage in the process.

Finally, the number of unique hits on the Surprised by Shoreline site are flat yet there are ongoing resources to maintain the site to keep it accurate and up to date. If no one is visiting it, should we continue to invest in it? Nate Daum, Economic Development Manager, stated this is currently under review and he will get back to Council.

Human Resources
Budgeted at 1,011,660

There were no significant changes. A 2% discount was earned on the health insurance premium. Council had no questions.

Community Services
Budgeted at 2,554,157
Rob Beem

Contracted services is the largest part of their budget. This department is responsible for Human Services, Neighborhoods, the Diversity and Inclusion program, and Emergency Management Planning. (CRT was moved from here to the City Manager’s Office). Next year they need to update the federally mandated comprehensive emergency management plan last updated 3.5 yrs ago (emergency preparedness plan includes two pilot programs with one time charges $18k for plan update and 24k for expanded outreach

Note: a “one-time charge” is for the two year term. So $18k is 9k/year and the full amount can be used in either or both years.

City Attorney
Budgeted at 1,625,871
Margaret King, City Attorney

No changes to budget so open for questions. Last year there was an increase of about $200k needed for outside counsel. Is this going to be the same? Some confusion over numbers. She will get the information and respond.

Police Department
Chief Shawn Ledford
Budgeted 25,406,471

In addition to the King County Sheriff’s officers assigned full time to Shoreline, we have support from the Sheriff’s Department (major crimes, dispatch), and King County (IT support), and Kenmore credit for support. Changes in 2018 were the addition of a K-9 unit, the police department move into city hall, and the purchase of electric motorcycles for enhanced park patrol. Adding an officer in 2020 will make us one officer closer to our goal of 1 officer per 1,000 population. The last addition prior to the K-9 officer was in 2007.(From the Staff report: “The addition of two additional officers in 2019 would increase the ratio to 0.99 per 1,000 residents. However, given the current financial forecast, the City Manager is proposing to add one officer in 2020.”)

There has been a steady increase in dispatch calls. When there is an increase in workload, there is an increase in response time. In addition, policing has changed. A lot of the things police are required to do are for quality of life issues such as homelessness and mental health matters. There is a high expectation for police to solve property crimes, enforce traffic laws, and provide high neighborhood visibility.

Responding to Council: When comparing our ratio of officers to population, other cities may include non commissioned staff such IT support, dispatchers and human resource personnel. We don’t include non commissioned staff, and we don’t include support from the sheriff’s office. Obviously this is not an apples to apples comparison. Other measures such as number of calls do not take into account travel time to booking facilities, and the total number of dispatch calls. So this may be not a good measure of adequate staffing compared to neighboring cities, but at this time it is the best measure we have, and the information is easily accessible.

Criminal Justice
Budgeted 6,266,118
Christina Arcidy, CMO Management Analyst

All operations are contracted out: jail, public defender, municipal court
No questions

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services
Budget 15,243,886
Eric Friedli, PRCS Director

Some of the one-time budget changes for 2019-20 are:
  • Public Art Funding Analysis $5k 
  • CAPRA Accreditation $18,650 with $300 ongoing (goal set as part of PROS Plan). The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) accredits park and recreation agencies for excellence in operation and service.
  • Green City Partnership Launch $30k (Partner Forterra) assessment of urban forest and prioritize how to restore and maintain the urban forest. Green City partners with several cities in Western Washington.
  • One-time Deep cleaning of permeable pavement $10.2k (power washing of City Hall property and walkways in several parks). Council would like a more detailed breakdown to determine cost per unit.
  • New 12-passenger van $39.4k
  • ADA Parks assessment and Transition Plant $170k
  • Contract landscaping service $427,800 (services brought in-house). In reply to Council question: The employees are actually picked up under Public Works but this reflects the cost associated with “Parks.”
  • Landscaping equipment costs $199,500 Ongoing

Extra help was converted to regular part-time for Specialized Recreation program. The extra help positions have been ongoing for several years but providing benefits makes conversion to regular employees more expensive. Some of this cost will be offset by increased revenue. Closure of some soccer fields and closed City pool have reduced revenues in the past.

Council Comment: There is an ongoing need to keep services low because we need to avoid charging user fees. User fees aren’t a good idea because if you can’t afford a private facility, you won’t be able to afford a city facility fee. Some people most in need of these services will be unable to access them. Appreciate PRCS’s efforts to keep the costs of accessing these services low.

Planning Community Development
Budget 6,650,409
Rachael Markle, Director

This department includes Permit Services, City Planning, and Building and Inspections. In addition to permits, they also focus on the long range planning such as the annual and major updates to the Comprehensive Plan. Additionally they provide such services as archiving, contracting, and responding to public disclosure requests.

There are a few changes in 2019-20. The Code Enforcement Program officer is shifted to the City Manager’s Office, and there are one time charges for
  • funding to update the financial feasibility analysis of participating in the LCLIP (Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure Program)
  • funding to assist with the research and presentation of information into a variety of additional housing choices such as cottage homes, tiny homes, expanded use of ADUs, air bnb’s, and vacation rental by owner. The outcome may be new or updated housing regulations.
  • funding to create design standards specifically for townhomes. This would include best regulatory practices, create robust community outreach and plan, and obtain developer and community feedback. 

There is an ongoing request to hire a part time person to assist with the backlog of permits. Due to the acquisition of Ronald Wastewater, wastewater permitting has increased the number and the complexity of permit processing. Permit revenue is projected to continue to increase throughout 2020.

Responses to questions from Council:

Adding extra help to process permits is expected to be temporary. The permits are delayed due to the assumption of Ronald Sewer District. It will get easier to process these permits as the staff become more familiar with them. Also, this has been a period of peak development but it is generally agreed this trend will taper off in a couple of years. Someday permit applications will be submitted online which will reduce time of intake.

The time spent for review of permits is expected to increase. Council would like to know how do we compare to neighboring cities in turnaround time. Staff does not know the answer and the information may not be published. Council wants to be able to say we can turnaround permits quickly in order to further encourage development here.

Administrative Services
Budget 16,525,698
Sara Lane, Director

This department oversees multiple support services from finance - including financial operations, statements, monitoring day to day performance, creating financial statements, budget and tax, B/O tax implementation - to information technology that supports all of the city applications from City devices to the public registering for parks and recreation activities, to managing the vehicle fleets and building facilities. One time requests:
  • support Strategic Technology Plan which in 2015 laid foundation for replacing aging infrastructure: applications and hardware. We need to stay current with our applications to take advantage of tools already invested in. This will improve service as well as operating more efficiently.
  • aerial photography (Councilmembers have detailed information in their “Council question matrix”)
  • extra help for fleet and facilities maintenance. Worker support during catch up of the backlog due to police at city hall building. Also recognize that during the summer their workload goes up so we may need someone to help with vacations and PTO. This would be considered low level extra help. First we need to determine what this need actually is.

Includes funding for non-programmatic expenses for all departments and includes such things as unemployment charges, vehicle replacement funds, agency memberships that are not specifically related to any workgroup. There were no questions.

The schedule for the remaining Budget and CIP Review follows.
  • October 29, 2018: Discussing department budgets and the CIP
  • November 5, 2018:
    • Public hearing and discussing the Proposed Budget and CIP
    • Discussing of final 2018 Budget Amendment
    • Public hearing and discussing the 2019-2020 property tax and revenue sources
  • November 19, 2018:
    • Public hearing and discussing the Proposed Budget and CIP
    • Adopting the 2019-Property Tax Levy,
    • Adopting the 2019-2020 Biennium Budget and the 2019-2024 CIP 

8(b) Discussing ordinance No. 843 - Extending the Expiration Period for the Transportation Impact Fee Exemption for Certain Business Categories

Tricia Juhnke, City Engineer
Nate Daum. City Economic Development Manager

This is a business tax exemption extension request. On May 7, 2018 Council checked in on business exemption of TIF (Transportation Impact Fee) that resulted in a request for a five-year extension. This is for the businesses that are currently exempt based on a list of classes by land use.

After some back and forth discussion among members of the Council, it was determined that it’s a fee (not a tax) on the developers of construction of a building for a new business in Shoreline. The list of classes is based on the land use codes because that’s the way businesses are assessed for their impact fees.The goal of exempting certain businesses from the fee is to attract those that want to locate here but maybe can’t afford it. The focus was on small individual businesses - not a bunch of chain stores. But there is no way to exempt just these small single location businesses. It’s legally impossible.

Are we missing out on this income?

Maybe we should review the report sooner that the end of the 5 year sunset. It is noted that the list of exempt businesses isn’t overwhelming. The actual list of exemptions was 9 thru 12/2017 and 3 more thru 9/2018 for a total of 12.

The City Attorney pointed out that whether renewed for 5 years with a sunset clause or kept in perpetuity, it can be brought before council to reconsider at any time if there appears to be a problem. The problem with a 5 year sunset clause is every time it comes up for an extension, there are new council members, and there is a long history of discussion to be reviewed.

Residents feel that business needs to start paying its fair share. Do neighboring cities offer exemptions? That is unknown. But this is just one fee exemption - businesses still pay other taxes (sales and property).

And we still want these small businesses - around the new zones too. Removing these exemptions would be another roadblock to business when we want economic development. It was suggested and agreed to proceed with a 2 year review of the policy.

It will come up as an Action item on the November 5th agenda.

At 8:45 the meeting was adjourned.


Anonymous,  October 26, 2018 at 12:42 AM  

Seriously! $30 to Forterra to "fix" a problem they helped create and lobbied for? You've GOT to be kidding!

Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP