Notes from Shoreline council meeting Nov 18, 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Shoreline City Hall
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Shoreline City Council Meeting
November 18, 2019
Notes by Pam Cross

Mayor Hall called the meeting to order at 7:00pm

Deputy Mayor McConnell attended the meeting via phone.
Councilmember Roberts advised he will be present at about 7:30pm.

Report of the City Manager Debbie Tarry

Last Saturday volunteers celebrated Shoreline’s first Green Shoreline Day at Hamlin, Twin Ponds, and Richmond Beach Saltwater Parks. Thanks to all of the volunteers who spent the day planting nearly 300 trees and shrubs, and the cub scouts who moved 30 yards of dirt.

Last Saturday there was a full house at the Duwamish Heritage Event that celebrated and provided the history of the Duwamish. One of the speakers was Ken Workman, a member of the Duwamish Tribe. Workman is the great-great-great-great-grandson of Chief Seattle. The other speaker was Edie Loyer-Nelson, Duwamish Tribal Member and Shoreline resident. The audience also viewed Princess Angeline, a documentary about the daughter of Chief Seattle.

The Veterans’ Day Event on Monday, Nov 11 was very well attended. Most of the Councilmembers were there.

The Holiday Crafts Market will be Saturday, Nov 23 from 9am to 4pm at Spartan Recreation Center. This festive gallery of handcrafted treasures and treats created by juried artisans provides the perfect place to find gifts for everyone on your holiday list.

Public Reminders

The Planning and Community Development Department , including the Permits Center, will be closed on Wednesday, Nov 20 for a department retreat.

The Planning Commission will meet on Thursday, Nov 21 at 7:00pm in the City Hall Council Chamber. This will be the Public Hearing for the 2019 Comprehensive Plan Amendments - continued from the previous Oct 17 meeting.

Council Reports

Councilmember Chang attended a meeting with King County Metro to discuss the metro mobility framework that addresses things such as how to include technology, and how to feature equity in all of metro’s decisions. It’s not yet clear how it will be connected to metro’s service guidelines. Metro has select priority populations (people of color, low income, immigrants, refugees and the disabled). They will use the information from the Census to identify these populations.

They also discussed changes in service as a result of the passage of I-976. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

Councilmember Chang also attend the Puget Sound Regional Council Transit Board where there was a quick briefing on developing a regional public entity to align affordable housing. (not to be confused with the regional approach to homelessness attended by Councilmember Scully).

Mayor Hall attended the Seattle Film Summit in Renton partly to follow up on the City’s partnership with SCC and the Shoreline/LFP Arts Council to promote filmmaking in the area.

Public Comment

Melissa Irons spoke about the Planning Commission Hearing on Thursday, Nov 21. She reiterated that in addition to the IronsBC application, they provided everything that was requested, paid the fees, and are looking for a solution so they can continue to operate in Shoreline.

Bruce Amundson spoke on financing for public arts item 9(a). He stated Shoreline needs to stabilize financing in order to remove the extreme volatility of current funding, increase the overall funding to ensure the program continues, and have adequate staff to carry out the program. Right now there is only one half-time person and a full-time employee is needed.

Joseph Irons asked Council to approve the amendments to the Comprehensive Plan or find a solution that will allow IronsBC to continue operations.

Tom McCormick spoke against the proposed $6,000 charge for non-site specific Comprehensive Plan Amendments (item 8b). He supports Councilmember Roberts’ suggestion to eliminate that charge.

Tom Mailhot also spoke against the $6,000 charge. It’s not a way to raise money because this charge will essentially eliminate submissions for non-site specific Comprehensive Plan Amendments. He said he submitted about 30 proposals on Point Wells, and about 25 were accepted by Council. This fee would discourage citizen involvement in the Comprehensive Plan.

Additional public comment is available online.

The agenda was approved unanimously. (6-0) Councilmember Roberts had not arrived.
The Consent Calendar was adopted, without discussion, unanimously. (6-0).

Discussion/Action items

Action Item 8(a)Adoption of Ordinance No. 873 – Setting the 2020 Regular and Excess Property Tax Levies

Staff report by:
Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director
Rick Kirkwood, Budget and Tax Manager

Following the November 4th public hearing, the City Council asked staff for additional information and discussed potential changes to the proposed mid-biennium budget modification, including all proposed levies, taxes, fees, and rates. There were no proposed adjustments to proposed Ordinance No. 873, and Council directed staff to bring back the proposed ordinance for adoption at tonight’s meeting.

There was a brief review of the Nov 4th presentation. Shoreline is in the final years of its excess levy. 2006 General Obligation bonds for parks will retire in 2021. Although the fee schedules have generally increased, the tax rate should decrease to $1.19/1,000 assessed valuation.

There was no discussion.
Following a motion and second to adopt, Ordinance No. 873 passed unanimously 6-0

Councilmember Roberts had not yet arrived
Deputy Mayor McConnell voted over the phone connection.

Action Item 8(b) Adoption of Ordinance No. 872 – Amending the 2019-2020 Biennial Budget by Increasing Appropriations in Certain Funds

Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director
Rick Kirkwood, Budget and Tax Manager

This was previously discussed on October 21, followed by Public Hearings on November 4th.

The revenues have been adjusted to show the impact of I-976 i.e., removal of the vehicle license fees. There was a $20 fee for road maintenance and an additional $20 fee for sidewalk maintenance and repair. This results in a $1.66M annual revenue reduction for sidewalk repair and maintenance, and the annual road maintenance program. The impact of this won’t be felt until 2022 because there is some collected revenue. The short term recommended plan is to use 2019 collected revenue plus the planned General Fund contribution in order to get the 2020 one-time priority sidewalk jobs done.

For the road surface maintenance program, which was not new this year so there is accumulated funding available, use the collected balances plus grant funding which has been achieved to perform the planned work for 2020.

Council will have to evaluate program reductions and reallocation of revenue in 2020 for implementation in 2021. And it will need to be evaluated at every biennium until sustaining funding is identified.

Proposed Amendments

1. $7,700 to prepare a citywide mailer about the upcoming census
2. Eliminate non-site specific comprehensive plan development regulation $6,000 amendment fee

Staff also provided some options to reduce proposed amendments/budgeted items for a future I-976 response.

Motion and second to adopt Ordinance 872.

Discussion

Move and second to amend Ordinance 872 to increase General Fund appropriations by $7,700 to provide resources for a citywide mailer for the national census.

This census is important but its benefits are not widely known. It is important to get the word out that not only does it affect national funding but what kind of metro buses we will get, and sidewalks improvements. It affects how resources are distributed.

A general local mailing may not help. It’s confusing. Feds and county and others are already reaching out. Another piece of mail isn’t going to increase participation. There are community partners that seem to be planning some good work. It’s on the news, on Facebook, and TV. This may not be the best expenditure of our reduced dollars.

Do we have a sense of whether there is a better alternative to a mailing. No.

On the other hand, a citywide mailer can provide information on computers the City will have available to help. Mailers can advertise that in multiple languages

About $1,400 comes back for every person counted. So Shoreline would only need to have 6 additional people complete the census in order to break even.

Amend Ordinance 872 to increase General Fund appropriations by $7,700 to provide resources for a citywide mailer for the national census passes

5 to 2, with Councilmembers McGlashan and Scully dissenting. Councilmember Roberts is now present.

Move and second to strike the non-site specific Comprehensive Plan development regulation $6,000 amendment fee.

If Mr. McCormick’s emailed comments are correct, a $6,000 fee could generate $24,000 annual revenue, but public outreach is more important than this small amount of revenue. Most of the requested amendments are really good ones and show that a lot of time and research was put into a well thought-out idea.

How did we get to $6k? Tried to estimate general amount of staff time spent. There should be some compensation - maybe $3k? - to make it revenue neutral.
 
There is a motion to amend the amount to $3,000 but failing a second, the motion dies.

If we strike the fee now, maybe we should look at it again down the road to see if it’s needed to keep frivolous amendment requests out. It’s not a pattern yet, but we could have a nominal fee option available later. Maybe a processing fee, but if Council approves it as a good idea and puts it on the Docket, additional costs should be borne by the City.

Amend Ordinance 872 to increase General Fund appropriations by striking the non-site specific Comprehensive Plan development regulation $6,000 amendment fee passes unanimously 7-0.


The City Manager provided her recommendations regarding delay of any of the proposed 2019-2020 budget amendments, along with the identification of any other potential savings, that could be set aside until such time as we have a better understanding of the outcomes to the legal challenges to I-976, any legislative action that would provide municipalities options to replace the revenues lost as a result of the passage of I-976, as well as an opportunity to have Council discussion regarding the program priorities for the City’s road surface maintenance and sidewalk rehabilitation programs.

(this list can be found in the Comments for the Agenda, addressed to City Council on November 15th).

Discussion

Councilmembers want to move on some of the City Manager’s recommendations, but not all of them. Sidewalks and roads are important. We are finally making progress and shouldn’t backslide on this. 

What about snow response? Although it was difficult, Shoreline did provide an admirable response to “snowmaggedon” last year. Rather than purchase more equipment, maybe we can work out an agreement with an entity like Recology so they can use their trucks. And rather than setting aside funds to add an additional police officer, it would be better to get the funding after an officer is hired. 

The maintenance facility needs to be set aside. It is time to stop making things better and taking care of what we already have.

In 2008 and 2010 the economy tanked so the City put together a citizens financial advisory committee to determine how to deal with funding gaps. These gaps were a result of 20 years of not having economic development success so we weren’t growing our tax base, as well as Tim Eyman’s earlier $30 car tab initiative and capping property tax increases to 1% per year. Those created structural gaps in funding that placed us into a really deep hole. In 2010 we went to the voters for a property tax levy lid lift that was substantial that first year. It then became a Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase. We had to make up millions of dollars. It’s very hard to find a lot of money in a city budget.

Tonight we are talking about $8,000.

When you try to find $1.66M per year every year, it’s harder than anything we’ve had to do since the great recession. We need to take care of our existing assets like maintaining roads. If we maintain our roads we can do that cost effectively. But if you wait 5 years, it’s not just the surface but the base that breaks down resulting in much greater cost.

We can also come back in March or April to reconsider.

We don’t know how the lawsuit will go. What is the implication if the challenge succeeds? Do we still have the $20 dollar limitation? So if it succeeds, we can do only $20 then have to wait a couple of years before we can do another $20? The Department of Licensing has already put out a memo that they aren’t going to collect these fees pending a decision. Rather than zeroing it out in our budget, we should leave it in there even though it won’t be collecting anything so we can go right back up to $40. We have an ordinance to impose those fees and we won’t be rescinding the ordinance so that would allow us to return to $40 without changing the budget.

New expenditures. I-976 is still an issue. Maybe we have to make further cuts next year. We have tough decisions to make ahead.

Another new issue is the boiler at the pool. Will this be a major expense? There is a leak in the boiler. A welder will be at the pool this Thursday to weld it. We might lose one day operations. But the question is, why is a 6 year old boiler leaking? It is past the warranty of course...

Snow. We did a great job last year under terrible conditions, but if we purchase snow equipment now, what if we don’t have any measurable snow? This might be the one expenditure to remove. Besides, the equipment may not arrive before the snow does.

The City Manager is not now recommending the delays of any of these expenditures. She thinks we can get through 2020 without implementing them. But if we have to for 2021, this is the list she would recommend. Even if Council approves, she wouldn’t spend that money right away. A few things will happen regardless but spending can be held back.

Trusting the city manager is important to spend money responsibly. Situations change. No need to take action right now instead putting our trust in the city manager.

I-976. Any idea about legal challenges? Nope.

City manager has done an excellent job. But council needs to support the manager’s decision. Can’t leave her out to dry if she decides against snow equipment and then we have a lot of snow.

If we say don’t spend money on this snow removal equipment - our expectation is that the manager and staff will implement that. It’s not about trust but who is accountable for the city budget.

We can
  • Remove everything from the budget.
  • Amend the budget multiple times a year
  • Put them all in and kick them out item to item
  • Put everything on hold until we know more how 976 is going.
Ok. Now what?

Motion and second to postpone decisions to Nov 25 meeting, but for staff to look at city manager’s list. Do that list leaving off snow equipment.

No additional discussion


Passed. Unanimously of this discussion as amended thus far.

This will be a continued discussion of items we have not yet voted on.Will take the rest of this on Nov 25.


Discussion Item 9(a) Discussing Ordinance No. 874 - Amending Shoreline Municipal Code Section 3.35.150 – Establishing the Municipal Arts Fund and Providing for Funding from 1% of Capital Improvement Plan Funding for Certain Capital Improvement Plan Projects

Staff report by Eric Friedli, PRCS Director

Each year, funds are utilized from the Municipal Arts Fund (MAF) to support implementation of the Public Art Plan. Based on the MAF expenditures and the current 1% contribution from qualifying capital projects, the Municipal Arts Fund is expected to be depleted in 2022 or earlier if capital projects are delayed or canceled. More money is taken out of the MAF each year than is contributed, resulting in a declining balance. Staff recommends amending SMC 3.35.150 to redefine funding for the Municipal Art Fund and the City’s Public Art Program by expanding and clarifying the list of City capital projects that provide a 1% contribution to the MAF or to the Public Art Program.

The purpose of the amendment is to: provide more stable revenue for the Municipal Arts Fund; provide a higher level of funding for the Public Art Program; and make the implementation of the MAF Ordinance more clear, efficient and less subjective.



Funding has been a continual challenge and will be depleted in 2022. Collections are far below projected. Research shows how others use some part of % of CIP.

If changes are adopted, staff would develop the necessary accounting procedures to implement the revised SMC3.35.150. Review the public art policy and plan to ensure consistency with the revised SMC.

Incorporate changes as necessary into 2021-2022 budget

Park board wants 50cents per capita plus full-time employee

Discussion

Expansion of eligible projects definitely needed

The contractor includes this as a soft cost.

1% was used to pay staff instead of to the arts. Needs to all go to the arts.

Some of those projects are on the chopping block right now.

This is a hard decision to make right now because of the items we’ve been talking about cutting. Why make them more expensive when we are trying to cut.

Need to look for private partnerships of philanthropy or business interests

Builders provide art at their own place

Rather see expanded arts project as part of parks and keep 1% for art at the facilities. Need to revamp how we fund art.

Public art is very important. But this is a terrible time to have this conversation. This should be postponed until the larger budget is discussed instead of a piecemeal approach.

We need more money and it needs to be at the site.


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