Notes from Shoreline City Council meeting June 15, 2020

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Pam Cross, reporter


Shoreline City Council Meeting
June 15, 2020
Notes by Pam Cross

The meeting was held online using the Zoom platform.

Mayor Hall called the meeting to order at 7:00pm
All Councilmembers were present.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry

Shoreline Small Business Support Grant
  • Applications are open until noon, June 22nd, for grants up to $20,000.
  • Qualifying businesses must have fewer than 25 employees, have been in business since July 1, 2019, have their physical location in a Shoreline commercial zone, and have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19. More than thirty applications have already been received.
  • To apply or for additional information: shorelinewa.gov/business/covid-19-business-resources
Shoreline Farmers Market
  • The market will be open on Saturdays through October 3rd at 155th and Westminster Way near the prior location.
  • New health and safety guidelines limit the number of shoppers at one time, mandate face coverings, prohibit pets except service animals, and encourage pre-orders.
  • For additional information: shorelinefarmersmarket.org
King County is now in Phase 1.5 of the Safe Start Plan.
  • This allows outdoor gatherings of 5 people from outside the household, outdoor recreation per Phase 2, in-store retail, personal and professional services, pet grooming, restaurants at 25% capacity for indoor dining and 50% capacity for outdoor dining, and construction per Phase 2.
  • Details at shorelinewa.gov/covid
  • Today King County applied for Phase 2.
  • Please continue hand washing, practice social distancing, wear a face mask, and limit groups to 5 or fewer people from outside the household.
Public Reminders
  • The Planning Commission will meet remotely on Thursday, June 18th at 7:00pm. Discussion will be Ground Floor Commercial Development Code. You can sign up to provide comment at Planning Commission meeting June 18
Council Reports

Deputy Mayor Scully and Commissioner Chang had an informational meeting with County Councilmember Rod Dembowski about some potential County Charter amendments and other items relative to police accountability.

Public Comment

The following speakers supported the staff recommendation for funding of park improvements:
  • Bill Franklin, Shoreline
  • Janet Way, Shoreline
  • Katie Schielke, Shoreline, President of the Board of Kruckeberg Botanic Garden
Approval of the Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.
  • The Consent Calendar adopted unanimously by roll call vote.
Action Item 8(a)

Authorizing the City Manager to execute agreements for the purchase of two properties adjacent to Paramount Open Space Park, 14528 and 14534 10th Ave NE.

Nathan Daum, Economic Development Program Manager, gave the presentation

He presented a brief summary of the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space (PROS) Plan that was adopted in 2017. Its goal was to prepare for future demand resulting from the coming light rail and the increase in the number of Shoreline residents. Staff considered the City’s targeted level of service that created the desire for 95 additional acres citywide with 43 additional acres in the light rail station subareas. They targeted 5 acres of new park land by 2023 in order to expand dog walking and other trail-related activities, and improve the urban forest. Secured funding was provided by the City’s Park Impact Fees collected from developers.

Listed among the PROS Plan priorities was Paramount Open Space expansion. The proposed expansion would allow the preservation of existing trees, planting of new trees, expansion of wetlands, and improvements to streams. It also allows park access from 10th Ave NE. The City has the opportunity to acquire approximately one-third of an acre of property, in two parcels adjacent to the Paramount Open Space Park, willingly sold by the two property owners.

The total independently appraised cost for the two parcels is $1,114,000, of which the City has received $557,000 in King County Conservation Futures Tax (CFT) grant funding. The City would be required to fund the remaining $557,000. There is approximately $900,000 in collected Park Impact Fees (PIF) not yet allocated and available to support the purchase of the properties.

The City Council will also be determining whether the City should submit a ballot measure for voter consideration to fund park improvements and/or park property acquisition. If approved by voters, the proceeds from the bond measure could also be used toward the purchase of the properties.

Because this is the first time the proposal has appeared on the agenda, Mayor Hall opened for public comment. No comments except as seen under general comments.

Discussion

This is a great and exciting opportunity for a natural area that also provides access to the park from 10th Ave NE. There are two willing sellers and half of the cost is covered by CFT grant. This is the second time we have expanded this park in the past 26 years.

(Note: This was the topic of last week's Executive Session which may account for the limited discussion.)

Vote: proposal passed unanimously 7-0.

Study Items

Study Item 9(a) Discussing the Sound Transit Lynnwood Link Extension Project Update

Juniper Nammi, Light Rail Project Manager for City of Shoreline, introduced the speakers from Sound Transit
Randy Harlow, Executive Project Director, and
Erik Ashlie-Vinke, Government and Community Relations Manager

Significant progress has been made in the construction permitting process. Multiple permits are required for the land use, guideways (Guideways refer to the elevated transit structures), station and garage buildings. After that there will be plumbing/mechanical and fire system permits that will be secured by the contractors.

There are some remaining items for Council:
  • Modification of plat restrictions or covenants related to city-owned property
  • Additional street vacations and intergovernmental property transfers,
  • Property exchange agreements, and
  • Additional agreements or agreement amendments.

COVID-19 has had an impact on construction progress and the impacts are still being assessed. Construction slowed, additional health safety measures had to be implemented, and revenue projections have to be reviewed.

Early work in 2019 included finishing clearing and grubbing (Grubbing is defined as removing and disposing of all unwanted vegetative matter from underground, such as stumps, roots, buried logs, and other debris) and construction of access roads. Utility relocations have begun, and the Ronald Bog Mitigation is essentially complete.

Major construction 2020-2023 will include drilled shafts, columns, girders, walls, track-work, stations and garages, and systems installation.

We will be soon be seeing the NE 185th street undercrossing and 5th Ave NE realignment, the roundabout construction at NE 185h and 10th Ave NE, closing 195th St bridge, Ridgecrest Park parking lot construction, McAleer Creek environmental restoration, and continuing utility relocations. Work will continue drilling shafts, placing columns, placing walls, aerial hideaway girder placements.

Future activities include station and garage mechanical, electrical, plumbing and finish work, installation of track-work and systems, followed by hardscaping and landscaping.

Extensive Community Outreach makes it possible to respond to community complaints of dust and debris, speeding work vehicles, noise, vibration etc. There is a 24 hour construction hotline: 1-888-298-2395.

Discussion

How are they addressing graffiti on the sound walls?
Reply: the contractor has a dedicated work crew that removes graffiti, they have introduced a number of patrols to discourage it, and are talking with the Washington DOT for assistance in patrolling.

Council is excited at the progress and pleased with the name change of South Station to 148th from 145th.

9(b) Discussing Park Improvements and Property Acquisition Priorities and Funding

Eric Friedli, PRCS Department Director

Council goals for park improvements and land acquisition were discussed earlier tonight in Action Item 8(a). In 2018 the Council included improvements to four parks in the 2019 Proposition 1 general election ballot measure – Brugger’s Bog, Briarcrest (Hamlin Park), Richmond Highlands, and Hillwood. This decision followed months of parks study, stakeholder and community meetings, online comment forms, and a citizens advisory committee.

Strategic Action Initiative #3 of the PROS plan established the objective to “expand recreation facility opportunities by adding at least one community garden, two basketball courts, two multi-purpose/pickle-ball courts, one playground, one swing set, one paved loop path, one spray park, and one adventure playground.”

Strategic Action Initiative #7 established the objective to “ensure adequate parkland for future generations by adding five acres of new park land by 2023 and twenty additional acres by 2030.”

The priority park improvements part of the $103.6 million Proposition 1:


Proposition #1 received the majority of votes, but did not reach the 60% threshold in order to pass.

In May 2006, Shoreline voters approved a $18.8M parks and open space ballot measure. This was a 15-year measure, which provided funding for a number of park and recreational facility improvements and the acquisition of open space properties.

The final year of property tax collections for this bond measure is the end of 2021, as the bonds will be completely repaid by then.

Staff will be asking Council for guidance on next steps towards potentially placing a bond measure to replace parks funding before the voters. Several policy questions and four potential ballot measure alternatives were presented for discussion. One of the key issues for Council is to determine if the City should delay moving forward on a ballot measure until the impacts of COVID-19 are more fully understood on the local economy. This may mean delaying the issue until 2021.

Staff recommends a $38.5M bond measure to cover the priority park improvements, additional park amenities for other priority parks (James Keough and Kruckeberg Garden), park land acquisition, and improvements to acquired property. Staff prepared three alternatives and councilmembers had provided three additional alternatives prior to tonight.

Staff recommends the bond appear on the November 2020 General Election or the April 2021 Special Election ballot. There are arguments for each, such as the number of expected voters and other potential ballot measures.

Note: this meeting is for discussion only. No decision will be made tonight.

DISCUSSION

There is some fear that failure to purchase open space/parks land when it becomes available now, will result in the City’s loss of it to developers. Once the land is gone, it’s gone. Let’s get our current parks more functional before we start buying land for more. And we do have acquisitions in the pipeline.

We need to to highlight the biggest gaps in our current parks system and put our focus there. Some of our parks are fine. The priority parks were chosen after careful consideration and we should make sure they are all usable in the way people think about parks usage.

Kruckeberg Garden should be on the list because it’s really hard to navigate without ADA upgrades. We need parks that are walkable for times like this (COVID-19). Spending the money in the priority parks will spread it out in the community instead of congregating everyone in one park.

Removal of some of the bells and whistles in those priority parks would save money. We need to hunker down and watch our expenditures. But keeping park improvements cheap won’t make it a good proposal. We can’t nickel and dime the community by doing just a little now, then a little later, then a little more after that. We could reduce the monthly taxpayer bill by changing the term of the bond or increase the size of the bond.

If we try for the November General Election, we will be discussing this when everyone is still working from home. There is too much chaos in people's lives right now, and even April may be too soon. What if we have a resurgence of the virus in September or October? Recovery is taking a long time. The deadline to get the issue on the ballot in November, when we will presumably have more voters, is August 4, 2020. To get it on the April 2021 ballot, the deadline is February 9, 2021. 

Will we still be staying in our homes? Will unemployment have improved? Will the economy have rebounded? We don’t have enough information. Targeting the April ballot or later will give us time for things to settle down.

The parks board needs to be behind it in order to get this passed. Council wants to stay close to the parks department recommendation and as close as possible to the amount currently paid by residents. It’s important to remember that a $26M bond pales in comparison to the State tax for schools (not the School District charges), or the cost of Sound Transit.

Consensus:

Council is in favor of the April 2021 ballot or later. Most favor a $26M bond with some changes, or a slightly larger package for a term of 20 years or more.

Council asked staff go back to the parks board, and then bring it back to Council.

9(c) Discussion of Ordinance No. 890 - Amending Shoreline Municipal Code Chapter 2.60 Purchasing

Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director, gave the staff presentation

The City’s purchasing regulations, Shoreline Municipal Code (SMC) Chapter 2.60, was adopted in 2001, based on financial management policies that had been in place since the City’s incorporation. Since that time, while this chapter has been amended to reflect changes in statutory law and other housekeeping items, most recently on September 18, 2017, monetary limits related to services, materials, supplies, and equipment have not been updated to reflect a changing economy.

The highlights of the recommended increases to the threshold for the above:
  • Require RFP or RFQ (request for proposal or quotation) from $50,000 to $100,000
  • Require Council approval for services from $50,000 to $100,000
  • Require a submitted contract from $3,000 to $5,000
  • Require quotes on materials, supplies and equipment from $5,000 to 10,000
Additionally it adds an alternative process to award public works contracts as authorized by chapter 39.10 RCW, such as Job Order Contracting and Design/Build.

Proposed Ordinance No. 890 is scheduled to be brought back to Council for potential adoption on July 13, 2020.

DISCUSSION

There is always a concern about lack of transparency, but these changes will not decrease transparency. Instead it is a way to decrease cost by increasing efficiency. This is the first increase in about 20 years. It is not a huge increase and Council will still be involved in larger contract. Council has confidence in staff.

It makes sense to have some kind of increase. Was the amount of increase arbitrary? Council talked about it at the retreat so that may be where $100k came from. Are there a lot of contracts within the difference? Since this is unknown, we need a better case made for size of the increase. Reply: staff will research. There is a significant amount of time spent by staff to get ready to bring these items before Council, taking a minimum of 3 weeks. For public works this delay is a problem due to time sensitivity. The object is to save staff time and eliminate the 3 week delay. Public works projects are significantly higher and controlled by RCW.

How are vendors and services selected? How do we know we meet equity and other measures? Reply: it is a less formal procedure, but these requirements drive the level of competition, several quotes are compared, and they look for the best product at the best value. There is no requirement to prefer Shoreline based business, but it is their practice.

Could we adopt contract status reports that would give Council oversight without tying up the calendar?
Response: might be a challenge to provide the kind of detailed report wanted but they might be able to come up with something that will provide better reporting.

This will not come back on Consent due to some outstanding questions by Council. Scheduled to come back as an Action item July 13th.

Meeting adjourned.



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