Notes from Shoreline Council meeting July 13, 2020

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Pam Cross, reporter

Shoreline City Council Meeting
July 13, 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

COVID-19 Update

We remain in Phase 2 of Washington State’s Start Safe Plan. Because King County, as well as the State, is seeing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, Governor Inslee directs us to take the following preventative measures:
  • Wear a face covering when you are in public places, including outdoors when you may be unable to maintain six feet of distance.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands regularly.
  • Avoid large gatherings.
  • Get tested at the first sign of illness.
  • And remember, it’s still safest to stay at home.

In parks, basketball courts should not be used for scrimmages or games. They are available for use by an individual to shoot baskets. We have seen the courts used for multiple player games, and people removing the caution tape and closed signs.

Details at shorelinewa.gov/covid

Summer Events 2020 for July
  • Bingo - a new card each week
  • Yard art contest - enter by July 17
  • Virtual concert - Eric Ode July 21.
More information available at shorelinewa.gov/summer2020

Shoreline Climate Challenge

This fun and easy event is now through October 31, 2020. Learn about and implement actions to protect our environment. There are activities for youth and for renters.

You can create your household profile and view your footprint, create or join a team with friends and neighbors, or choose from a list of actions and earn points.There is special recognition for the team with the most points. Visit ShorelineClimateChallenge.org for information.

Shoreline Farmers Market

The market will be open on Saturdays through October 3rd at 155th and Westminster Way near the prior location. Current health and safety guidelines limit the number of shoppers at one time, mandate face coverings, prohibit pets except service animals, and encourage pre-orders. Additional information: shorelinefarmersmarket.org

Public Reminders

Planning Commission will hold a remote meeting on Thursday July 16th for a Public Hearing on Community Renewal Area (CRA) Sign Code Update.To participate in public comment, go to shorelinewa.gov/calendar

The following visitors from King County expressed their gratitude to the City of Shoreline for its support of the Assessment and Recovery Center (isolation site) that stood as a model for the nation: Councilmember Rod Dembowski, Leo Flor Director of Community and Human Services, and Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health.

Council Reports

Councilmember Roberts was one of the AWC (Association of Washington Cities) representatives at the annual conference. They amended their policy statement to “a balanced and bold approach” is essential to balance protecting the environment, allowing for expanding populations, and providing necessary economic and social opportunities. This shows strong support for strengthening the environmental section.

Councilmember Roberts was also the City’s representative for the PSRC (Puget Sound Regional Council) annual meeting where they re-elected their officers and adopted maintaining current dues.

Councilmember Robertson. PSRC Economic Development District Board updated strategic plan “Amazing Place” for 2022. Every aspect is looked at through a COVID-19 filter. One discussion focused on the need for universal broadband for such things as remote work, tele-health, and remote learning. A regional approach is necessary.

The North King County Shelter Task Force had their first meeting. They established the goal of going beyond just providing a shelter to providing services to get residents into permanent housing. There is a King County Commerce grant of $11M over 3 years, but because it is for the entire county, it won’t go too far. Colleen Kelly, Shoreline's Community Services Manager, will be getting a proposal together since the application is due before the next scheduled Task Force meeting.

Proclamation 
(Mayor Hall mentioned that Council rules provide for two different kinds of Proclamations. Some are calendared and noted in the Agenda, others are made by the the Mayor and mentioned for transparency.) 

September 2020 is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international awareness month to raise support, funding and awareness of childhood cancers and the impact for sufferers and families of sufferers of childhood cancer.

Public Comment

Dan Adams commented about the pending closure of Shoreline Pool. He would like to know the actual technical reasons for the decision to not repair the pool.

Approval of the Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

The Consent Calendar approved unanimously by roll call vote.

Action Item 8(a) Adoption of Ordinance No. 890 - Amending Shoreline Municipal Code Chapter 2.60 Purchasing

Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director, gave the staff report

Last discussed at the Council’s June 15, 2020 meeting, monetary limits related to services, materials, supplies, and equipment have not been updated to reflect a changing economy. In addition, several “housekeeping” amendments are needed to reflect current practices and to provide clarity and consistency. The City is expending significant effort for what have become relatively small contracts. It should also be noted that these contracts are being awarded to projects or programs that already have an approved budget.

The purpose of this discussion is to present staff’s response to questions raised at the June 15th meeting.

The reasons for increasing thresholds include inflation, increased opportunities and competition for smaller businesses on these smaller contracts, and time savings resulting in faster project delivery.

Staff can develop a Council Contract Report in the upgraded system in 2021 so Councilmembers are aware of the activity.

DISCUSSION

Councilmembers have faith in staff to make these decisions and see no need for micromanaging the process. There is Council oversight at the appropriate level.

VOTE

Ordinance approved by 6-1 vote with Deputy Mayor Scully opposed.


Action Item 8(b) Adoption of Resolution No. 462 – Updating the Employee Handbook Furlough and Layoff Policy

Don Moritz, Human Resources Director, provided the staff report

The work environment has changed dramatically since the policies were written 2011. In order to maintain a balanced budget, and with minimal impact to City operations and employees, policies are needed to provide flexibility to respond to rapidly changing external forces.

COVID-19 has highlighted this need for policy changes to the layoff policy, strengthening management’s right to implement a reduction in force. These proposed changes affirm and clarify due process rights for employees who are impacted by a layoff. A section defining furlough and outlining its impact and application is also proposed.

At the June 12 the meeting, Council requested that staff prepare options for changes in severance pay and information about the policies of other cities.

(1) The current severance package provides 4 weeks of pay and a cash-out of 10% of accrued sick leave, regardless of years of service.

(2) Proposed graduated benefits based on years of service


(3) An alternative provides 2 weeks of salary for every 5 years of service up to a maximum of 10 weeks.

The current estimated costs of these three packages based on current staffing
  1. Current 4 weeks without years of services: $25,554
  2. 2-12 weeks depending on years of service: $41,590
  3. 2-10 weeks depending on years of service: $37,793
Basing severance on years of service rewards commitment to the organization as demonstrated by those years of service while recognizing the difficulty in obtaining a new job at an older age with several years at one employer.

The City wants to be recognized as fair and supportive of employees. At the same time, the Council must be a good steward of taxpayer dollars

DISCUSSION

Motion and second to adopt the Resolution, but amended to delete changes to severance (leaving severance at current rate of 4 weeks regardless of years of service).

It isn’t always true that newer employees can find a job in 2 weeks or that it’s more difficult for longer term employees. Two weeks doesn’t seem adequate after 4 years experience and possible additional education or training, and yet 4 weeks seems like a lot for someone who’s only been there a year. Long-term employees might receive a higher salary so their total severance package could be larger. Or a 20 year employee might possibly be at a lower pay grade so their compensation would not be higher.

Shoreline would be the only city offering this much severance based on years of service. Layoffs would be a last resort so it is likely large severance packages would be too costly for the City budget.

Is it typical to base employment practices based on a person’s age. Reply: No. There are some based on tenure, not on age.

Other jurisdictions:
  • How many pay more than 1 month severance for involuntary layoff. Reply: only one: Marysville pays a flat $5,000. None pays 3 months.
  • Does any local city/county provide severance salary for more than 1 month? Reply: no
  • Did staff consult with the MRSC (Municipal Research Services Center) for their advice? Reply: no

The MRSC does not recommend severance pay. As a public entity, offering severance is not in the best interests of the entity. This is the public’s money, not the City’s. With costs associated with the existing pool, COVID expenses, and possible elimination of programs, should we be increasing layoff costs? Layoffs are hard. Unemployment doesn’t replace a full salary, but the City pays 100% of the unemployment tax. This program should be utilized by laid off workers.

The US Government severance package provides one week of pay for each full year of creditable service through 10 years; and two weeks of pay for each full year of creditable service beyond 10 years. There is also an age adjustment allowance for those over 40 years of age.

Is a severance package useful in recruiting employees? Reply: that is certainly not the intent. It is not used as recruiting tool. (“We offer great severance in case you ever get laid off!”) However, potential employees do look at the entire package of benefits, financial security and get an impression of how the employer treats its employees.

VOTE: on the amendment retaining 4 weeks severance

The motion fails by a vote of 2-5, with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor voting affirmative.

Motion and second to adopt the Resolution, but amended to the alternative providing 2 weeks of salary for every 5 years of service up to a maximum of 10 weeks (instead of 12).

The cost is still high, but employee morale suffers without a severance package.

Will there be an employee satisfaction survey this year? Reply: yes, in August.

Regarding current length of service, is it typical that most (60%) employees have been there 5 years or less? Reply: it depends on the size of the organization and the room for advancement. Since Shoreline is smaller with less advancement opportunities as a result, more turnover is normal. Another consideration is the salary structure and how long it takes to get to the top of the salary range. With the City’s growth and more opportunities, employee retention will be better. But that could take a long time. In the meantime, the number of employees qualifying for the most weeks of severance is reduced.

VOTE: on the amendment retaining years of service but changing to maximum 10 weeks

Motion passes 4-3 with Councilmembers McGlashan, Roberts, and Mayor Hall voting in the minority.

VOTE: on the Resolution main motion “as amended”

Resolution, as amended, passes 6-1 with Mayor Hall dissenting.


Study Item 9(a) Discussion of COVID-19 Pandemic Projected City Budget Impact Update

Staff report provided by Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director, and Rick Kirkwood, Budget Supervisor

On April 20, 2020, staff presented Council with an initial estimate of the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City’s budget. The scenarios presented in April showed a $2.4M to $5.6M projected range of reduced revenue in 2020 with uncertainty about the depth of a recession and length of the recovery.



Current estimates anticipate the impact of COVID-19 to result in a $6.2M shortfall in the 2020 operating budget and a $3.7M shortfall in the 2021-2022 operating budget. This does not include use of the Revenue Stabilization Fund.

The Revenue Stabilization Fund was created in late 2007 as an outcome of the revised reserve policy adopted by the City Council earlier in 2007. The Revenue Stabilization Fund will accumulate a reserve equal to thirty percent (30%) of annual economically sensitive revenues within the City’s operating budget to cover revenue shortfalls resulting from unexpected economic changes or recessionary periods. (from Shoreline website)

This discussion provides Council an opportunity to: (i) discuss the City Manager’s recommendation to address the 2020 revenue shortfall; (ii) respond to the City Manager’s recommendation that the City not reopen the Shoreline Pool and cease operating the facility as a City program which would reduce the shortfall for the 2021-2022 operating budget from $3.7M to $2M. The Revenue Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund) could be used to further address this shortfall. And (iii) discuss other issues related to early formation of the 2021-2022 biennial budget.

Other options for pool:

The Shoreline School District will be discussing the possibility of taking over operations during their Board meeting in July; other organizations may also be interested. Staff will continue to evaluate options for transferring operations to another agency/organization.

Questions for discussion
  • Should the City cease operating the Shoreline Pool?
  • Should the City demolish the Pool in 2021 if another operator is not identified?
  • Should the City use the Revenue Stabilization Fund to address short-term revenue losses in 2021-2022?
DISCUSSION:

The figures presented include a 10% property tax delinquency rate, which is higher than normal. When would the delinquency be collected from the homeowner? Reply: when the property is sold or when the homeowner catches up. We do not accrue those taxes so the impact is on the year it is not paid.

Do these figures anticipate any additional support from the Federal Government? 
Reply: Any additional federal money would go to offset direct COVID-19 costs that were not anticipated in the budget.

These figures will be updated as additional information becomes available.

Have we used the Revenue Stabilization Fund before? 
Reply: no. We budgeted to use it, but it wasn’t necessary. If we use it now, it would likely only be used for short-term revenue shortfalls.

The Shoreline Pool has been a drain on resources for a very long time. But why are we in such a rush to spend $1M in 2021 to demolish the pool if we can’t find a viable alternative to operate it? And where would this money come from? 
Reply: it would be a one-time budget request.

But where would this money come from? 
Reply: it could be a capital budget. It could be money we have set aside for maintenance. Funding the demolition is an issue we would have to discuss.

But maybe we should wait before demolishing it. The cost is only $4,500. 
Reply: We can’t just let the pool sit. The cost to “mothball it” is $4,500 plus $150,000 each year in utilities and staffing to sustain the systems and the structure. Remember that the building is on property that belongs to the School District so that they have an interest.

The fact is the City has agonized over the funding and maintenance of this pool for at least the seven years. The reality is that this pool is past its useful life. Whether or not the community decides to move forward with a new pool now or later, it is unrelated to the decision to demolish the old pool. And since COVID-19 is not going away this summer, and may in fact still be here months from now, it would not be cost effective to try to keep it open on a limited use basis.

We are fortunate to have the Revenue Stabilization Fund but its intended use is for short-term revenue loss rather than for an extended period of time. If used for all of the COVID-19 fallout, the fund will eventually be exhausted.


Study Item 9(b) Discussion of the 175th Corridor Project

The staff report was provided by Tricia Juhnke, City Engineer and Leif Johansen, Capital Project Manager

Staff presented a brief project update to Council, including a summary of public outreach and development of design concepts.The 175th Street corridor is one of Shoreline’s most active east-west arterials. It connects the city’s busiest north-south roadways: State Route 99/Aurora Avenue N, I-5 and 15th Avenue NE.

This project has been ongoing since 2011 and is the first project where we will use the Transportation Impact Fees to partially fund it. We kicked off the design in 2019 followed by the first phase of outreach resulting in the development of concept plans. We are now in phase 2 of outreach to share those concept plans. The design concepts are outlined in the staff report.

There are two intersection concepts for Meridian and 175th. The first is revised traffic signage and the second is a two-lane roundabout. The use of a roundabout will improve safety and operations and has lower operating costs. However, it has a greater impact on Ronald Bog because more land is required, and it does not tie into the new sidewalks at the elementary school. Those sidewalks would have to be demolished and redesigned.



Current Budget and funding:

The project is currently funded through the design phase by approx. $3.5M WSDOT Surface Transportation Program and approximately $500,000 in Transportation Impact Fees (TIF). An additional $4M TIF is available for property acquisition and match for grants.

Public Outreach schedule:
  • Virtual meetings with impacted property owners is ongoing
  • Online open house is now available: July 6 - August 10
  • Public meeting webinar: July 29 6PM - 7PM
  • Virtual stakeholder meetings will be scheduled in August
Information and survey: https://175corridor.participate.online/

The project schedule stretches beyond 2025.



DISCUSSION

These are preliminary designs so discussion will be more salient once outreach has been conducted.


Study Item 9 (c) Discussion of Ordinance No. 892 – Amending Shoreline Municipal Code Chapter 13.12, Floodplain Management

Andrew Bauer, Senior Planner made the presentation

Regulations and flood maps are used to manage development within the floodplain. The floodplain maps are routinely updated. The last update was in 2012. New maps are coming out August 19th.



Amending the floodplain management regulations including use of the new maps will ensure the City remains a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), allowing residents and businesses to purchase flood insurance. There are about 110 affected properties in Shoreline. (Puget Sound shoreline, Ronald Bog, Thornton Creek watershed, and Boeing Creek). Property owners in these floodplains were contacted in April and May, and there is a planned notice in July/August to inform the stakeholders of the new maps.

DISCUSSION

Are tsunamis covered by the NFIP? 
Reply: no

Is sea level rise considered in their modeling? 
Reply: no. They are limited to the use of historical data.

Ordinance to come back on Consent calendar.

Meeting adjourned.




1 comments:

Anonymous,  July 16, 2020 at 8:24 AM  

The graph that intends to show the impact of COVID also demonstrates that the budget before COVID would result in deficit spending.

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.

ShorelineAreaNews.com
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the FeedBurner email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP