Notes from Shoreline council meeting October 11, 2021

Friday, October 15, 2021

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
October 11, 2021

Notes by Pam Cross

Deputy Mayor Scully called the remote meeting to order at 7:00pm.

Mayor Hall was excused for personal reasons.

DM Scully announced that Mayor Hall declared Friday October 15, 2021 as Paper Tigers’ Day. Paper Tigers is a movie that was filmed in Shoreline and has received significant critical acclaim.

Approval of the Agenda
Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry


While case rates continue to slowly decline, due to the Delta variant, we are still at a level of very high transmission during this fifth wave of COVID-19 infections.

This Public Health order will also apply to Spartan Recreation Center.

It’s time to start thinking about winter

Join us for Orca Recovery Day

This week’s Shoreline Walk will be around Parkwood and Twin Ponds Park. October 16th at 10am
Go to the walks calendar for details

Please note that the following programs are completely full and no longer taking reservations:
  • Refract: The Seattle Glass Experience
  • Hamlin Halloween Haunt
Council Reports

Public Comment

Jackie Kurle, Shoreline
I encourage oversight and transparency regarding the operations of the Enhanced Shelter as well as communication to the public about any activities surrounding the shelter or neighborhoods that may be impacted by the shelter.

Kathleen Russell, Shoreline, Save Shoreline Trees and member of the Tree Preservation Code Team 
I’m speaking about item (f) on the consent calendar (DOWL, LLC $336,126 contract for the Design of the 5th Avenue NE between NE 165th Street and NE 175th Street Sidewalk Rehabilitation Project). I hope that DOWL can design sidewalks that will save the tall trees along 5th Ave NE

Approval of the Consent Calendar
Consent Calendar approved unanimously

8(a) Discussing Park Improvements and Property Acquisition Priorities and Funding

Presentation by Christina Arcidy, Management Analyst

Proposition 1, November 2019 failed by not reaching the required 60% “yes” votes, and Proposition 1, April 2021 failed to validate.

The purpose of tonight’s discussion is

1. Should the City move forward with the ballot measure to fund park improvements and land acquisitions? If so, when?

Considerations include what is in upcoming ballot measures, approval and validation requirements, and the election costs. In 2022 there are two Shoreline School District Levy renewals in February and the City’s potential Property Tax Levy Lid Lift in November. Traditionally the City and the School District do not place measures on the ballot at the same time, but the School District has not shared any concerns about this.

Approval and validation requirements: a bond measure requires a minimum 60% “yes” votes with at least 40% of the votes cast in the last general election. Special Elections average about 15,000 returned ballots. We will know the validation threshold after next month’s November General Election. We expect it to be lower than last year when the threshold was based on the record number of votes cast in the presidential election.

Staff expects estimated costs between $100,000 and $114,000.

Based on this information, staff recommends putting this measure on the February 2022 ballot.

2. What is the overall bond measure cost?

Staff considered inflation, possible alternative funding sources and impacts to property taxes.

Staff conducted an analysis to determine the impact of inflation on the previous bond measure, and determined if any adjustments needed to be made to land acquisition costs based on recent land purchases by the City. This resulted in an increase from $38.5m to $41.9m.

Staff is recommending a mix of funding to include the previously authorized bond amount of $38.5m over 20 years plus $3.4m from the City’s unreserved, unrestricted fund. Using this funding, the cost to a homeowner is shown here.


I’m very interested in getting a parks bond on the ballot. I like the option of mixed funding proposed by staff. $9/month is not that much compared to having access to green space. I support the February option because people move here for parks and schools. They go together.

I agree. We want to bring more people out to vote to make sure we validate, so schools plus parks is a good idea. A few people don’t want any increase in taxes but most people want our parks and open spaces. We’ve always had a healthy and conservative reserve. This would be good use of those funds for something that we have fallen behind on, and parks serve the entire community. We will still reserves.

I agree. It will be easier to explain to the voters that we’re going forward with the same package rather than reducing the improvements planned for the priority parks.

I disagree with the size of the bond. We need to listen to the public. The public wants to see more park acquisition. Especially since land is harder and harder to purchase. There’s an opportunity here to actually think about what we want from the bond, beyond just saying this is what we wanted a year and a half ago. For $9/median household per year, we can include the cost of inflation in the amount of the bond. And then we can have a separate discussion about what we want to do with the reserve. Maybe the future Council and community will have different needs and desires and not want to continue using the reserves for our parks.

I think we should stay with $38.5 bond. We need to think about other things we may be trying to fund in the future, like a community and aquatics center. There are so many things that we want to fund, both large and small. I think this $38.5 bond accomplishes a lot.

I agree there’s more stuff that we could fund with a higher bond, and we expect to validate this time. There is public desire for more parks. I hate to significantly try to rework this because this should have passed over a year and a half ago. I’d like to get this done. I prefer not to take from reserve funds but would not hold up this getting on the ballot because I recognize that other Councilmembers support the mixed funding.

Everyone agrees to go ahead with the ballot, everyone agrees on the February ballot, 4 Councilmembers support the mixed funding. Is that sufficient to go ahead?

Debbie Tarry responds:
  • If we had complete agreement, can we bring back an ordinance on November 1st for discussion and potential action? Or is your preference that we bring it back on November 1st just for discussion and then we would schedule actual adoption by Council probably two weeks later?
I think it’s clear. The only issue here is which figure we put on the bond. I think that can be handled on just one date. I don’t see a need for additional discussion.

I agree. I think we should go ahead and have another short discussion on Nov 1. Many of us are concerned about more property acquisition. Should that be another conversation for use of the reserves? They are often unscheduled opportunities. I don’t want to touch $38.5m.

This will return on November 1st as an action item.

8(b) Discussion of Resolution No. 485 - Amending the Council Rules of Procedure

Presentation by Jessica Simulcik Smith, City Clerk

The Council Rules of Procedure were initially adopted by Council in 2002. The rules are for the sole benefit of Councilmembers to assist in the orderly conduct of Council business. And these rules are periodically reviewed and amended as needed.

Remote Participation
Council will consider amendments to its Rules related to remote attendance at Council meetings and the procedure for placing items on meeting agendas. Council has provided feedback over the last year about remote meetings and found them to be successful. They also agreed they should go back to in-person meetings when it is safe to do so, but remote participation by Councilmembers should be allowed.

Staff has a few questions for clarification from Council:

What frequency of remote attendance by Councilmembers should be allowed?

Should the Rules of Procedure list the circumstances and criteria required for remote attendance? Staff doesn’t think it’s necessary but it is a Council decision.

Should Councilmembers be required to turn on their camera?

Council has expressed interest in continuing to allow the public to participate remotely. How would Council want to handle public comment since some people will be at the meeting in-person? Should members of the public attending in-person speak first, or those attending remotely? Or should it rotate?

How does Council want to address use of visual aids by remote public speakers? Electronic aids, such as PowerPoint are not permitted in-person. Should they be allowed by remote speakers? If so, should that be allowed for in-person speakers.

Agenda preparation
Council recently discussed Rule 3.2.B outlining procedures for how individual Councilmembers place items on the agenda. Questions arose on whether this Rule applies to placing an item on the agenda of a specific meeting date; or placing an item on the list of pending agenda items on the Agenda Planner. Does Council wish to amend Rule 3.2.B to add clarity or to change the intent?

Councilmember Roberts Amendment
This was an error found by CM Roberts. Currently Rule 7.19 states that a Councilmember who voted in the majority can make a motion to reconsider, however, Roberts’ Rules of Order states that a member who voted with the prevailing side can make a motion to reconsider. The latter rule applies should there be a tied vote, so there would be no majority. Staff agrees with this correction and will incorporate this correction into the Proposed Resolution No. 485 if Council agrees.


Hybrid meetings
There are a lot of questions that apply to Councilmembers only. I think our current Council will not be affected by these. (NOTE: three new Councilmember candidates and CM Roberts are running unopposed on November’s ballot.) Hybrid meetings won’t be available until after the new Councilmembers are elected. We should skip the questions about remote attendance and cameras until the new Councilmembers can weigh in.

I don’t see a problem with this. We have had a year’s experience with remote meetings that the new members will not have. I’m comfortable continuing the discussion.

I agree. We have the experience that they do not. They will have a learning curve. New members generally defer to more experienced members. If something new comes up after the new members join Council, it can be changed.

I think one of the reasons remote attendance works well for us is that we have spent a lot of time together in-person. We got to know each other and developed a level of trust. We got to speak one on one with each other, chatting before or after a meeting. I think when it goes hybrid, there should be an expectation that members be in chambers when they can be. This will also build trust with the public who can speak directly to Councilmembers before and after meetings.

I think the number of meetings attended remotely should be under 10 because we live in and experience this community. We don’t want people taking advantage of remote attendance.

I prefer that we not set a maximum number of meetings attended remotely. We take our public presence seriously. I don’t think it’s an issue that will be abused. What if a person has a serious injury such as a broken leg and can’t attend for several weeks?

This doesn’t matter to me. If you need to be remote, do it. How many can be remote at the same time? If several need to be remote at the same time, it’s fine with me - they’re still in attendance. We excuse people for different reasons all of the time.

I think we’re all in general agreement. I agree remote attendance is fine and don’t think we need to police it. I think we can trust other Councilmembers as long as we do convey the expectation of attendance either in the rules or in the culture, that if you can be there you should be. It would also mean that mobility impaired people who may want to serve on the Council would be able to fully participate remotely.

Public Comment
We do need to address public testimony questions. We have a rule that people commenting on agenda items should go first. How will that work with the new proposed rules?
  • Reply: This rule would still exist.
If it’s too complicated technically, it’s not worth it. I don’t care who goes first.

I think we have always adjusted the public comment period so that every person who has signed up has been able to speak. I have no preference on who speaks first. Personally, I don’t see an advantage for who goes first or last.

I don’t see the point of giving preference whether you’re attending in-person or remotely. Maybe alternating would make it fair.

I don’t know how hard it is to go from in-person to remote. If it isn’t a problem I would alternate. Otherwise, I would go with the in-person attendees first.

Visual Aids
I don’t think public speakers attending remotely should be allowed visual aids because we lack control. Council does control the Chamber.

I’m not keen on visual aids - it’s only 2-3 minutes for public comment. I don’t see how PowerPoint could enhance a 2 or 3 minute presentation.

I don’t think we should allow visual aids and I sure don’t think we should allow them to share their desktops. Who knows what could pop up on someone’s home computer?

I think if we start allowing PowerPoint it will be really hard to focus on what they are saying. A complicated graph for example. I prefer not to have visual aids.

We agree it’s not a good idea because it can be inappropriate or a distraction. We’ve had some of that in written comments with the use of icons and we had someone’s pet instead of just their name and a person appearing in giant sunglasses. All of that is fine but if you’re just going to allow people to use visual aids we run the risk of something inappropriate or distracting.

I am having bandwidth issues tonight. I believe Councilmembers should have their cameras on. But my camera is not working. I don’t like saying have you MUST have your camera on. Would that make me in violation right now?

Actually there’s something in the staff report that calls for a 10 minute pause if someone loses their connection. I don’t think we need that. At least not included in the rules.

I agree we should have our cameras on. But in some areas it can be difficult to get a connection. That shouldn’t be a reason to not allow Councilmembers to participate.

I think we’re all pretty good about leaving our cameras on. I know as soon as I’m done speaking I’m going to turn mine off to let my dog out who’s been laying by the door and looking at me like “why won’t you come let me out!” (Laughter) Then I’ll turn it back on.

I think it makes sense to have a requirement that the camera is on. That doesn’t mean every second if you need to step away from your desk. For me being able to see people’s reactions to things is important to me. If technology is not there due to your location, and or the connection is bad, I’m not sure it makes sense for them to be at that meeting because they’re not getting the full benefit of the discussion.

Cameras are important to me personally but there are circumstances when it is unwise - if there’s something distracting in the background for example.

Should we put exceptions into the rules? That’s a very tricky thing to do. We generally put things into rules when people break, or continually break, the established norm. I think that’s how many laws get developed too. The less we put into the rules, the better. My preference is to put in as little as possible and hopefully this Council and future Councils will continue to impress its members that we really want your camera on, while recognizing that technology problems can occur.

Amending 3.2.B
Amending 3.2.B to add clarity or intent to placing items on the Agenda. I think we should go with two Councilmembers can put it on the Agenda Planner, then after discussion with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and City Manager the date it would go on the Agenda. Our current Council is made up of reasonable people. But that isn’t always the case and some members could take full advantage of that and really undermine the City Manager.

I think placement of items on the Agenda Planner is fine but the date needs to be decided by the City Manager and the Mayor - not by just two Councilmembers.

I’d like slow down a bit. One method allows Councilmembers to say at the next meeting we’re discussing this. That’s good if there’s concern that the Mayor or Deputy Mayor might manipulate something to push off an agenda item that should be considered quickly. The other method that adds it to the Agenda Planner but not what agenda date, addresses the concern that you might have a disruptive Councilmember or two that pack an agenda with stuff so that something they don’t want decided isn’t decided. We’ve never had either of those problems but I would tend towards allowing Councilmembers to put it on the specific agenda with or without the approval of the Mayor.

Does staff have what it needs to move forward?
  • Reply: I heard there is a preference to not tie a number to attending meetings remotely, nor how many can attend remotely at one time; there should be an expectation to attend meetings in-person and the rules should somehow state that; cameras are nice to have on but we can soften the language to address technical difficulties; no visual aids was clearly expressed; and there is not general agreement on which public speaker should go first.
I believe we agree that practicality - what works smoothest - is what we want.
  • Reply: Rotation will cause a delay.
Council is split on the Agenda Planner.



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