Notes from Shoreline Council meeting November 1, 2021

Friday, November 5, 2021

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
November 1, 2021

Notes by Pam Cross

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

Proclamation
I, Will Hall, Mayor of the City of Shoreline, on behalf of the Shoreline City Council, recognize that November is NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH and encourage all residents to learn more and to support the work of Native people and organizations.

Approval of the Agenda
Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager’s Office, Debbie Tarry

COVID-19 UPDATE
There is encouraging news: case rates continue to slowly decline statewide. But we are still at a level of high transmission of COVID-19 infections. Shoreline has had a 13% increase in cases in the last week. So we must continue to take precautions.

Get vaccinated or Schedule a Booster Shot.


The Public Health Order is in effect for all of King County and applies to Spartan Recreational Center.
 

Access to the Interurban Pedestrian Bridges has been restored!

Contractors installed security fencing that isolates and protects the broken glass panels. Future repair work may involve full or limited closure of the bridges. Police continue to investigate the vandalism to the glass panels and ask that anyone who has information regarding the incident to call Shoreline police at 206-296-3311.


Through November 16, 2021 Virtual OPEN HOUSE: N 148th Street Non-motorized bridge


Council Reports


Councilmember Robertson shared that she was happy to be a part of the planning and execution of the Second Ever Ridgecrest Halloween Parade. This is a totally grassroots event provided as a COVID-SAFE alternative to Trick or Treating. She estimated there were at least 1,200 people that attended.

Councilmember Chang attended multiple meetings last week related to work for the Regional Transit Committee which oversees KingCo Metro.The committee is currently working on documents that control how Metro services are added, restructured and reduced.They are working on a number of amendments that all the members of the Sound Cities Association can agree on. She commended Shoreline staff Nytasha Walters, Transportation Services Manager, and Jim Hammond, Intergovernmental/CMO Program Manager, who have been putting in a significant amount of work with staff from all of the other cities in the Caucus to work on these amendments.

Public Comment

Jackie Kurle, Shoreline
I encourage continued oversight and maximum transparency to the public regarding activities surrounding the shelter both for the residents who benefit from the services as well as the community as a whole. We would appreciate regular updates.

Kathleen Russell, Shoreline, Tree Preservation Code Team
All of the trees in Shoreline contribute to the tree canopy: the neighborhood trees, the park trees, and the public street trees. We hope Shoreline will continue to be known for its trees. We have proposed several tree code amendments. On Oct 28 Senior Planner Steve Szafran made a presentation to the PRCS/Tree Board regarding the submitted code amendments. It took 6 months to get the response. On Nov 18 to we hope to have the opportunity at the Planning Commission meeting to respond to the city staff recommendations, including the many denials regarding these codes. During the code presentation to the PRCS/Tree Board, Chair Bill Franklin made interesting comments about trees and designing buildings around trees. I urge elected officials and members of the Planning Commission to listen to his comments. The meeting was video recorded but only the audio link is available on the City’s website. His comments begin at 1:40:07.

Nancy Morris, Shoreline
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) started this week in Glasgow, Scotland to address climate change. We know we will not stop climate change but we will only mitigate the worst. We can’t save everything. Actions speak louder than words.Developers need to design projects around existing mature trees. Let there be a mandate rather than a cavalier approach to removing trees to prevent use of code loopholes, or failure to even try to redesign projects to save existing mature trees. Other cities are way ahead of Shoreline in protecting our mature conifers.

Mary Ellen Stone, Shoreline
I want to reinforce the importance of trees. Also, people need to support the park bond.

Nancy Pfeil, Shoreline
In September we contacted the City for a phone number for somebody who has the authority over the . lot at 16347 Aurora, south of The Oaks Shelter. We received two names at Lake City Partners. A LCP staff member told us that they have no authority over the parking lot. We sent an email to another person at LCP but have not had a response. 6 weeks have passed. We just learned that the property was sold in June 2021 and is now owned by Catholic Community Services. I realize the County can sell to whomever they want, but we were very surprised that our community had not been advised of this transaction. It wasn’t even mentioned when we contacted the City for information in September 2021. It is my understanding that the MOA with the LCP, the County and Shoreline - what does the change of ownership do to this agreement and the few guardrails that were put in place? Last week we encountered a homeless person living on a neighbor’s property on Linden Ave N.

Approval of the Consent Calendar

The first item in the Consent Calendar is shown as a Workshop Dinner Meeting. It was a Regular Meeting.
  • Reply by Jessica Simulcik Smith: that was a typo. We caught it later and corrected it.
Consent Calendar approved unanimously 7-0

Action Item 8(a) Action on Ordinance No. 949 - Authorizing the Placement of a Ballot Measure on the February 2022 Special Election Ballot to Authorize a Property Tax Bond Measure for Park Improvements and Park Land Acquisition

Christina Arcidy, Management Analyst, made the presentation

On October 11, 2021, staff was directed by Council to develop the legislation to place a ballot measure on the February 2022 Special Election ballot to fund improvements to five neighborhood parks; investments in park amenities for three additional parks; and the acquisition and improvement of new park land. Council discussed the amount to be funded by the bond and, being in general agreement to get this on the ballot in February, brought this forward tonight as an Action Item.


PUBLIC COMMENT

As per Council Rules of Procedure 6.1.B, which states that for an Action Item that is before the City Council for the first time and is not part of the consent agenda, public comment for that item will follow the staff report but precede Council review.

Kathleen Russell, Shoreline, Tree Preservation Code Team
In 2018 the new sidewalk program was approved by voters. Unfortunately, citizens did not know the number of significant trees that would be removed for the new wider sidewalks. We now know that 23 significant trees will be removed along 5th Ave NE for 6’ wide sidewalks on either side of this narrow street. As more sidewalks are created, more trees will be removed. This bond includes wider sidewalks and more impervious surfaces. The staff should be instructed to advise the voters about the possible threat to mature trees that this bond will have.

DISCUSSION

Motion and second to approve Ordinance 949

I’m excited about having the measure brought to the voters. We need to get the word out. Hopefully, with School District measures on the ballot, we will get validation.

Ms. Russell brought up the question about designs and how the staff is going to communicate with the community. During our previous discussion of this, it was mentioned that a $38.5M bond would reduce projects in Hillwood, Richmond Highlands, and James Keough parks, as well as eliminate the public art portion of the bond. Is staff going to discuss the bond with the community and include those (now missing) elements, or just the $38.5M bond piece?
  • Reply: Right now the designs online are just conceptual designs. We have heard the concerns about trees. These conceptual designs give a general sense of where things would go but it doesn’t take into account what’s already there, or whether or not if’s even feasible to place a certain element in that location. If the bond is approved, there would be opportunity for further public comment on the design as we progress further along. There is a real desire to retain as many trees as possible. In some locations there may be some tree loss but there’s also opportunity to plant more trees. The goal is to minimize tree loss and take the opportunity to meander walkways in the parks unlike what you can do in frontage improvements.
Some specific elements that were in the design concept have been removed with the $38.5M bond. Are those elements going to be taken out of the written descriptions of what the bond might pay for?
  • Reply: No, we don’t need to take any pieces out. What staff is proposing right now is that we would be putting both the bond measure forward and, at a later date, restricting an additional $3.4M of the City General Fund to get to the full cost of the package which is $41.9M. So there is no need to take anything out of the description. All along the bond was never going to pay for everything. But now we know $3.4M is the amount needed from the City.
Can the current Council dictate to future Council how to expend its funds?
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: The current Council can direct the money but future Councils can change it. Certain parts of our general fund are designated for specific purposes and reflect the policy of the current Council. But a future Council could overrule that.
So there’s no guarantee that a future Council will take $3.4M and apply it to these particular park projects?
  • Reply Margaret King, City Attorney: The bond commits us to complete the project. But the cost estimates are just cost estimates. I think with these projects on the bond then future Councils are bound to complete those projects. Beyond that I would have to defer to our Bond Council - that’s why we have them. The money needs to be spent on the specific items.
So those items are described in the title and the ordinance itself. But the more general the description, the more flexibility the future Council has.
  • Reply Margaret King: I think that’s right to some extent. The money can’t be taken and spent on roads for example. It depends on the language in the bond that we would have to look at.
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: section 1 of the ordinance page 8a, 9, 10 does provide some flexibility for future Councils. If there’s not enough money, the new Council can decide priorities based on the project deemed by the Council as necessary and in the best interests of the city.
The projects we are committing to are the bullets on 8a,9, flexible in terms of improvements. But future Councils can change where and how those projects are developed? So, if it’s not in the list we’re not committed to it, regardless of any statements we’ve made, previous discussions, meetings and notes?
  • Reply: Yes on both points.
Bullet points from 8a, page 9
  • Section 1. Findings. The Council hereby finds that the best interests of the residents of the City require the City to construct, develop, equip, upgrade, acquire, and improve the parks and recreation facilities, including the acquisition of park land, as described in the PROS Plan, as it may be amended from time to time (the “Projects”). The Projects may include, depending on the location, the following:
  • Improvements to Brugger’s Bog, Hillwood, Richmond Highlands, Briarcrest Community (Hamlin East), and James Keough Parks, including constructing and/or improving playgrounds, splash-pads, multi-sports courts, walking trails, picnic shelters, off-leash dog areas, and accessible play areas for people of all physical abilities;
  • Constructing a new off-leash dog area and play area at Ridgecrest Park;
  • Improving the off-leash dog area and making field improvements at Shoreview Park;
  • Improving the education center and children’s garden at Kruckeberg Botanic Garden to make it more accessible to people of all abilities, among other improvements;
  • Installing public art throughout the City park system;
  • Acquiring land and/or making park improvements to expand Paramount Open Space, Brugger’s Bog, and Rotary Park, in addition to other park land acquisitions; and
  • Constructing, developing, equipping, upgrading, acquiring and improving other park and recreational facilities in the City park system.

Motion and second to Amend to increase the bond amount from $38.5M to $41.9M

This is an unnecessary sour note in discussion. I’ll vote for the parks bond whether the amendment passes or not. I don’t get why we are doing it for less than the full cost. I’ve never understood that. What we have promised we may not be able to deliver because all 7 of us are not going to be here to implement it in the future. I would like to remove that uncertainty. I would also like to keep free what is not a windfall, but is an unexpected amount of revenue we didn’t know we had. We have a lot of other things that we could fund with this extra money. Why are we doing it? We had a bond measure at $38.5 and it didn’t make it on the ballot. The buck stops here. Rather than saying the failure to get it on the ballot has cost us some money, and admitting that that mistake was made and here’s the additional cost, we’re saying it’s the same bond measure when, in fact, we’re going to take money from a different source and promising a future Council will also take money from a different source, and use it to backstop the additional cost. That doesn’t sit right with me ethically. I would like the freedom to use that money to take care of some of these other unmet needs. I”m encouraging us to vote to increase the amount to what it will actually cost, get it on the ballot, then work our hearts out to get it passed.

I agree completely. We should not be committing a future Council to spend this money. This is not in line with our good budgeting. We ought to be looking at proposals in the context of the total budget and looking at the different trade-offs of what the community wants, what we want, what the City Manager is recommending, all of these together in one place. The higher bond amount makes very little difference to the cost to the taxpayer living in a median income home.

Page 8a,12 of the Oct 11 staff report talks about the financial impact of increasing the bond from $38.5M to $41.9M. Fully funded by the higher bond increases cost from $107 to $117 annually for the median value home.

I’m a little concerned about doing that. We just put it out and missed, and now we’re putting it out again and we would be asking for more, so it feels a little like a bait & switch. Plus we’re going to have to worry about School District bonds and/or levies on the same ballot - also increasing property taxes.

I agree. We call it the same and it will be easier to pass. We should keep the amount of the bond consistent. It’s the same in the amount of the bond. I’m glad we have the extra funds to make up the difference.

I do not support the increase. I fear a negative campaign could latch onto that and make it look like something it really isn’t.

My hope and my goal is to get the bond passed. I’ve been struggling with this decision. I say no to the increase. I think it’s important to be able to say this is the same thing that you’ve supported in the past.

I do not support the amendment. We have ample reserves, money that we’ve already taken from the taxpayers, to cover any variation in these cost estimates. The likelihood that each project will cost exactly what is estimated in the measure is very low.

By going for a bond less that what we expect the projects to cost, we are promising less than we asked the voters to approve originally.

VOTE on amendment to increase bond amount
Fails 2-5
Supporting the amendment DM Scully and CM Roberts

VOTE to approve original Ordinance 949
Passes 7-0

Action Item 8(b) Action on Resolution No. 485 - Amending the Council Rules of Procedure


Jessica Simulcik Smith, City Clerk

On October 11, 2021, Council discussed a series of amendments to its Rules related to remote attendance at Council meetings and the procedure for placing items on meeting agendas. Following that discussion, Council requested that staff incorporate Council’s feedback into Proposed Resolution No. 485.

Councilmember Roberts has submitted 4 Amendments. Staff supports all of them.

If Rule 3.3 is adopted, this will shift the authority of 2 Councilmembers being able to schedule an item on a specific agenda, instead scheduling it on the Agenda Planner. CM Roberts added that the item must be scheduled within 60 days.


Rule #2 strikes all of Rule 5.13.B.6 that would have established the protocol for handling an unstable connection when a Councilmember is attending remotely.


Amendment #3 attempts to capture all types of meetings that a Councilmember would be able to attend remotely. CM Roberts added emergency meetings and closed session meetings.


Amendment #4 changes the notification deadline requirement. The rationale is not all meetings start at 7pm. 

DISCUSSION

Motion and second to approve Resolution 485

The discussion of changes to the Rules of Procedures has been ongoing. It appears that Council will be having hybrid meetings for some time. We need rules in place for when we go to hybrid. Additionally, hybrid meetings allow more participation because members of the public can participate remotely even when Council is back in session.

Motion and second to amend Resolution 485 with amendments 1-4.

Regarding #1 - if two Councilmembers are requesting, it must be scheduled within 60 days and also has to fit with City requirements. What if they request something that will require significant study, is 60 days enough time?
  • Reply from Debbie Tarry: Normally we wouldn’t be investing significant staff work without an understanding that the majority of the Council want us to pursue. We could bring something back to Council within 60 days, but there may still be additional work required before Council could take action. With the majority on board, the additional work can now be done. That has been our practice in most cases.
I had had a concern that, as written by staff, the amendment might place too much power in Councilmembers, but this is a great compromise and satisfies my hypothetical concern.

VOTE to add amendments 1-4
Passes 7-0

VOTE on Ordinance 485 as amended
Passes 7-0

Study Item 9(a) Discussion of Mid-Biennial Update and Preview of 2021-2022 Mid-Biennial Budget Amendment Ordinance No. 945, 2022 Property Tax Levy Ordinance No. 946, 2022 Fee Schedule Resolution No. 484, 2022 Impact Fee Schedules Ordinance No. 947; and 2021-2026 CIP Update (Capital Improvements Program

Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director, introduced the topic

Because the staff report was so detailed, tonight’s presentation will be brief. We will be presenting a high-level financial update, a high level 2021-2022 adjustments, followed by other policy issues and the next steps.

Rick Kirkwood, Budget and Tax Manager, completed the presentation

Financial Update
The General Fund revenue collection is estimated to exceed that planned for 2021. However, the strong performance from permits, sales and property taxes may be offset by potential below-budget performance of utility taxes and gas tax. Staff is closely monitoring the performance these sources.
General Fund expenditures are trailing the budget plan largely due to position vacancies, lower jail housing costs, and the favorable 2020 police services contract reconciliation credit.


Other Policy Issues

Salary and benefit considerations including 2022 Cost of Living Adjustment and recommended position title changes reflected in salary tables.

The City Manager is recommending supplemental requests that address emerging issues that meet organizational priorities that allow for effective delivery of public services and completion of Council goals. Many of these will avoid adversely impacting existing appropriations by providing funding for programs and result in accurately reflecting the anticipated expenditures in the City’s operating budget.

Next Steps
  1. November 8 - Public Hearings on the 2021-2022 Biennial Budget and Revenue sources. This will provide opportunities to comment on the budget update, including all proposed levies, taxes, fees and rates.)
  2. November 15 - Adoption of the 2021-2022 mid biennial budget modifications and 2022 property tax levies
DISCUSSION

That was a very long but important staff report. I have a couple of questions. It seemed like we were considering a large increase (8%) in impact fees. I’m concerned that we may be higher than other cities around us. If we increase, will we still be in the middle?
  • Reply: I can’t answer that question . We will add this to the Council question matrix and bring back a response.
There is a mention in the report of a wastewater utility 2022 rate study and it will be interesting to see what that brings up. Are we putting enough money into maintenance and repair given how old our system is? This needs to get consideration.
  • Reply Randy Witt: This is one of the items we’ll look at in the rate study.
I was surprised we would be thinking about increasing the wastewater utility by 4 full time employees . I would like some information whether moving from a contract position is going to help - there are offsetting costs by bringing some of these employees in-house. I’d like more detailed information there.
  • Reply: We have not added any staff at all for the public works side of managing the utility since the assumptions so we are pretty much using existing staff. We brought in David Evans and Associates and Scott Christianson who had been their district engineer, and asked him to continue his district engineer duties for the time being.
Do you think it’s a wash between having a consultant and on-staff?
  • Reply: I think the goal is to be more cost effective and to have a better handle on the system.
I was a little surprised that there was this amount of extra staff positions at a mid-year. More than I was expecting. Pretty significant staff growth. I thought in going to a two-year we would look at it more holistically.

I generally support converting extra help to FTE (full time employee) because it’s a better job because it offers job stability and extra benefits. But then it says we have utilized one-time funding for various projects to pay for extra help. But one time funding is always very specific. We need a person for a year, for example for a specific project (e.g. The Trail along the Rail). In theory that need goes away. But what often happens is what happened here: we get someone here for a one-year project and all of a sudden that’s grown into a staff position. So if this is a new one-time project need, I would like to see what that project is, and if there’s an ongoing need based on a new project, maybe we do need extra help. Just saying we’ve brought them on for a one-time project and therefore now we want to keep them is not enough for me. And I’m not inclined to support that increase unless we have a pretty significant case made for why the workload has grown significantly enough to need a whole other person based upon our ongoing projects and not these one-offs.

I thought it was amusing that we have a request for an IT specialist to go to full-time and Sara Lane, our Administrative Services Director could not get her video working. That was completely unintentional but very good advocacy (laughter). I have no problem supporting that.

The Teen Development Program - I’m always concerned when we support something, that at least on the surface, appears to be a school need. Because our School District has taxability, we shouldn’t be back-filling it out of City funds. I would want clarification whether this is a City or School District need.

This report reinforced my confidence on the fiscal management of the City. But one little question: demolition of the Jersey Building. Is there a rush?

  • Reply Sara Lane: Cost increases for demotion aren’t gong to come down quickly. The building is in very bad shape. We think we should take it down before it falls down. Scaffolding is holding up the side of the building that you can’t see (and we pay rent for the scaffolding). It will quickly become a nuisance.
Each seems reasonable by itself, but taken collectively it seems like a larger change at a mid-biennium point. 2024 will be facing deficit if don’t go with another request to the voters.

Brief discussion of the RADAR program. Council is committed to it.

This conversation will continue next week.

MEETING ADJOURNED



1 comments:

Jeff November 6, 2021 at 10:14 AM  

Thank you, Pam for these reports!

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