Week Ending March 31
I’m organizing these a bit more starting this week. Here are this week’s items:
- Farmer’s Market Sign – We have a notice on our door related to a Farmer’s Market vendor that will be providing small, 2 once, samples of wine. As you’ll likely recall, the Farmer’s Market will be located on the Plaza in front of the Civic Center this year. The notice is required by the Cannabis and Liquor Control Board.
- Legislative Agenda - LEOFF 2 Pension Cost Increases in the Senate Budget – You may have seen a notice about this in the Association of Washington Cities Newsletter this week. The Senate proposes increasing the long-standing state contribution to the Law Enforcement and Fire Fighters Plan 2 pension, which would shift more of the cost to local government. We are sending a notice to our legislative delegation of the fiscal impact to us - $25,000 annually in 2017 and $50,000 beginning in 2018. We are encouraging restoration of this funding in the final budget that emerges between the House and Senate.
- Civic Center Front Door – At the request of many of you and residents, we’ve electrified the right side door as you are entering the building from the outside. There are buttons to activate each set of doors. People can also gently pull on the door and it will automatically kick in electric support. This should alleviate most of the concerns we had heard about the doors being too heavy. Special thanks go to Del Singer and Ty Brown, from Public Works, for their work and coordination with a vendor to make these improvements.
- Sequim School District Strategic Planning Meeting – I attended my first meeting on Thursday morning, along with Assistant City Manager Joe Irvin. We set some ground rules, did some team building, and began work on a vision and mission. The next meeting is scheduled for April 13th.
- 210 W. Washington Permit – The Community Development Department issued a permit for work at 210 W. Washington this week. Planned are three retail spaces within 6,000 sq. ft. Newly created exterior facades, exterior seating spaces, delineated parking spaces, new landscaping, including hanging baskets, and exterior lighting are included in the project. The structure will have large windows along the east elevation and two glass roll up doors along the W. Washington elevation.
- Assistant to the City Manager/Deputy Clerk Interviews – We interviewed 5 finalists on Friday and expect to make a hiring announcement next week. We had an overwhelming response for this position of 50 applicants in just a few weeks.
Kudo of the Week
- Public Works Develops Custom Equipment to Speed Sewer Line Repair – Do you recall the sewer line repair equipment that we demonstrated recently at a Council meeting? After a few experiences in the field with our new equipment, our sewer crew has already removed two hours from the time required for each repair. In one portion of the process improvement, the crew has fashioned a unique movable table that helps them roll the equipment into place. The manufacturer was so impressed with our custom equipment that they may begin manufacturing their own version. Kudos to Scott Carter and the rest of the sewer team!
- Working from Home Most of Monday – I’ll be working from home on tasks done more efficiently without interruption until about 3 PM on Monday, when I’m coming in for a meeting. I’ll be available by email and cell phone.
Week Ending March 24
Here are this week’s items:
- Sequim Free Clinic Tour – Along with the Mayor, I toured this facility earlier in the week. It is an incredibly impressive operation that we help to fund through a human services contract. Kudos to Olympic Medical Center as well for all of their support of the Clinic, including providing medical office space and other services for it.
- Economic Development Program – Our internal committee met this week and we’ve nearly completed our visitation questionnaire. We remain on track to begin our business visitation program in June, with a business blitz (50 visits in one morning), planned for September.
- Meeting with Commissioner Ozias and Mayor Smith – We had our monthly breakfast this week. Items discussed included human services, economic development, parks & recreation, the Carlsborg Sewer Project, and growth management.
- Sequim Museum & Arts Center Building Permit – The Sequim Museum & Arts Center is close to receiving a building permit for their planned expansion on North Sequim Avenue. Museum representatives provided special thanks this week to our recent, hire Jesse Dulin, for her work in helping to shepherd the project through review. Way to go Jesse!
- Department of Revenue Audit - We received $53,000 back from the State’s Department of Revenue (DOR), mostly for overpayment of sewer excise taxes. We pay excise taxes on water and sewer revenues to the DOR monthly. Sewer revenues need to be quantified as either “collection” OR “transmission/treatment” related. We’ve used a 15% collection vs. a 85% trans/treatment ratio for a long time in allocating these revenues. Collection is taxed at a much higher rate than treatment. The ratio of collection/treatment we calculated recently from our pipe inventory was 1%/99% - a significant difference from what we reported. Since we require that the property owner “own” the pipe up to the right of way, or the main transmission line, the City owns very little collection pipe. The appropriate tax accounts have been credited with the funds we received.
- Public Works Support Key to Softball Tournament – We received a complimentary email about Gary Butler, one of our Public Works employees. Gary volunteered his time last weekend to help out with the softball tournament at Carrie Blake Park. Gary helped to drag and chalk the fields and also to pick up trash. Organizers of the tournament stated that the event would have been cancelled due to weather if it were not for Gary’s efforts. Please thank Gary if you see him!
- Municipal Research Services Center (MRSC) Funded in the House and Senate Budgets – MRSC, a key agency that supports local governments across the state with research, advice, and shared services, looks to be in good shape to receive full funding in the State’s budget. Last year, MRSC got eliminated in the Senate budget and funded in the House budget. Eventually it got restored in the final budget approved by the State.
- CERB Consultant Selection for Grant Submittal – We met with Fred McConkey, the primary property owner in our eastern Economic Opportunity Area (northeast corner of Sequim Ave. and 101) where we are preparing to apply for a Community Economic Revitalization Board grant, to discuss potential consultant partners should we win a grant award. We are required to pre-select a consultant. It was a positive meeting and we have a front-runner firm. If we get the grant, we will end up with a conceptual site plan for that area, in addition to a market analysis of commercial uses and an analysis of infrastructure needs to help development come to fruition.
- Follow-Up to City Council Comments from the ACLU – The attached email (PDF) from Chief Crain provides background on our Police Department’s Immigration Enforcement Policy and some supporting information. As you will see, we have a similar perspective to the ACLU on this topic. Our department does not ask for immigration status in our law enforcement contacts, does not assist in immigration violation investigations, and has little overall interaction with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
- City Adds Gravel To Dirt Road – In response to a resident’s comments, Public Works crews improved one of the last dirt road sections of street in town this past week by putting down gravel. The attached picture shows crews at work on a section of Maple where it dead ends between 4th and 5th Avenues.
- Request for a Business Representative on the City Council – I received a request this week for the Council to add an ex-officio business representative, similar to our student liaison. As you know, the dais is a bit full so we’d have to work that out. An alternative could be to initiate the economic development commission listed in our Economic Development Plan. We could do that in the fall. Let me know if you have any strong thoughts on this topic.
Week Ending March 17
Here are this week’s items:
- Letter of Support – The Mayor signed a letter of support this week at the request of Association of Washington Cities (AWC) leadership. It was in support of retaining and restoring the Public Works Trust Fund. The letter was consistent with our State Legislative Agenda.
- Sequim School District Strategic Planning Committee – I received an invitation from the School District to be a part of this effort, which involves a series of meetings over the next few months, and will do so with your support (let me know if you have any concerns). Joe Irvin will back me up for a couple of meetings that I cannot make. Genaveve Starr also received an invitation. She needs a back-up so please let me know if you are interested.
- Sight Distance at Intersections – This item has come up a number of times since I started working here in late 2015. We’ve developed the following program and action steps going forward, thanks to a lot of work by one of our volunteers. Work is proceeding.
- a. Map substandard intersections based on volunteer’s data.
- b. Determine if problem is within or outside of right of way.
- c. Make intersection improvements within right of way an element of every street project, similar to ADA improvements.
- d. Prioritize other intersections and make improvements as staff time is available—target a minimum number of intersections per month.
- e. Tabulate substandard intersections that are outside of city right of way and pass on to Code Enforcement.
- Dog Park Kudo – Here is a message from Ty Brown to Roger and Gary, two of our Public Works employees, regarding their efforts at the Dog Park. “This morning I received a very nice phone call from one of our everyday dog park users. She wanted us to know that her and her friends use the dog park every day and that they can’t thank us enough for what a great job Roger and Gary are doing down there. She said Roger and Gary are always working so hard on the park and the dog park and that she really appreciates the care and respect and helpfulness they have for the people and the park. And for me to pass this message of thanks on to them. I have to say guys, that goes for me as well. Out of all the phone calls I get in a day receiving one like this makes my whole day and means a lot to me. Thank you.”
- AWC Municipal Excellence Award – We are preparing an Association of Washington Cities Municipal Excellence Award Application for our Police Benevolence Fund, where we provide gift cards funded by donations to people in need. For example, we helped a shoeless homeless person buy shoes during a snow storm this past winter. When we founded it, Chief Dickinson was only aware of one other city police department with a similar program in the nation. We are planning to apply in the small cities category, which now has a population cutoff at 7,500 (it used to be 5,000). Here is a link to the awards page. We may apply for a second award, to be determined.
- International City/Council Management Association (ICMA) Award Application – We applied for a community partnership program award this week from ICMA for the Rally in the Alley Program in Partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Sequim Sunrise Rotary, and many others. If successful, we’ll receive an award at ICMA’s annual conference in San Antonio next fall. We fall into the cities under 10,000 in population category there. As a part of his Leadership ICMA program, Joe will be attending the conference. We’ll keep you posted. Here is the link if you want to learn more.
- Federal Appropriations Requests – We received a notice regarding appropriations requests from US Representative Kilmer 9 days ago and had 5 days to respond. After reviewing options available to us in the request process, we submitted three projects - the off channel reservoir, the Simdars interchange, and building an electrical vehicle charging network on the Peninsula.
- Human Services Funding – Those of you on the Council a while know that we established a three-year human services funding cycle and the final year of that cycle is 2017. Given all of the strategic thinking that we are doing in the realm of human services this year, we are going to recommend extending our funding for one year with the agencies that we currently fund and then taking a fresh look at how we provide funding in 2018. We’ll be bringing this discussion to you over the 2nd and 3rd quarters and I wanted to provide you a heads up regarding our thinking at this point.
- Out of the Office on Monday – I’ll be away on Monday, either working remotely on some projects that require focus time or taking the day off and going for a hike. It all depends upon how much work I can get done this weekend.
Week Ending March 10
Here are this week’s items:
- Pickleball Project – We think we’ve worked our way through the pickleball court sizing issues we described to you in last week’s update. Special thanks go to our engineering staff for working through all the court design issues, after their footprint expanded. There are a few caveats to the updated design and we’ll have a full briefing for Council at the 3/27 meeting.
- Business Resource Meeting – We had a fantastic meeting with state officials, the Sequim Dungeness Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses on Monday morning to talk about resources available at the state level for businesses. It was a great launching point for our Business Retention Expansion Program. Special thanks go to Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Colleen McAleer for organization the meeting and Barbara Hanna and Chamber staff for publicizing it. We had about 20 people in attendance.
- Compliment for Installing Handrails at the Terrace Garden – I’ve attached a thank you (PDF) that we received this week for installation of a handrail system at the Terrace Garden area in Carrie Blake Park. Kudos go to the Public Works Crew for more fine work to enhance the quality of life in our community!
- Transition of Facility Rentals – Facility rentals, as planned through the budget process, have now transitioned from the City Clerk’s Office to our new Administrative Pool. Kathie Ann Sukert, located in the 2nd floor lobby, is our new lead person on rentals.
- 5 PM Council Meeting Starts – You may recall that we had some discussion last year about the possibility of starting our regular meetings at 5 PM, particularly to provide better access to the public. For example, some bus service does not run late enough for people to attend City Council meetings. Web streaming, which we’ll be briefing you about soon, will help. We are in the process of redrafting some code that pertains to City Council meetings and thought we’d suggest the possible time change to you as a part of the process. Please let us know if you have any concerns at this point.
- EDC Finalist Interviews – There are two finalists for the Economic Development Council Executive Director position. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to interview either as I had conflicts on the days they interviewed previously. I will have an opportunity to be a part of their final interviews next Tuesday morning.
- Spring Clean-Up Update – We talked with Habitat for Humanity on Monday and have worked out an arrangement to increase marketing of future Rally in the Alley events. While we’ve never turned anyone away, we’ll now increase the reach of these events. We’ll be making additional dumpsters available at the first one to deal with potential additional tonnage and then will go from there. We did not hear from enough Councilors to place the item on the agenda for Monday night but it could come up under Good of the Order. The next Rally in the Alley will have its epicenter in the Downtown area east of Sequim Avenue and North of Washington Street (we did south previously). It is now confirmed for June 2. We are also working on a calendar for future Rallies in the Alley, with at least two more planned for 2017. Through the program, we are now able to offer not one community-wide clean up per year, but four. With volunteers, we are able to work directly in neighborhoods to maximize the impact of these events within the City limits. Given the design of the events, they are far more cost effective than the prior spring clean-up. With that said, if we want to revisit the Spring Clean-Up, or do it in addition to the four rallies planned for this year, we have enough budget to do it.
- Alliance for Innovation Case Study – We’ve been published by the Alliance for Innovation and will be presenting a case study at their upcoming conference! Thanks to David Garlington and Ann Soule for this great piece on the pilot project we performed in 2015 to provide reclaimed water to a local dairy farmer. Salmon, Cows and Drought, Oh My! Big Breakthrough in a Small City.
- News from the Police Department Follow Up - We solved an auto theft two weeks ago. The suspect was a transient passing through Sequim. He lived out of the county. He found a car with the keys in it and drove to Poulsbo, where he committed a theft and was arrested by Poulsbo Police after a brief struggle. They found the stolen car in the parking lot. We were able to link our case and theirs together because the night the car was stolen, Sequim Officer Tony Bush saw the male at the Transit Center at 1:00 AM and visited with him. The male gave Tony a false name, which happened to be the same fake name he gave to Poulsbo Police. Poulsbo did a great job documenting in their report so we were able to use several details to make the connection. We later interviewed the suspect while he was incarcerated at Kitsap County jail and got a confession. Kudos to Tony for being out there talking to people, so even if the criminal wasn’t deterred enough by a cop talking to him and decided to steal a car, we were able to use that proactive police work to solve the case.
- Off Dungeness Channel Reservoir Video – A video supporting the Off Dungeness Channel Reservoir has been released and a link is on our website. Here is a link for you if you want to view it.
- Employee Engagement Video – I shared this video with some of our staff this week and I thought I’d share it with you as well. As you know, we’ve put a focus on promoting employee engagement at the City. We’ll be conducting our first employee engagement survey later this month, so we have a baseline from which to measure in the future.
Week Ending March 3
Here are this week’s items:
- Spring Clean-Up – As you know, I’ve had some correspondence on this issue this week. We had a discussion back on 10/24 at a City Council meeting, as a part of 2017 budget discussions, about foregoing the annual spring clean-up in lieu of four annual “Rally in the Alley” style clean-ups that would occur in neighborhoods. These would be more focused on city residents, more proactive in that we have volunteer support to go directly into neighborhoods, and more cost effective. To date, we have not turned anyone away depositing things from other areas of the City so they’ve acted as “mini community clean-ups”. A member of the community and some Councilors were surprised when we canceled the Spring Clean-Up for 2017 as a result of last fall’s budget discussion. Since we’ve only had one Rally in the Alley this year so far, we could still revisit the decision. I’ve heard from a couple of you on this topic. If anyone else wants to revisit the decision, please let me know. If there is sufficient interest, then we’ll place this item on the Council Agenda for 3/13 for discussion. If you’ve already let me know your thoughts on this topic, there is no need to send me another message.
- Facilitated Evaluation – My contract calls for a facilitated evaluation, which we would need to get going in about June to hit the target of August for completing it. Since I’ve had a chance to work with all of you for a while now, we have a different scenario than last year. I’m willing to waive this provision in my contract for this year to save about $5,000 for the City, if you are willing to do the same. Please let me know if you have any concerns with forgoing the facilitator. The alternative approach is that we’ll need to agree on how we’ll proceed/methodology without a third party involved. I will plan a future discussion with you on this topic before June.
- Draft Letter of from Council to Clallam Transit (PDF) in Support of Route 123 – This is attached, please let me know if you have any modifications by next Thursday, after which time we will send it to Clallam Transit. It should be consistent with your motion from Monday night.
- Halibut Resolution – Fish and Wildlife will be attending our 3/13 meeting to provide more background on this topic.
- Draft Light Timing Study – We had a records request for a copy of the light timing study. Since we cited it in a recent grant application, even though it is a draft, we need to provide a copy to the requester. Since we have not shared a copy with you yet, we’ll be sending you a copy as well. Public Works continues to review the draft and will be providing feedback to the consultant. That feedback may change it a bit, since it is a draft. We plan to come to you in April or May with a final report and recommendations on next steps.
- Emergency Management Meeting – We convened our emergency management partners for our monthly meeting this past week. Progress continues on all fronts, including updating our emergency response plan, outfitting the communications equipment in our emergency operations center, enhancing relationships and partnerships, developing new interlocal agreements between agencies, enhancing business resiliency, pre-positioning equipment/supplies/contracts, enhancing public preparedness, and even working with KSQM on pre-recorded disaster messages. A number of us are planning to travel to a wildfire this summer, along with Fire District 3, to shadow an incident management team for 24-48 hours so that we are better prepared should an incident of large magnitude impact Sequim in the future.
- Meeting with Businesses and State Officials on Monday – Port of Port Angeles Commissioner Colleen McAleer has organized a meeting for us and local businesses with representatives from various state agencies to talk about business assistance programs. We’ve put out a message through the Chamber of Commerce on this event, which will occur in the Council Chambers from 8 to 10 AM on Monday morning. Interested Councilors are welcome. Just let us know if you are coming so that we can post the meeting, if we have more than three of you planning to attend.
- Representative Kilmer Meeting – Like many of you, I will also be attending the town hall meeting on Monday night at the High School.
- University of Washington – I was asked last summer to team teach a session at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs. It is a Saturday session, occurring on April 8. I’ll be teaching a section, focused on career development, of a local government course in the Master of Public Administration Degree Program, along with the city managers from Mercer Island and Fife, and the City Supervisor from Pullman. I’ve done some lecturing in the past with WSU, Evergreen, Seattle University, and Wittenberg University. Someday, far in the future, I might teach when I retire from active city management. I will not miss any work but wanted you to be aware that I am doing this and will be out of town for the day.
- Pickleball Courts – We are working through some design issues with the Sequim Picklers. Their footprint for regulation courts has increased due to new nationwide standards. We will be briefing the Parks Commission on Monday and may have some follow-up action required with you, depending upon what needs to be done.
- Dr. Appointment in AM on Friday, 3/10 – I have a doctor’s appointment in Downtown Seattle next Friday and will be out during the morning hours.
- Shep Update – Jess and I had our dog, Shep, sedated yesterday in Issaquah to remove an abscessed tooth. It is out, we are home, and he’s on the mend.