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Public Hearing on Budget Amendment

Residents can voice their thoughts on a proposed City of Lakewood budget amendment for 2013 tonight during a public hearing at the Lakewood City Council meeting.

The proposed budget adjustment makes the following types of modifications to the current biennium:

  • Revise the beginning fund balance by adjusting the estimated amount used during the original adopted budget process to reflect the final 2012 ending fund balance
  • Housekeeping adjustments to incorporate items previously approved by Council
  • Reflect projects funded by grants and contributions
  • Changing operating trends and conditions
  • New allocations

Washington state law requires cities that are on a biennial budget cycle perform a mid-biennial review and modification of that budget. The review is to occur no sooner than eight months after the start nor later than the conclusion of the first year of the biennium. The proposed budget amendment is focused primarily on year 2013 with related adjustments to year 2014. We are currently reviewing the 2014 budget in greater detail and will submit to Council a more comprehensive budget adjustment request in April 2014.

The Lakewood City Council conducted a study session on the proposed budget amendment November 25. It is scheduled to discuss the proposed amendment tonight and adopt the budget ordinance Dec. 16.

For more information, visit the Finance Department online at /government/departments/finance .

Statement on Anniversary of Lakewood's Fallen Four

The Lakewood Police Department  issued the following statement regarding the four-year anniversary of the loss of our four Lakewood Police Officers:

Friday, November 29th, marks the 4th anniversary of the loss of Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Greg Richards, and Officer Ronnie Owens. With this date comes memories of our fallen friends, the lives they led, and the sadness their loss brought. However, as we reflect upon our loss we also stand tall with pride in our resiliency as a family, a Police Department, and a community. We owe it to our fallen to grow, be stronger, and be better in the face of adversity. We have done that with the support of our families and communities and we will be forever grateful for that support. From everyone at the Lakewood Police Department, we offer a sincere “Thank You” for the unending support that has helped us to not only survive this tragedy, but to move forward with a determination to never forget and a renewed commitment to making a difference in the lives of those we encounter every day.

Lakewood Police Arrest 2012 Murder Suspect After Stolen-Car Chase

Outstanding suspect in homicide arrested.

Suspect from November 2012 homicide arrested after stolen car pursuit.

At 1:21 a.m., Nov. 24, 2013, a Lakewood patrol officer spotted an occupied stolen vehicle travelling northbound at the 11100 block of Pacific Highway Southwest in Lakewood. When the officer tried to stop the vehicle, the driver took off at a high rate of speed. The vehicle fled at speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour, and an attempt was made to stop the vehicle using stop sticks. The on-duty sergeant eventually terminated the pursuit for safety reasons.

After terminating the pursuit, the officers could see that the vehicle was smoking badly and appeared to not be running anymore. When the officers got up to the vehicle, it was in the middle of the road at the 5000 block of South Tacoma Way. The driver was seen bailing on foot and officers gave chase. The suspect was taken into custody after resisting and fighting with officers.

The vehicle was indeed a confirmed-stolen car, and the driver was identified as 29-year-old Jiffary Mendez. Mendez had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for murder in connection with a November 2012 Lakewood Homicide Investigation. Mendez was interviewed by Lakewood Detectives and eventually booked into the Pierce County Jail on his Murder warrant and Felony Eluding, Resisting Arrest and Possession of Stolen Property.

The warrant was connected to a homicide that occurred on November 12, 2012 at an apartment located at the 5300 block of San Francisco Ave. Southwest in Lakewood. Homicide Detectives arrested three suspects for the murder of Jaime Solis-Diaz in June 2013 after receiving information on the case in February 2013.

Winter’s Here. Are You Ready For It?

Winter’s Here. Are You Ready For It?

The City of Lakewood offers tips for residents on the road and at home

Temperatures are dropping, roads are icy and snow is a real possibility.

The City of Lakewood wants to remind residents to be prepared during extreme wintery conditions this year. Whether it’s at home or on the road, ice and snow can catch anyone off guard.

​In case of a major snowstorm or snow-related emergency, Public Works Director Don Wickstrom says the City has 180 tons of stockpiled salt for de-icing, and that can disintegrate quickly during an emergency. Consider that during the snowy and icy conditions of January 2012, the City used 90 tons of salt in less than a week.

Download High Resolution Snow and Ice Response Map

Conditions could get even more treacherous this year if a major snow or ice storm hits Lakewood. The City will prioritize the most-traveled roads first in terms of its de-icing efforts, including Bridgeport Way, Steilacoom Boulevard and Gravelly Lake Drive. For a map of the City’s Snow and Ice Response Priorities, visit: http://goo.gl/6F3orN .

Residents can prepare for a snow emergency themselves by stocking up on:

  • Food
  • Warm clothes and blankets
  • Flares
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries

It’s also a great idea to keep a cell phone handy.

During extreme conditions, the best tip, according to the Lakewood Police Department, is to stay off the roads if you don’t have to drive. However, if residents are going to get behind the wheel, here are a few tips:

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination
  • Give yourself plenty of driving distance between your car and the one in front of you
  • Make sure your tires, wiper blades and brakes are working properly, and fill up on windshield washer fluid
  • Consider using studded tires or carry tire chains
  • Keep a full tank of gas in case you’re stranded and need to run the heater in your car, as well as have a good car battery
  • Carry a folding shovel and bag of kitty litter for traction if you get stuck. Have snacks, water, blanket and cell phone available.
  • Do not abandon your vehicle unless directed by law enforcement, or if the vehicle is legally parked off the roadway and the driver/passengers have a ride from someone else.

New I-5 auxiliary lane in Lakewood to open in time for turkey

Weather permitting, drivers will have a new auxiliary lane on southbound Interstate 5 between Thorne Lane and Berkeley Avenue in Lakewood starting at 5 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27.

The new auxiliary lane increases the number of southbound I-5 lanes from three to four between the two ramps, giving drivers more room to merge on and off I-5 along that busy stretch of highway.

“The southbound exit to Berkeley Avenue has a history of traffic backups that block the right southbound lane of I-5, especially during morning commutes,” said WSDOT Regional Administrator Kevin Dayton. “This new auxiliary lane gives drivers an area off mainline I-5 to wait for their turn at the signal.”

It is the first step in a larger improvement to alleviate the southbound backups at the exit altogether. Eventually, the City of Lakewood will add a second left-turn lane at the ramp and widen the Freedom Bridge overpass to improve access to Madigan Hospital.

“We recognize how important I-5 is to the area’s economic vitality and this is one example of improving our existing highway operations,” said state Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson. “WSDOT and its regional partners are working on many projects to help reduce traffic congestion along I-5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.”

Increases in traffic congestion prompted WSDOT and local city, county, and JBLM officials to refocus on highway improvements along the I-5 corridor. Over the past decade, populations in Thurston and Pierce counties have grown exponentially and numerous big employers have moved into the area. While populations increased, the interstate steadily approached capacity.

In addition to the new auxiliary lane, WSDOT is in the process of installing new ramp meters, travel time signs and data stations, closed-circuit traffic cameras and variable-message signs along I-5 between State Routes 510 and 512 in Thurston and Pierce counties. These communication devices not only help WSDOT manage traffic, but they provide real-time traffic information to the public. Other efforts to improve highway operations are also underway.

WSDOT was awarded TIGER Grant funding to complete the project.