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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/16/07

February 16, 2007
WEEKLY INFO BULLETIN
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lakewood Refuse Service Rates: Lakewood Refuse Service has submitted its revised rates for garbage/recycling/yard waste services which will go into effect March 1st.  The contract allows for an automatic annual increase related to either a change in the Consumer Price Index for the area or a change in the disposal fee. The new rates incorporate both a CPI increase of 2.513% and disposal fee increase of $5.93 per ton resulting in an average net increase of approximately 5% to the residential customer.
  • AWC Legislative Conference: The city manager and Government Relations/Communications Director attended the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Legislative conference in Olympia this week.  Governor Gregoire presented her priorities in the areas of education, economic development, and health care, and the legislative leadership of both parties also presented to the group of city representatives from around the State.  Staff was able to schedule meetings with 5 of our 6 legislators and our lobbyists.
  • Military Affairs Committee:  Councilmember Richardson presented a PowerPoint presentation on the Berk Report on military lands annexation feasibility to the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee.  There were about 40 people in attendance, including representatives from McChord AFB, Fort Lewis, Rep. Adam Smith’s and Dave Reichert’s offices, and Pierce County.  Questions were raised about the issue as a federal not local problem, partial land acquisition, timing, phasing, and fiscal impacts.
  • Traffic Signal Changes: Traffic signals on Gravelly Lake Dr between 112th St to Mt Tacoma Dr.  will be switched starting this Sunday night/Monday morning to flashing lights (red on the side street and yellow on Gravelly Lake Drive except for the 100th St signal which will be red on all directions) between the hours 10:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:00 midnight. to 5:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. We are doing this in response to a number of citizen complaints about the long side street wait times during night hours.
  • Helen Tucker Slater Litigation: A defense verdict was received in the Helen Tucker Slater litigation this week, which was a win for the City.  Ms. Slater originally sued the City on a variety of grounds with claims stemming from her termination as a Victim Advocate in the Legal Department in 2002.  The City was represented by insurance defense counsel and the City’s witnesses included a number of City employees.  A debriefing is planned to review any “lessons learned” either from the case itself or from feedback we are able to collect from the jury.
  • Angle Traffic Calming Meeting: On March 6th, at Idlewild Elementary School from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Public Works will hold a neighborhood meeting with residents and users of Angle Lane to discuss traffic calming options.  Speeding on Angle Lane has apparently been a long standing issue with the neighborhood.  Traffic studies have confirmed that under the City’s Neighborhood Traffic Control program, action is warranted.  Because police enforcement emphasis has failed, we have now progressed to the Phase II stage of the program which involves an engineered solution.  Options have been presented to the neighborhood via a survey involving 120 residences.  60 responses were received with the order of preference as follows:  install sidewalks, raise speed limit to 30 mph, install speed hump(s), install curbing along edge of roadway, install traffic circle(s), install center island narrowing(s) and install chicanes.  The purpose of the meeting is to inform the citizens of the issue and possible solutions and to provide another opportunity for input.
  • Jackson Case Update: The AdreAnna Jackson investigation remains a major priority for the Lakewood Police Department’s Homicide unit.  Part of the ongoing investigation is to elicit leads and tips from the public at large.  The LPD Homicide unit, with the assistance of the FBI, has been trying to get the reward ($60,000) information and the request for assistance to the public through bulletin boards.  Clear Channel Corporation was contacted and has agreed to donate four bulletin boards in the area and will produce and install them.  This works out to be a $100-150,000 donation. The anticipated roll out date of the first billboard will be around March 7th and the unveiling will be announced through a press conference.  We are hopeful that individuals with knowledge in this case will come forward.
  • Follow-up from domestic violence stakeholders' meetings: A bill has been introduced into the Washington State Legislature by the Attorney General that would make assault by strangulation a Class B Felony crime. Since its inception, LPD has handled strangulation cases as second degree assaults, and our officers have been trained to investigate strangulation cases and understand the seriousness of this type of crime and the potential for lethality to the victim. The passage of this bill should prove helpful to the prosecution of these cases since it is likely that more of these cases will be charged at the felony level.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/2/07

February 2, 2007
WEEKLY INFO BULLETIN
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Abatement Achievement: The City’s nuisance abatement program has scored another success in the Tillicum neighborhood.  Many months ago a fire at 14805 Portland Avenue SW caused extensive structural damage to the house located there.  The building had been boarded up, but over time it had become insect- infested and trespassers had begun entering the building. The building was posted with a notice and order to abate this dangerous building, but the owner had not taken action.  Renewed enforcement efforts were taken by the City’s Abatement Team, a unified work group consisting of representatives from the police, building, code enforcement, fire and legal departments.  The Team has pending enforcement actions filed again approximately two dozen commercial and residential properties throughout the City.  The Team’s fundamental mission is to preserve the public safety and health in business and residential districts by removal of dangerous and blighted conditions.  As soon as this building was demolished, the City received an inquiry from a developer as to whether this property was available for sale.  The property owner, however, has announced tentative plans to build a new residential structure at this location. While the team seeks to achieve voluntary compliance from property owners, it is also prepared to act when a property owner refuses or is unable to resolve such problems.  Currently the Team has three buildings scheduled for demolition and is in the process of obtaining contractor bids for the performance of such work.
  • January Building Permits: For January, 2007, the Community Development Department issued building permits for over $11.4 million dollars in new construction activity.
  • Utility Coordination: The city manager and senior staff met this week with the heads of Lakewood’s development-related utilities – Pierce County Sewers, Lakewood Water, Lakeview Power, TPU, Puget Sound Energy, and Lakewood Fire – in a first-time group effort as a means to provide overall coordination of development planning at the “big picture” level and to discuss the City’s long-range development plans. It was a productive meeting which helped to supplement the project-specific coordination meetings already taking place.
  • Crime Free Housing: The Police Department has recently completed a "re-engineering" of the crime free housing training seminar, which is the one-and-a-half day class provided at no cost to rental housing property owners and managers every two months.  We just recently completed a very successful class with thirteen in attendance, and attendee reviews were uniformly positive.  Additionally, CSO Chuck Matthews, the class coordinator, received a thank you card afterwards from one of the attendees with the following comment:  “Thanks for an outstanding crime-free multi-housing program seminar.... I got a lot out of it and am very grateful and appreciative of the program and its contents. The jokes really weren’t that bad either. Thanks for taking such great care of me/us and thanks for the program itself!!"  LPD cordially extend the invitation to any councilmember to attend a session or a graduation ceremony.
  • Serious Domestic Violence Incident: On January 30th at 1217 hours, officers responded to a DV with a knife.  Upon arrival the victim was able to step away from the suspect and the armed suspect retreated back into his apartment.  The suspect got angry with his father and pulled a box cutter type knife on him and thrust it at him in a threatening manner.  LPD negotiators attempted to talk the suspect into surrendering for over three hours with no luck, and eventually LPD deployed gas into the apartment. Within minutes the suspect surrendered without incident.  Mental Health Professionals were on scene and escorted the ambulance to a secure facility to have the suspect medically placed and held.  LPD has forwarded a report to prosecutors to charge Attempted DV Assault 2nd Degree.  It was a group effort, and all of traffic, all NPO’s and some SRO’s assisted patrol with this call and containment.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 1/19/07

January 19, 2007
WEEKLY INFO BULLETIN
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • LESA Contract: The Law Enforcement Support Agency (LESA) Board unanimously approved this week a five-year contract with the City of Lakewood for police dispatch and records services, including transition to 800 MHZ. The mayor’s appointment of Councilmember Doug Richardson, who is the Public Safety Advisory Committee liaison, as LESA advisory boardmember was also approved by the LESA Board.
  • Crime Stoppers Tip Received: LPD received a Crime Stoppers tip on John “JD” Davis, who was in yesterday’s paper after TPD got a warrant for him for 2 counts of Assault 1st from a shooting about 6 months ago.  He was located at 5221 San Francisco and taken into custody without incident.  He was booked for the TPD warrant and other warrants.
  • Port presentation to PAB: The Planning Advisory Board conducted a meeting on January 17th at which Port of Tacoma officials presented onindustrial warehouse development trends occurring within the greater Pierce County region and intermodal rail transportation.
  • Wal-Mart: Wal-Mart and Anchor Bank were issued conditional certificates of occupancy today, which allow Wal-Mart and Anchor Bank, a tenant within the Wal-Mart building to conduct business.  There are some minor street improvements remaining to be installed and/or corrected, therefore, a cash guarantee was required.  All street improvements are to be completed within 30 calendar days.  Community Development required submission of a landscaping audit no later than March 12th due to storm-damaged landscaping.  The applicant may be required to replace landscaping as required by the City, no later than April 3rd.
  • Communications/Gov’t Relations Director: Jeff Brewster has been appointed to this position effective February 1st. Major Brewster was on city staff previously, and left in 2001 to serve the US Army Reserve Command, where he’s been stationed as Policy Plans and Training Officer in Atlanta since 2005.  He has an MPA from University of Washington.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 1/26/07

January 26, 2007
WEEKLY INFO BULLETIN
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lakewood – 100 Best Community for Young People: America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth announced that Lakewood is a winner, for the second time, of the national competition to identify the 100 Best Communities for Young People. The 100 Best competition honors communities for their commitment to provide healthy, safe and caring environments for young people. Hundreds of communities in all 50 states took part in the competition. Lakewood is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part, because several schools serving high percentages of low-income students have made double-digit gains in test scores over the past four years.  Five small learning communities were created with support from the Gates Foundation to provide a more personalized high school education. The results are dramatic. The district's graduation rate increased from 56.1% to 66.9% from 2004 to 2005. A complete list of winners can be found at www.americaspromise.org.
  • Pandemic Flu Planning Conference: HR Director Debi Young, Chief Saunders, and Lt. Mauer attended a King County- sponsored Pandemic Flu Planning Conference in Tukwila as part of the City’s on-going emergency management process.
  • MLK Award Presentation: Lakewood’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance Committee held the 4th annual observance on January 13th, and  Chief Saunders was presented the first Lakewood Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award.
  • City Hosts Regional Legal Taxing Meeting: On January 25th, the City’s Legal Department hosted a meeting of attorneys and professionals involved in state and local taxing issues, including representatives from the Department of Revenue and municipal attorneys from throughout Washington.  Distant jurisdictions participated via speaker phone.  This group was recently formed to discuss current tax and tax enforcement issues pertaining to local jurisdictions, such as classification of taxes and taxes upon new technologies.  As Lakewood is a location central to most of the participants, this group will meet again at City Hall in May of 2007.

    LEGAL DEPARTMENT 2006 YEAR END STATISTICS

    Ordinances Prepared

    38

    Resolutions Prepared

    42

    Legal Opinions Prepared

    19

    Contracts Reviewed

    246

    RALJ Appeals Filed

    15

    Forfeiture Hearings Handled

    76

    US Currency Seized

    $369,643.13

    US Currency Forfeited

    $187,425.35*

    Criminal Cases Filed

    3,112

    Infractions Filed

    9,460

    Photo Infractions Filed

    11,482
    John School Referrals
    34

    Domestic Violence Cases

    878

    Domestic Violence Referrals

    1,378

    Legal Employees

    14

                                                                                       *Add'l $180,000 Pending Decision from Superior Court

  • Domestic Violence Statistics: The statistics for Domestic Violence cases that were prosecuted in Lakewood Municipal Court for the period of April 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006 are as follows:
    • 48% resulted in convictions.
    • 32% resulted in deferrals/stipulations.
    • 14% dismissed
    • Less than 1% resulted in an acquittal.
    • 6% were bargained for pleas on other cases.
    Accordingly, 85% of the cases have resulted in some level of batterer accountability, i.e. treatment, probation, abiding by a NCO (no contact order).
  • Washington Traffic Safety Commission Speed Pilot Project: Lakewood officers are participating in Phase Two of the East Pierce County Speed Pilot Project which is funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The emphasis began on January 25, 2007 and will continue into February. The goal is to reduce speed- related collisions, more specifically, speed-related fatal collisions. LPD officers will join police agencies from other cities within Pierce County in this massive campaign to slow traffic to safer speed limits. A public relations effort is underway to advise motorists of extra patrols and inform them of the joint effort. Each motorist stopped will receive a pamphlet explaining the reason for the speed program and background on why multiple agencies are participating in the event. Upwards of 70 extra officers per day will be deployed.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 1/12/07

January 12, 2007
WEEKLY INFO BULLETIN
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Traffic Accident Reductions: Final figures indicate a 16% reduction of collisions in Lakewood from 1,308 in 2005 to 1,094 in 2006. The decrease was more substantial until the recent period of bad weather in November and December.
  • All Hazard Radios: The state Department of Emergency Management has provided all schools in the state with NOAA "all hazards radios." Lakewood PD volunteer Mike Kanter and Lakewood citizen Terry Mason, both members of the Pierce County Citizen Corps Council, have volunteered to set up the radios in all Clover Park District schools.  All hazards radios provide continuous weather information directly from the National Weather Service and are a single source for comprehensive weather and emergency information.  Emergency information includes warning and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety (such as AMBER alerts).
  • City Manager’s “State of the City”: The city manager presented a “state of the city” speech to Lakewood United and also the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce on January 4th. The program highlighted progress made in 2006, and emphasized four areas for 2007 priorities: customer service, public safety, economic development, and communication. Reference was made to the newsletter, Lakewood University, the upcoming community summit on February 24th, and the new on-line customer service system about to be launched.
  • Seizure Money: The Special Operations unit of the Lakewood Police Department seized $361K in assets in 2006. A net amount of $148,480 related to narcotics investigations has been banked for 2006. The money is the result of direct cash seizures and property converted for department use or auction. This figure is reported to the State of Washington and the City pays ten percent of this figure to them. Remaining seizure assets are either not narcotics related or still pending the completion of seizure hearings.
  • Joint Legislative Task Force on Prison Reform: As the representative of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) on this issue, Chief Saunders testified on January 11th in favor of the pending legislation sponsored by Senators Carrell and Regala to reform state prison and offender community re-entry.    He has participated for the past year in the joint legislative task force and as co-chair of the sub-committee studying community transition and state/local partnerships. He also represented the City of Lakewood on this issue.
  • Lake City Neighborhood Meeting: On January 11th, the Lakewood Police and Community Development departments conducted a neighborhood meeting in Lake City, with 11 residents in attendance.  The neighborhood had been experiencing some problems with a legal nonconforming business and was seeking advice on how to address such topics as vehicle storage, right-of-way violations, and noise.
  • Community Development Director passes mid-century milestone: Director David Bugher celebrated his 50th birthday this week on January 11th, and the department staff agreed to wear sweater vests in his honor.
  • Building and Development Activity Recap: The following chart is a summary of progress made in development activity in 2006.

    Community Development Department 2006 Year-End Statistics

    1.           New construction valuation:

    $87,845,546

    2.           Total number of building permit applications submitted: 

    1,909

    3.           Total number of building permit applications issued: 

    1,698

    4.           Percentage of building permits issued the same day as the application date: 

     
    43%

    5.           Percentage of building permits issued within 10 days of the application date: 

     
    57%

    6.           Percentage of building permits issued within 30 days of the application date: 

     
    80%

    7.           Total number of land use/planning permit applications submitted: 

    355

    8.           Total number of land use/planning permit applications issued: 

    273

    9.           Number of Permit Counter Walk-in clients: 

    12,020

    10.       Number of telephone calls received by the community development department:

     
    14,036

    11.       Number of business license renewal applications processed: 

    4,060

    12.       Number of building inspections performed: 

    5,077

    13.       Number of Hearing Examiner hearings:

    10
    14.       Number of department employees:
    21