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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/13/06

October 13, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Lakewood’s Promise:  Mayor Claudia Thomas participated in a conference in Denver this week sponsored by America’s Promise, representing Lakewood as one of the 100 best. She was a speaker and did a presentation to the panel on Municipal and State Action and Leadership: Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth.
  • Wal-Mart Court of Appeals Decision: The City of Lakewood and Wal-Mart received a favorable decision from the US Court of Appeals this week. This brings final resolution to all litigation related to this development.
  • B & I Gang Presentation: Officers Lee and Figueroa presented a power point on Gangs to 25 B & I businesses and six security officers. Gang member overflow from the Star-Lite on weekends has been a concern.
  • WSAMA 2006 Fall Conference: City Attorney Heidi Wachter, Assistant City Attorney Mike McKenzie, and Associate City Attorney Rocio Guerra attended the Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys (WSAMA) 2006 Fall Conference in Spokane last week. Ms. Wachter was the facilitator at a session on Personnel Law and Ms. Guerra was the moderator for the Criminal Law session.
  • Trial Preparation Training: Assistant City Attorney Anita Booker-Hay and Paralegal Cynthia Wright completed the final presentation of a two part series to the Lakewood Police Department providing training to the officers on trial preparation techniques.
  • Police PTO Academy Training: Officers Porche and Carroll taught the PTO Academy in Tacoma to members of the Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup, Milton and Fife Police Departments.
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Ann-Marie Dvorak and Rebecca Hendricks made excellent presentations both to the City Council at their October 2nd meeting and at the All Staff meeting on October 11th regarding Domestic Violence Awareness and accepted a proclamation on behalf of the City declaring October 2006 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
  • Legal Reference Library: The Legal Department has recently updated the Legal Reference Library. The resources are kept in the Legal Department but are available for other departments to check-out as needed.
  • Pierce County Public Hearing on Conservation District Charge: Received notice from the County that they will be holding a public hearing on Oct 31st regarding the reauthorization of the $5 per parcel Conservation District charge. The County originally authorized the fee to be effective over a 3 year period starting January 1st 2004.   At the time Lakewood was supportive and reduced its SWM fee the equivalent amount thus zeroing out any financial impact to our residents and businesses.  The County’s reauthorization proposal if approved is for a 10 year period and it includes all the prior supportive cities.
  • McChord’s Web Site:  McChord’s public web site has recently been upgraded to a standardized Air Force format that includes more information and resources and is easier to navigate.  Some of the information now available online at “http://public.mcchord.amc.af.mil ” includes:  press releases, McChord news and happenings, the weekly Northwest Airlifter, regularly updated base photos, the most recent fiscal year economic influence statement, fact sheets and Space-A travel information and guidelines.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 10/6/06

October 6, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Police Patrol Response Time: The LPD crime analyst has just completed a review of patrol response time to citizen calls for police service for 2005.  It indicates that for priority one calls (imminent danger) the median response time was 3.5 minutes and the 95th percentile was 5.9 minutes; for priority two calls (crime has just occurred immediate danger past) the median was 7 minutes and the 95th percentile was 13.4 minutes; and for priority three calls (crime not recent or service request, not a crime) median was 12 minutes and the 95th percentile was 37.6 minutes.  A graph with more information is attached.
  • Interlaaken Speed Humps: There was a public meeting at Idlewild Elementary school on September 28th with residents and users of Interlaaken regarding our NTCP (Neighborhood Traffic Control Program) proposal to put speed humps on Interlaaken between 104th and Washington.  There were 28 people in attendance (excluding staff). A staff study established that the 85 percentile speed on Interlaaken Dr is 9.9 MPH above the posted speed of 25 MPH.  Staff confirmed that the County lowered the posted speed limit to 25 MPH in order to meet established vertical site distance safety standards due to the dips in the road profile.  Staff confirmed that even under today’s standards 25 MPH is still the appropriate posted speed limit.  Residents asserted that speed-related accidents are occurring there.  Police concurred that accidents do occur there (2 last month).  Staff’s analysis of recent installation of speed humps on Tower Rd supports that they work.  Because no new issues were raised by the users of Interlaaken Dr., Public Works will proceed with the speed hump installation.  (A draft of the minutes of both the public meeting and the 9/26/06 CTRC meeting where this issue was discussed are in the council packet.)
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department coordination: Senior staff met this week in the city manager’s office with the director of health and environmental health manager to discuss issues regarding septic systems in Tillicum and American Lake Gardens in relation to the City’s sewer extension project, and to coordinate response to issues of water quality.
  • Bids for Local Improvement District: Advertising for bids for the construction of LID 1108 Street (S Tacoma Way/112th St SW/34th Ave) Improvements associated with the Panattoni development were posted.  Bid opening date is October 10th.
  • Annual Business Retention Visit: Joe Hannan, City economic development administrator, and Kevin Clegg of Pierce County Economic Development made an annual business retention visit this week to Armour manufacturing on Durango. Armour has five employees and manufactures specialized containers and airfield commercial and military equipment for Boeing. The business has operated since 1988 and has sales in excess of $350,000 with plans for expansion; they have challenges finding qualified employees and asked for help resolving right of way and utility easements in advance of new building construction. The company is the landlord to several adjoining manufacturing, service and distribution businesses along their busy stretch of Durango.
  • Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful Certificate of Appreciation: Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful Director Sallie Shawl presented the City of Lakewood with a Certificate of Appreciation for City employees who participated in the Paint-Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful Project. Over 2,000 volunteers and more than 50 local businesses and foundations contributed time, resources or financial support to help paint 84 homes throughout the area over the summer months. The following assisted with the Paint Lakewood Beautiful: Cassey Jankowiak and husband Rick, along with Cassey’s parents, brother and cousins; Mary Dodsworth, daughter Emily and son James; Debra Young and husband Roger; Joe Sandall and wife Donna; Melissa Wagner. Lakewood Lowe’s donated all the supplies except the paint.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/22/06

September 22, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Public Meeting regarding Interlaaken speeding: On September 28th from 6:30-8:30 PM, the Public Works Department in conjunction with the Citizens Transportation Review Committee will hold a public meeting at the Idlewild Elementary School to discuss with the citizens and/or users of Interlaaken Dr the department’s proposal to install speed humps as a traffic calming measure.
  • City Prosecutor wins case at Court of Appeals: Rocio Guerra, of our Legal department, was successful this week in the matter of a prosecution of a DUI offense that had been appealed to the State Court of Appeals. The Court reversed the Superior Court and reinstated the Municipal Court conviction.
  • Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) Grant: The City was notified by Senator Murray’s office this week that the Police Department has been awarded a GREAT grant for $216,806 from the U.S. Justice Department. The program is a life-skills competency program destined to provide students with the skills they need to avoid gang pressure and youth violence. The City will use GREAT funds for officers in the Clover Park School District.
  • Crime Stats: Crime data for August (attached) reflects a 16.8% increase in felony violent crime over 2005 through August. LPD has produced 74 gang-related arrests through September 15th, and members of the gang task force have noted a marked decline recently in gang-related activity. Although up overall for the year, there was a marked decline in violent crime in the months of July and August.  Conversely property crime in Lakewood is down 27.6% over last year. Beginning in May property crime rates increased somewhat, perhaps associated with the need to refocus priorities on gang-related crime. However rates have not increased to the level experienced in 2005 for the same period.
  • Traffic Accident Analysis: An analysis of traffic accidents between January - August 2005 and 2006 (attached) indicates accidents are down 12%.  We cautiously attribute this to our school zone enforcement program.  In support of this we note that the only month of sharp increase in 2006 was June - the month during which we switched photo radar vendors.  During the transition there was no school zone enforcement for three weeks.  This chart will be added to our monthly crime report in the future. 

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/29/06

September 29, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager
  • Building permits issued. The building permit for the Sound Transit parking garage was issued this week; permit valuation was $17,000,000. The building permit for Titus-Will/Lakewood Ford is ready to be issued; permit valuation is $6,500,000, and construction is anticipated to begin in early October 2006.
  • Lakes High School. City and CPSD staff have initiated preliminary project review for the Lakes High School remodeling/reconstruction.
  • Landmarks & Heritage Advisory Board (LHAB). In its meeting this week the LHAB discussed a historic marker/ way finding program for Fort Steilacoom Park.  LHAB will present the way-finding marker proposal to a combined meeting of the PAB and PRAB in October.  The Boatman-Ainsworth house was also discussed; this structure is historically significant and could be in jeopardy.  The Council will receive a presentation on the subject in the near future.
  • Lifeguard program. The City’s lifeguard program, based at Harry Todd Park and American Lake Park, has ended for the season.  Lifeguards performed several ‘saves’ during the summer and were proactive in managing large groups of park visitors.
  • Fort Steilacoom Park events. Over 800 military personnel enjoyed activities in Fort Steilacoom Park on September 20th.  Promoted as an organizational day, the 42nd military police brigade from Fort Lewis enjoyed a BBQ and participated in sports and games throughout the day.  About 3,000 people shared space at Fort Steilacoom Park on September 16th as the Lakewood Soccer Club worked with its young soccer players and Lakes High School hosted the largest high school invitational cross country meet in the state.   Parks and Recreation staff assisted with logistics, and received compliments for its ability to coordinate these different activities and facilitate the parking, scheduling, routing and clean up associated with so many participants. Over 40 people gathered at the park this week to discuss the first six months of operation of the park’s dog park area.  They were very complimentary to City staff for their maintenance of this section of the park, and provided great input for improving the site in the future.
  • Senior activities. Two vans of active older adults from the Lakewood Senior Activity Center toured the Black Diamond Museum and Bakery last week.
  • Cooperative Efforts by Cities in Managing Wages and Benefits. As part of AWC’s WAPELRA (Washington State Public Employers Labor Relations Association) Fall Conference, HR Director Debi Young led a discussion group entitled “Cooperative Efforts in Local Governments in Managing Wages and Benefits”. References were made to the reports presented to the Pierce County-area city managers group.
  • Alfaretta House tour. 63 people from the Alfaretta House took a City Hall tour on September 29th.   There were 48 students and 15 adults accompanying them.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 9/15/06

September 15, 2006
To:     Mayor and Members of the City Council
From:Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Railroad Point Defiance By-Pass Project: Public Works attended this week a pre environment scoping meeting with WSDOT Rail Division regarding their Rail Pt Defiance (Lakewood) By Pass project.    The rail project, which is fully funded ($59,000,000), will reconstruct the existing tracks and rail bed from Bridgeport Way to the existing connection point with the main line in the Nisqually valley and construct a new track paralleling Sounder’s track from Bridgeport Way (including crossing Bridgeport way) to just south of 66th St. All street crossings along the route will be upgraded with flashing lights, crossing gates and etc.  The reconstruction and new construction will be designed to handle trains speeds of up to 79 MPH in the urban areas and 129 MPH is the rural areas.  The purpose of the project is to improve Amtrak Cascade’s service, making it faster, more on time, reliable and safer. Amtrak will run 8 trains a day over the upgraded Lakewood route.  Construction is scheduled to start in fall of 2007 and be completed in mid 2008.  Usage is predicated upon Sound Transit’s completion of their grade separation work in Tacoma.
  • John School Report: The City of Lakewood has had a steady decline in prostitution arrests over the past few years and a good drop since the “John School” program began.
    • 2003 arrests: 196
    • 2004 arrests: 265
    • 2005 arrests: 174 (The John School started in November 2005)
    • 2006 arrests: 78   (on pace to finish the year with 117)
    Sgt. John Unfred, who coordinated the program, noted the he has only seen one prostitute walking in Lakewood since returned to Patrol in July. Special Ops has also noticed a sharp decline in the number of prostitutes walking the streets of Lakewood. Tacoma and Pierce County seem to be having quite a bit of activity along Pacific Ave.
  • New K-9 Team: Officer Jim Syler and new K-9 Officer Astor passed their State Certification as a generalist K9 team and are now able to take real calls.  They have some additional training they want to complete over the next several weeks, but will remain available for applications during that time.
  • School Zone Photo Enforcement Radar: The LPD photo radar team issued 656 school zone speeding infractions in just the first 3 days of school. The motor officers wrote another 113 NOIs in those 3 days. The message is: SLOW DOWN!
  • Annual Business Retention Meetings: City staff and EDB (Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board) staff conducted several business retention meetings this week. One of the companies interviewed was Thrift Recycling, an internet reseller of used books. The company employs 51 workers in its 40,000 sq. ft. Lakewood Industrial Park warehouse and has an additional 12 in the corporate headquarters on Lakewood Drive. The Company opened two new warehouses in the past 12 months (Atlanta and Hammond, Indiana). The company sells approximately 4,000 books on line each day. The company plans to expand over the next year. Another company interviewed was Richards Packaging to discuss current operations, future prospects and work challenges. Richards has been in the Lakewood Industrial Park for 10 years and employs 40 staff in the production of plastics bottles for food and pharmaceutical industry. Its business is doing well and he hopes for significant expansion to the 24 hour/seven day a week operation. The company employs a multi-cultural workforce that poses unique challenges, but reports a very low employee turnover.
  • West Nile Virus Precautions: With the recent confirmed case of the Nile Virus we have contacted the Tacoma/Pierce Co Health Department to determine what if anything the City should be doing regarding its storm water facilities. Because it’s late in the season for mosquito breeding and the fact that all but two of our ponds are dry, they have preliminarily said no action is necessary. As a precautionary measure we will install mosquito traps for sampling and testing purposes at the two ponds.
  • ICMA Annual Conference:   The city manager attended the annual International City Managers Conference this week in San Antonio, with over 3,900 attendees from most states and numerous other countries. Workshops included civic engagement, emotional intelligence (EQ), performance management, public safety, sustainable economic development, and city communication with constituents.