Sign up for weekly news updates .

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 11/20/09

November 20, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood Municipal Court hosts Pierce County Regional Court Management Meeting: Lakewood Municipal Court director Kathy Westerdahl and senior court specialist Deana Wright hosted a Pierce County Regional Court Management Meeting in Lakewood City Hall on November 17th. Issues discussed included Mutual Uniformed Interpreter Payment Agreements. Currently, interpreters have no state guidelines and can charge what the market will bear. The intent is to reduce costs and control ever-increasing interpreter fees. An Interpreters Forum will be scheduled after the first of the year for Court Management and Interpreters to meet as we roll out this change in fee payment. Attending in addition to court management was our Jury Liaison from the Office of the Administrator of the Courts. Also discussed were budget impacts affecting all courts in the state and innovative methods different courts are using to address them. This is the second regional meeting that Lakewood has hosted.
  • HR Director assists with Public Employer Labor Relations Program: Lakewood human resources director (and WAPELRA boardmember) Debra Young assisted with facilitating the Winter Program for Washington Public Employer Labor Relations Association (WAPELRA) in Issaquah on November 13th. Topics included Working Green, Labor Relations Sharing, and Innovations in Human Resources. HR staff from Western Washington attended.
  • Staff to attend 2010 Census Complete Count Committee Conference: The City's human services coordinator and IS (Info Systems) manager participated at the 2010 Census Complete Count Committee conference in Spokane on November 13th. The focus of the conference was to provide increased opportunities for learning from other communities on how to effectively reach "hard to count" communities/pockets of individuals that traditionally do not complete their census materials. Earlier this year, both employees worked together to form a Complete Count Committee in Lakewood comprised of non-profit providers who helped create a plan for disseminating information about the importance of completing the 2010 Census. This same team applied for and received a grant to create T-shirts in English and Spanish for distribution at events in an effort to bring the Census logo into areas not traditionally reached. Information on the census effort is available on the City of Lakewood website at /community.html.
  • 100 Thanksgiving meals to be provided by Police partnering with Great American Casino: CSO Dawn McGinnis, on behalf of the LPIG Charity as the Procurement Director, is partnering with the Great American Casino to provide 100 Thanksgiving meals to Lakewood families in need. LPD Command Staff supplied four turkeys toward the effort and Great American Casino is providing all the side dishes and doing all the cooking. The NPO/CSO unit identified the families who will receive the meals and they will also be delivering them on November 25th. 100 families in Lakewood will be able to enjoy a wonderful meal that otherwise would not have been possible.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 11/13/09

November 13, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Tillicum Centennial "Thursday Night Live at Tillie's": The Tillicum community hosed a special event on November 12th to raise funds for the upcoming Centennial celebration in August 2010. About 200 people bought tickets and attended a dinner with live entertainment by trumpeter Don Podraza and the Lakewood Playhouse Youth Theatre. Representing the City in attendance were economic development manager Ellie Chambers-Grady, communications director Jeff Brewster, CSO Mike Miller, ass't city manager David Bugher, and the city manager.
  • Western Real Estate Business features Lakewood: In its November issue, the Western Real Estate Business journal featured Lakewood's readiness for development and included a photo of Lakewood City Hall on its cover.
  • Waste Connections coordination: The city manager, ass't city manager, and public works director met with the division vice president of Waste Connections and the manager of its local Lakewood Refuse company to plan for the greater involvement by our refuse utility in the City's code enforcement and abatement emphasis.
  • Fort Lewis Road Closure: Fort Lewis will close an 8,000-foot section of North Gate Road SW, also known as Huggins Meyers Road SW, which is outside of the North Fort D Street Gate beginning November 16th. The gate will be closed for 45 days for repair and resurfacing. The road must be closed during the construction period because it is too narrow to keep one lane open and safely do the work while traffic passes in the opposite lane. Signs announcing the road closure will be in place on November 9th.
  • City Planner attends Community Forestry Conference: Associate planner Beth Jorgenson attended the Partners in Community Forestry conference held in Portland early this week and brought back information to help Lakewood citizens understand the importance and benefits of maintaining and retaining our community's trees, and to encourage property owners to plant more trees. The Community Development department would like to strengthen the City's urban forestry efforts and develop programs appropriate to the City that protect and develop the city's unique tree resources.
  • City Receives AWC 2009-2010 Mini-Grant: The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) awarded the City of Lakewood a "mini-grant" for 2009-2010 to support the Wellness Committee to purchase a new bicycle for the City's fitness room. A number of employees participated in the health questionnaire process.
  • City recognized for supporting the Guard and Reserve: The City of Lakewood was presented an "Above and Beyond" award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) during this week's City Council meeting. The award was presented by the Washington Air National Guard commander, Brigadier General Gary Magonigle and ESGR State Chairman, James Shepherd for exceptional support of city employees serving in the reserve components. Currently, two city employees are mobilized and deployed. One is a member of the Washington Air Guard in Afghanistan and the other in a member of the Washington Army National Guard serving in the Philippines. The presentation was a part of the City's Veterans Recognition Event. Photos from the event can be seen online at

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 10/23/09

October 23, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood Officer is Auto Theft "Detective of the Year": Sergeant Jeff Alwine has been selected as the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority (WATPA) Auto Theft Detective of the Year. The awards presentation luncheon will be held at the WATPA 1st Annual Auto Theft Conference at Campbell's Resort in Chelan on November 5th at noon. Both Sergeant Alwine and Investigator Rick Barnard will participate in this 3-day training event.
  • Truck and Tractor Day: What's better for a little kid than getting to spend a Saturday morning climbing onto, into and over a fire truck, garbage truck, tractor, army jeep or any other "big toy"? For 75 children and their parents, there was nothing better than the City's 4th Annual Truck and Tractor Day event held last weekend in Fort Steilacoom Park. The rainy skies dried up and families enjoyed decorating pumpkins, taking a hay ride around Lake Waughop and getting 'up close and personal' with big trucks and tractors. We appreciate the support of Gene's Towing, Lakeview Light and Power, LeMay, Ft. Lewis, Lakewood Police, Lakewood Fire, Dan Hess, and the Lakewood Parks and Recreation Department staff and volunteers for helping with this event.
  • Police Outreach to Youth in Lakeview and NE Lakewood: Officers Herritt and Vale and CSOs Pressel and McGinnis handed out stickers, coloring books, free Subway sandwiches, and stuffed animals to about 80 youth and 40 parents in the Lakeview area on September 23rd, a "Weed and Seed" event designed to build positive relationships with the youth of Lakewood. The same event was replicated on October 7th with Officer Figueroa and CSO McGinnis in northeast Lakewood where they contacted about 90 youth and 45 parents.
  • Special Olympics Police Fundraiser at Seahawks Game: A team of Lakewood police officers including Andy Suver, Joe Kolp, Dennis Folk, Charles Porche and Andy Gildehaus, along with family and friends, sold programs at the Seattle Seahawks game on October 18th -- as a Special Olympics fundraiser. 100% of the program sales went to the Special Olympics and was matched by the Paul Allen Foundation. The LPD team raised almost $4,000 and will be back at it again on November 8th when the Seahawks play the Detroit Lions. The total amount raised was about $30,000 for Special Olympics Washington.
  • City Receives Grant for Bulletproof Vests: Lakewood Police were awarded $18,442 from the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant, a federal grant which covers 50% of the cost for a new bulletproof vest for full and limited commission officers.
  • Veterans Recognition Event on Nov 9: The City will conduct a military veterans recognition event at the City Council's November 9th study session at 7pm. This will be followed by a presentation and discussion of the Point Defiance Bypass project (Amtrak) with WSDOT.
  • Budget Schedule: The City's final budget workshop is scheduled for Monday, October 26th at 7pm at the Lakewood Police Station. The public hearing for the budget is scheduled for the following Monday, November 2nd, at 7pm in the Council chambers. The Council is scheduled to vote on the 2010 budget and the mill levy rate during its November 16th meeting.
  • Ass't City Manager presents info to Southgate and Oakwood parents: Community Development Director/Asst City Manager David Bugher presented land use information on October 20th to a meeting of parents of Southgate Elementary School about railroad plans for both Sound Transit and possibly Amtrak, and also to Oakwood Elementary parents about the Air Corridor restrictions which apply to that neighborhood in NE Lakewood. Both schools are being reviewed as part of the Clover Park School District facilities planning process. Mayor Richardson moderated the meeting, which was attended by the school superintendent and the city manager.
  • City Manager meets with Lakewood Sister Cities Association: On October 22nd, the city manager and Economic Development manager Ellie Chambers-Grady met with about 10 members of the Lakewood Sister Cities Association to discuss the City's support and the need for an increase in membership and volunteer leadership. The city manager agreed to arrange meetings with our two colleges and the Lakewood chamber of commerce to pursue community resources.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 10/30/09

October 30, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Pac Hwy (Ponders) Project Bids Opened: Public Works opened bids on October 27th for the construction of the Pacific Hwy Street improvement project Phase IV from Bridgeport Way to Gravelly Lake Drive (Ponders). 14 bids were received with the low bid 25% below the engineer's estimate. Award of the construction contract will be recommended for approval at the November 2nd Council meeting. Pubic Works plans to hold an "open house" project meeting on Thursday, November 12th, 4:30 PM to 6 PM at City Hall, for all the fronting property owners and businesses, to provide information and to answer questions about the project.
  • Public Works Applies For Energy Efficiency Grant: The State recently had a call for energy efficiency grant projects not to exceed $75,000. The grant projects were limited to planning-type efforts. Public Works applied for a $75,000 grant in association with implementing its traffic signal system controller and communication system upgrade project. If we're successful, this grant will increase what we originally anticipated could be accomplished under the federal grant received earlier for this project.
  • Sewer Project status report:
    • Tillicum - next week the Contractor will be starting down Berkeley Street (from Portland Avenue and continuing southeast). The south part of Portland Avenue from Portland Avenue to West Thorne Lane will get its base layer of asphalt in the next two weeks (weather dependent). Construction continues on the north part of Portland Avenue.
    • Woodbrook - work continues on 150th Street - with traffic being detoured onto 146th Street between Spring Street and Woodbrook Drive. Delay obtaining force main vaults will keep 146th Street gravel for at least 2-3 more weeks.
    • 150th Street - east of the City limits. (Note: this is unrelated to the sewer project). Fort Lewis will be closing down a portion of 150th Street east of the City limits for most of November for roadway repairs. Fort Lewis sent out a media release and has posted variable message signs on each end of the closure to inform drivers.
  • Lakewood's probation officer graduates top of the class: Lakewood Municipal Court Probation Counselor Darrell Knoedler graduated on October 16th from the State Misdemeanant Probation Counselor Academy. He obtained the highest overall score in his class.
  • Local Woman Pleads Guilty To Running Theft Ring In Lakewood: After a lengthy LPD investigation including audio and video recordings, Mary Coleman is pleading guilty to trafficking in stolen property and looking at a minimum of 14 months in prison. She had several boosters working for her in the Lakewood/Tacoma area that were stealing new release DVD's. She would pay from $5 to $7 for each DVD that was retailing for $20 to $35, and she would receive on average 125 to 150 DVD's a week and over 200 on a good week. She would then sell the DVD's at the Starlite Swap Meet for $12 to $15 each. We have also recovered over 2,000 DVD's during search warrants served on her residence and vehicles. The Target store, who provided all of the alleged stolen DVD's we sold to Coleman, has noted a 50% drop in DVD thefts in the area since the arrest and shutting down of this ring.
  • Make A Difference Day - October 24: This year's celebration of Make a Difference Day in the City of Lakewood was decidedly youth oriented. In spite of the deployment to Iraq of our Community Connector, the 4/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, we did have about a dozen soldiers and their family members participate this year. We also had a group of 20-25 ninth graders from the Puyallup School District as well as Cub Scout Pack 53 from the Little Church on the Prairie and students from the Clover Park Key Club. In all, there were 60-65 volunteers who attended the Kick-Off event with another 40-45 joining us at the project sites for a total of 125-150 volunteers including site coordinators and leaders. The projects this year included: a food drive at the Kick-Off event for the Emergency Food Network, brush clearing, clean-up of Scotch broom, and replacing cemetery markers at Fort Steilacoom Park, clothes-sorting for Caring for Kids, pumpkin-decorating at the Fire Department pumpkin patch, and spreading wood chips at the Blueberry Farm. Our partners this year included the Emergency Food Network, The Friends of Fort Steilacoom Park & Nature, Grave Concerns Association, Caring for Kids, and Lakewood Fire with strong support from our Parks Maintenance division.
  • "Code enforcement helped cleanup" in Puget Sound Business Journal: Ass't city manager Dave Bugher's article on code enforcement was published in the October 16-22 issue of the Puget Sound Business Examiner as part of a regional overview of economic redevelopment efforts. An update was provided on Lakewood's abatement efforts and the cooperative work between Community Development and Police to "sweep our front porch" on Pacific Highway.
  • City staff assists in Piece Transit Planner Summit: Desiree Winkler, Deborah Johnson, and Dan Penrose from the Public Works and Community Development departments participated in the Pierce Transit "Planner Summit" on October 29th. Part of the "PT Tomorrow" planning process, the workshop involved planners and public works staff from many jurisdictions throughout Pierce Transit's service area. A community design workshop was held earlier in Lakewood on October 6 to gain public input. Information gathered at these and other workshops will be used to create a plan for future services. The draft plan is scheduled for release in early 2010, and additional workshops will be held at that time to get feedback. For more information, see
  • LPD participates in Lakewood Fire's Annual Pumpkin Patch: CSO Gail Conelly and NPO Jeremy Vahle participated in Lakewood Fire Department's annual Pumpkin Patch on Saturday October 24th. There was record attendance this year with over 1,000 children and several hundred parents present. The children were able to climb in the fire rigs, a SWAT vehicle, and a city bus, as well as jumping in a bouncy house before coming inside to participate in the festivities. The Pierce County Child Passenger Safety Team was also present and checked car seats for correct installation and technicians were able to educate many parents regarding the child passenger safety laws now in place.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 10/16/09

October 16, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Harry Todd Park Dock Improvements: The docks at Harry Todd Park were originally installed back in the early 1970's by Pierce County as part of the park improvements when they purchased the property. Other than routine maintenance the docks remained the same for the next 35 years. In 2006, the City of Lakewood completed much needed upgrades/repairs to the aging dock system in an effort to extend its life. Floats that were beyond repair were removed and the remaining floats received concrete repairs, new wood whalers and through rods (connectors). Additional funds were allocated in the 2009 capital budget to sustain the dock system at Harry Todd Park. The weight of the handrail has proven to be too heavy for the old dock system, causing stress damage to the inside corners as well making the dock lean. Last week park staff removed the railings which stabilized the docks. Further repairs will occur in the next few weeks. Both the north and south gangways will be replaced with new long life commercial grade gangways that will be much more stable and safer for park visitors. The damage to the inside corners will be repaired and additional bracing will be installed to help prevent damage in the future. There is a section in the center of the dock that has suffered irreparable damage from continuous wave action and as a result will be removed creating two L shaped docks (instead of the familiar U shape). A floating swim rope, similar to the one used at American Lake Park will be used in the new opening to protect swimmers during the summer months. This opening will also allow rescue boats into the area in the event of a water emergency. Additional swim ladders will be added to both docks to help swimmers safely exit the water. All of these repairs should help the dock system survive the winter storms and be safe and ready for spring and summer use.
  • Business License Checks: The Community Development Department performed a business license check on four (4) businesses on October 9th, with the assistance of the Police Department, the State Liquor Control Board, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, and the State Department of Labor and Industries. The inspections were performed in the evening hours because the targeted businesses do not operate during the day. Each involved agency inspected the business with regard to their specific duties and responsibilities. One business was declared "Unsafe to Enter" due to the amount and severity of code violations identified by the inspection team.
  • Ribbon cutting at Lake Louise School Park: The Mayor, city manager, and parks & recreation director participated in the formal dedication and ribbon-cutting at Lake Louse Elementary School for Lakewood's newest neighborhood park and playground on October 12th. The "school-park" is a joint effort between the City and the Clover Park School District, and was funded by $150,000 from the City and is situated on School District property. The intent is to further the City's goal of a neighborhood park within a half mile of all residents. The school principal, the superintendent of schools, and two school board members also participated in the special event, and students assisted in the actual "cutting of the ribbon" to open the playground.
  • Port of Tacoma community leaders meeting: The city manager participated in a community leaders briefing hosted by the executive director of the Port of Tacoma on October 16th. The agenda included roundtable discussion about trade and the economy and impacts on the Port, transportation and freight mobility issues (including the Point Defiance bypass railroad route), and Port support to the military bases.
  • Building Permit Update: For September 2009, the Community Development department issued building permits totaling $1,278,312 in new construction valuation. Total for the year is $50,732,243. To date, the City has issued 1,142 building permits. This same time last year, the City had issued 1,296 building permits. Based on these figures, the number of permits has dropped by about 14%. There are some significant development projects pending. One of these may come online before the end of the year and another is scheduled for the spring of 2010.
  • Pierce Transit System Re-design project: The city manager met with the Pierce Transit CEO on October 15th to review the transportation system's role in Lakewood and to provide input on the City's economic redevelopment priorities. The discussion was part of the overall Pierce Transit "system re-design" project, a strategic planning exercise to update the agency's mission and direction. There was also discussion about the agency's administrative headquarters and operations base in Lakewood.