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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/2/10

April 2, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood to Recognize Vietnam Veterans: During the next regular council meeting, Monday April 5th at 7pm at City Hall, the City Council will proclaim April 2010 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Month." All Vietnam veterans and friends of Vietnam veterans from Lakewood and beyond are encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served after the proclamation.
  • Springbrook Neighborhood Association: The "Pacific Neighborhood Association" elected new leadership and renamed itself the "Springbrook Neighborhood Association." The new officers are primarily apartment managers in Springbrook. Mr. Charles Ames was elected as the president. The association will continue to meet every fifth Tuesday (which is quarterly) at 6:30pm. The association also decided to change the meeting location to Springbrook (from Ponders) and the next meeting will be held on June 29th and will hosted by the Garden Park Apartments at 12874 Lincoln Ave SW. Community Service Officer Gail Conelly is the City's liaison to the Springbrook neighborhood and the area surrounding Pacific Highway. Those residents and business surrounding Pacific Highway are encouraged to attend and participate.
  • Police Catch Purse Snatchers: On March 25th, Investigator Shirley McLamore and Officer Karen Herritt caught up with the duo that were snatching purses from grocery carts and then immediately using the credit cards (sometimes in the same grocery store where they took the purse while the victim was still shopping). Karen noticed that one of the subjects suddenly showed in a surveillance photo that he had a cast on his arm. She left a flier at St. Clare and within a day or two they had the names of the two suspects, a male and female. The officers served a search warrant on one suspect's residence and the suspects were located that afternoon spending some of their hard-earned proceeds. The female ringleader was booked for multiple counts of theft and forgery. The two officers did a great job and worked tirelessly on this case. This resolves probably 10+ purse snatchings with corresponding frauds committed on the victims' credit cards.
  • Oakland PD presents handmade quilt to LPD: Employees both current and retired, as well as their spouses, of Oakland (California) PD came to the Lakewood Police Department on Thursday March 25th at 2:00 p.m. to present Chief Farrar with a handmade quilt they had created which honored our four fallen officers. The quilt is so full of personal detail for each officer that it is truly memorable; we will be putting the quilt up for display once we have a way to keep it safe from admiring fingers. It is important to note as well that Oakland was commemorating the one year anniversary of the death of four of their officers (EOW March 21, 2009), so it was an especially emotional and moving tribute.
  • CSRT's Abatement and Clean-up at Fir Acres Mobile Home Park: In what was the City's largest and most complex abatement action, CSRT staff completed a dangerous building and public nuisance cleanup at the Fir Acres Mobile Home Park. A 2009 inspection of the property revealed significant deterioration of the structures, electrical system, and the property in general. There were numerous abandoned and vandalized mobile homes, dilapidated and dangerous structures, and an old meth lab that had not been cleaned up. The owners, managers, and investors proved unable and/or unwilling to take action to correct the conditions or sell the property. The abatement involved removal of 11 mobile homes (including the meth-contaminated unit) and 13 other structures, at a cost of approximately $80,000, and was done carefully so as to minimize disruption and not displace any residents. Staff worked with on-site management, residents, and their attorney, to provide information, address concerns, and identify and address residents and non-residents who were involved in illegal and nuisance activity on the property. A second abatement phase, which would have involved removal of additional vacant and dilapidated mobile homes and structures, and stabilization of the electrical system, is on hold as there is a sale of the property pending. Staff from the City and partner agencies are working with the prospective purchaser to establish agreements to reimburse the City for the abatement expenses and an operational plan to address the remaining code violations on the property in a timely manner. The City remains prepared to proceed with additional abatement action if the sale is not completed or the purchaser fails to correct the code violations.
  • Lakewood receives Federal CDBG and HOME Allocations. For fiscal year 2010, Lakewood will receive $691,806 in CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) and $451,333 in HOME (housing) allocations. This year's CDBG allocation is $50,000 more than the previous fiscal year. Since Lakewood is part of a HOME consortium with Tacoma, we receive 22.2% of their allocation; the 2010 Lakewood HOME allocation is about the same as last year's.
  • KLAY Talk Radio. The city manager was the guest on the Mike Lonergan radio show on Lakewood's KLAY radio station on April 2nd. The subjects included the newly awarded Police Department accreditation and Lakewood's economic challenges.
  • Northwest Regional City Managers Conference: The city manager attended the annual conference of city managers from Washington and Oregon this week in Welches OR, with about 140 participants. The theme was about "Surviving in a Difficult Economic Climate", with workshops on economic outlook for the Northwest, redesigning workplace processes, jump starting the local economy, and customer service in an anti-government age.
  • Governor Signs Bills at Lakewood Police Station: On March 31st, Governor Christine Gregoire signed bills into law at the Lakewood Police Station. One of the bills was HB 2519 relating to duty-related death benefits for public safety employees. There were about 300-400 people in attendance.


City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 3/26/10

March 26, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Official Census Questionnaire Assistance Center opens at Lakewood City Hall: A Questionnaire Assistance Center (QAC) clerk from the US Census Bureau is available on Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 5 pm at the first floor front counter at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main Street SW, to answer questions about the 2010 US Census. If citizens have questions about filling out the 2010 Census form, or if any households did not get a form, or if there's a need for language assistance, citizens are encouraged come on by. The Questionnaire Assistance Center will be at City Hall on Thursday and Friday afternoons through late April.
  • New Court Administrator in Lakewood Municipal Court : Deana Wright was appointed by Lakewood's presiding Judge Ernest Heller and the city manager as the City's new court administrator, and she will start on March 29th. She has been with the municipal court for 14 years, most recently as senior court specialist.
  • Ferrucci Jr. High School Sponsors Basketball Game to Raise Money for Fallen Officers: Ferrucci Jr. High in Puyallup sponsored a basketball game on March 24th to raise money for the Lakewood PD and Pierce County Sheriff's Department's Fallen Officers. The game was Teachers vs. Cops; Officers Jeff Martin, Ken Henson and Tim Borchardt along with Detective Ryan Larson played with Puyallup PD officers in an action-packed game. The Cops won the game 86-56. Ferrucci Jr. High stated they had a tentative early total of over $3,000 raised.
  • City Staff attend the Excellence in Leadership Conference: Staff from the Executive, Public Works, and Police Departments attended the Excellence in Leadership Conference on March 24th at the Tacoma Community College. The conference was open to public agency employees who were supervisors, lead workers, managers or directors. There were 26 different workshops offering information about the latest in supervision, employee discipline, basic communications, conflict resolution, preparing budgets, e-mail management, team building, generational differences, employee recognition and more. The conference was sponsored by the City of Lakewood, City of Federal Way, Kitsap County, Pierce County, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department, Tacoma Community College and the Washington State Department of Personnel. Approximately 300 people attended.
  • HR Employee nominated for United Way Volunteer of the Year: June Aguon, in the Human Resources Department, was nominated for United Way of Pierce County's Campaign Volunteer of the Year for 2009-2010. June is the Campaign Chair and has two coworkers assisting her in the campaign -- Diana Halar and Livia Rodriguez in Public Works. Those nominated for this award demonstrate a high level of dedication to making our community a better place. Nominees and winners will be announced at a Community Celebration on April 27th at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.
  • American Lake Toxic Algae Advisory lifted: The Toxic Algae Advisory for American Lake has been lifted. The toxic algae bloom has decreased in size and no longer presents a public health concern. Toxic algae are capable of producing toxins and, if present in large amounts, can pose a risk to pets and people. Swallowing or prolonged skin contact with the algae may cause illness that might include, muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and/or nausea. A health concern exists where the toxic algae are visible as a scum on the waters surface that looks like green paint or pea soup. If citizens see signs of a new toxic algae bloom or for further information, they should contact the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dept. -- Ray Hanowell at (253)798-2845 or Lindsay Tuttle at (253)798-3530
  • EDB Annual Meeting: The Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County held its 2010 annual meeting in Tacoma on March 26th with about 500 attendees. The keynote speaker was Joel Kotkin, author of "The Next Hundred Million, who spoke about the changing demographics and economic dynamics of the region and the nation as a whole. Senior city staff attended, along with Councilmembers Whalen, Anderson, and Moss. The City of Lakewood is a public sector investor in the EDB, and the city manager is a board member.
  • Champions for Youth Breakfast: The Communities in Schools/Lakewood held its annual event on March 24th to raise awareness and celebrate mentor relationships with adults and young people in Lakewood. A number of City employees have volunteered to mentor at various schools in the district.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 3/12/10

March 12, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Parks Department to hold Wards Lake Park Neighborhood Forum: The City's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department will hold a Wards Lake Park Neighborhood Forum on Thursday, March 18th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in City Hall. Citizens are encouraged to bring their ideas for the future of this park facility as the Wards Lake Park Master Plan is developed. Every imaginative idea is welcome: how would you like this park to be used and enjoyed? Wards Lake Park is located at 2716-84th Avenue in Lakewood and includes both developed and natural areas within its 22 acres. In 2009, additional park property was purchased by the City to expand the facility. Questions can be directed to Suzi Riley at (253) 983-7758.
  • Camp Murray participates in DoD-funded Regional Steering Committee (RSC): BG Bret Daugherty, Asst Adjutant General-Army, and Deputy Director of the State Military Department, will serve on the RSC for the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Growth Coordination planning process. The city manager and project administrator Dan Penrose met with Daugherty and Adjutant General Tim Lowenberg at Camp Murray on February 12th to update them on the plan goals and timetables. The Defense Department's Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) is funding the planning study focused on Transportation, Schools, Housing, Public Safety, and Utilities. The City of Lakewood is administering the regional effort, and the city manager chairs the steering committee.
  • Fir Acres Mobile Home Park Abatement Action: Members of the Community Safety Resource Team (CSRT) met with the Fir Acres Mobile Home Park homeowners association and their attorney to discuss the City's ongoing abatement action on the property, problems with the management and ownership of the property, and the future of the property, including the pending tax foreclosure of the property. The meeting was very positive; the City provided a Spanish-language interpreter and there was a very good exchange of information. The current phase of the abatement is approximately half done and will be completed by the end of the month. Staff is preparing for a second abatement phase, expected to go out for bid in April, which will include stabilization of portions of the property's electrical system, removal of certain electrical hazards, and removal of additional vacant, dilapidated structures and mobile homes.
  • Colonial Center Theatre Rehabilitation Study: The owners of the Colonial Center property met with this week with the city manager and economic development staff to discuss the feasibility study launched by the City to review options for the Lakewood Theater and restaurant building. John Graham, principal of Gramor, is very supportive of the effort to improve the facility in a way that restores its unique character in Lakewood. The Request for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ-P) was published and the study will be ready to commence next month.
  • Lakewood Water District fire hydrant issue: The city attorney and city manager met this week with the Water District's general manager and legal counsel to review options to properly account for the maintenance of fire hydrants throughout the City. A recent court case stipulated that it fire hydrants may be considered a general government responsibility.
  • Employee Recognition quarterly event: City staff participated on March 10th in a reception to honor the City's 14th birthday and to receive recognition for significant accomplishment. A total of eleven employees were nominated for quarterly awards. Kim Dodds, human services coordinator, was awarded employee of the quarter for her efforts to assist a number of families made homeless by a recent apartment fire, and to assist the census count in Lakewood. Faye Landskov, administrative supervisor, was awarded police employee of the quarter for her efforts to successfully secure and administer over $3 million in federal grants to the Lakewood Police Department.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 3/19/10

March 19, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Answer the Census, please!: United States Census forms were delivered in this week's mail. The Census is important to Lakewood because accurate census data is crucial in deciding which communities' schools, hospitals, roads, and services like job training centers receive funding. Washington State's representation in the U.S. House of Representatives also depends on the population numbers. There is no more complicated "long form"; for the first time since 1940, the 2010 Census questionnaire is a short form only. There are only seven questions about everyone in the household: name, gender, race, ethnicity, and if that person sometimes lives somewhere else. The head of household answers how many people live in the residence; whether it is a house, apartment, or mobile home; and provides a telephone number for Census workers to follow up if any information is missing. It's simple, and postage is even prepaid. Everyone is encouraged to mail back the Census form promptly.
  • Weekend railroad crossing closures: Sound Transit's contactor (Railworks) will be working on four crossings in Lakewood which will require temporary weekend closures to facilitate quicker completion. Public Works surveyed business owners along all four streets adjacent to railroad crossing work, and the preference was for a weekend closure (per crossing) as opposed to longer term options. The proposed schedule of road closures, one weekend per month, starts with Steilacoom Blvd on March 19-20. Notice and signage will be coordinated with businesses to maximize awareness, and detour signs will be posted. The other closures will occur tentatively as follows: 100th Street - April 23-25; 108th Street - May 14-16; Bridgeport Way - June 25-27. Closures will start around 9:00 PM Friday - and re-open no later than Monday morning, 5 AM.
  • Pierce College building occupancy approved: The community development department issued a certificate of occupancy for the Rainier Science and Math Building at Pierce College, Fort Steilacoom Campus. A grand opening is planned for May 12th. For details, go to this link:
  • Lakewood United: The city manager was the featured speaker at the March 18th meeting of the Lakewood United group at Bur's restaurant. The subject was the state of the city and Lakewood of the future.
  • Third construction workshop for Korean community: This week, the community development department conducted its third building construction workshop with the Korean community. The workshop lasted two hours; the topic was permitting. The next workshop will review the inspection process, corrections notices and stop work orders. There has been some interest in expanding the construction workshop to include other ethnic groups.
  • Transit plans revealed: City staff took part in Pierce Transit's Spring Planners' Summit on March 15th, focusing on "PT Tomorrow" service planning that started last year. Funded largely by declining sales tax revenue, Pierce Transit is currently dipping into its reserves and expects that by 2012, it will no longer be able to provide the same level of service as today. Planners heard about bus routes and services that might be cut as a result, and at the same time additional options should a sales tax increase be approved by the voters. The Lakewood City Council received a parallel presentation at its last meeting. On March 23rd, Pierce Transit will hold a public meeting in Lakewood to present options and gather feedback. The meeting will be at the Pierce Transit Training Center, 3720 - 96th St. SW, from 6-7:30pm. This is the first of several public meetings around the county to let people know what the future might hold. For more information, see .
  • CSRT Launch: The newly launched Community, Safety and Resource Team (CSRT) hosted a community meeting on Tuesday, March 16th. The meeting was attended by Neighborhood Association Meeting leaders, CERT members, advisory board members and City staff. There were approximately 30 people in attendance. The CSRT team is comprised of a LPD Lieutenant, three Community Service Officers, three Code Enforcement Officers, an attorney and a paralegal. This meeting was designed to introduce the team and to enlist the help of community leaders to create a partnership to work together to focus on the City's needs and challenges. Community leaders were asked to spread the word about the new program and to encourage participation within their districts to share areas of concern.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/26/10

February 26, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood Refuse Garbage Collection Rates: Lakewood Refuse garbage collection service rates will increase by 1.783% for residential and commercial service effective March 1st. For a typical residence with weekly 65 gallon Toter garbage/recycling service, the increase correlates to $0.50 per month. The increase is in accordance with terms and provisions of the City's contract with Lakewood Refuse which allows for automatic adjustments for yearly changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and/or change, if any, in landfill disposal fee. This year's rate increases are reflective of both a CPI and a dump fee increase.
  • City Staff hold Permitting Construction Seminar for Korean community: Members of the community development department will be conducting a permitting construction seminar on February 26th with members of the Lakewood Korean community. The seminar is being co-sponsored by My Service Mind, a local non-profit organization. My Service Mind will have translators on hand.
  • "State of the City" briefings: The city manager was the guest speaker at the Lakewood Knights Lions meeting on February 23rd and at the Gyro Group in Lakewood on February 16th. The subject was the City's year-end report and the status of City priority projects.
  • Police thank Community for their support: The Lakewood Police Department is teaming with Clear Channel Outdoor to thank the community for their support following November's tragic police deaths, including raising more than $2.1 million for the officers' families. The thank you messages are being provided free of charge by Clear Channel Outdoor. The company is donating two traditional billboards and space on four digital billboards in Lakewood and Kent.
    • Steilacoom Blvd and Gravelly Lake Dr.116th St. S and Spanaway Loop Rd.