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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 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 2/19/10

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

  • Lakewood city manager elected ICMA West Coast Regional VP: The International City Management Association (ICMA) office in Washington DC announced this week the election results for its new executive board. Andrew Neiditz was elected to a three-year term as West Coast Regional Vice President. There were 1,706 ballots received; ICMA has about 4,800 full (voting) members and total membership of about 9,000. Neiditz had been nominated by the board of the Washington State association (WCMA), of which he had been president two years ago. ICMA is the professional and educational organization for chief appointed managers and administrators in local governments around the world. Since 1914, ICMA has provided technical and management assistance, training, and educational resources to its members and the local government community.
  • WSDOT meets with city staff regarding Pt Defiance Bypass Project: The WSDOT secretary's chief of staff, the WSDOT regional administrator, and their senior Rail staff met this week with the Lakewood city manager and senior city staff regarding the Amtrak proposal. Discussion centered on next steps for improved public education and outreach, as well as the upcoming role of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to review the crossings to be impacted by the proposed Amtrak service. UTC has authority over all crossings, and the City's concern about mitigation (to include grade-separation where appropriate) would be addressed by UTC. The City expressed its opposition to the project as it's currently proposed.
  • Pacific Highway/Ponders temporary closure on March 1st: Public Works delivered letters this week to about 55 business and property owners in the Pac Highway/Ponders area regarding the full two-week closure of the railroad overpass just north of Gravelly Lake Drive, starting on March 1st. The only alternative would have been to partially close the bridge for 4-5 weeks, with one open lane and 24-hour flagging (with a few days of full closure). The Fire Department and a number of businesses agreed that a shorter-term full closure was preferable to the lengthier delays. Detour signage and maps will be posted, and access to all businesses will be available from the Bridgeport end of the road.
  • Senior Activity Center celebrated Valentine's Day with a Red Hot party: The room was filled on February 11th with over 60 people dressed in red and pink for the festive occasion. The Lakewood Senior Activity Center celebrated with friends, enjoyed heart-healthy snacks and had the opportunity to listen to an excellent presentation by Bob Riler from Pierce County Aging and Long Term Care. The afternoon was filled with entertainment, good friends and great food.
  • EDB Strategic Planning: The plan for financial support of the Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board (EDB) over the next five years is underway, and the city manager participated in a survey meeting this week to assess the organization's performance for its public sector partners as well as our future requirements for recruitment, business retention, and marketing. Site selectors, investors, corporate real estate executives, and the companies they represent use the EDB for expertise and resources as they review business options in the Pierce County area. The EDB is a private-public partnership, with support from public agencies including the Port of Tacoma, Pierce County, and the cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Gig Harbor, Fife, and Lakewood.

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.


City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 2/12/10

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

  • Emergency Shelter Training Offered: The Lakewood Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department along with support from the Lakewood Police Department offered emergency shelter training on Saturday, January 30th at Lakewood City Hall. Forty-five people interested in learning how they can support their community during a disaster attended. Topics included an overview of the City’s emergency management system, how the sheltering program works and personal preparedness. Participants were able to tour the mobile shelter support trailer and listen to presentations by representatives of the Washington Community Chaplain Corps, Pierce County Animal Response Team and the Lakewood Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The City’s Emergency Sheltering Program has been developed over the past three years and was called into action during the January 2009 floods. Additional trainings will be offered throughout 2010. Volunteers are encouraged to contact the City at (253) 983-7758, if they’re interested in supporting emergency sheltering efforts.
  • Council Members attend the AWC Elected Officials Essentials Workshop: Council Members Mary Moss, Mike Brandstetter and Jason Whalen attended the Association of Washington Cities Elected Officials Essentials Workshop on February 12th and 13th in Tacoma. The 1 ½ day workshop gives newly elected officials a strong foundation for starting office and also serves a refresher for current officials who want to sharpen their leadership skills.
  • Tillicum Youth & Family Center visit: The city manager joined other interested citizens in a site visit and open house at the new youth “drop-in” center on February 9th, at the site of the former “Wander In” Tavern in Tillicum. The facility has been operational since last September, and hosts about 35 young people on a daily basis. The program assists with school work and other life skills training, and is providing an important link in a neighborhood somewhat isolated from other community programs. The program is sponsored by the Tacoma area Youth for Christ agency.
  • City manager is speaker at Lakewood Rotary: The city manager presented a “state of the city” update to the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Lakewood on February 12th, with about 100 members in attendance.
  • City staff attends New Year New You Safety Fair: CSO Gail Conelly attended a “New Year New You” safety fair at St. Clare Hospital, for hospital employees. There were 16 vendors and approximately 200 attendees. Information on vehicle prowls, motor vehicles thefts, identity theft and child passenger safety was provided.
  • City staff attends Operation Child ID Event: CSO Conelly attended an Operation Child ID event sponsored by the Criminal Justice Club at Pierce College on February 9th. The event was attended by 50 children and their parents. The parents were provided with an ID kit for each child, containing fingerprint cards, DNA samples, video interviews of their children, and bite impressions for each child. This is an annual event that provides a great service to parents in our community.
  • Council participates in Annual Chamber of Commerce Chili Cook-Off: The Lakewood Chamber’s Annual Chili Cook-Off and Auction took place at the Great American Casino on February 4th. There were 12 teams competing to see who could make the best chili. Although “Team Chili Hall” did their best, the St. Clare Hospital team was chosen the winner. Proceeds from the auction that followed the Cook-Off will be used for the “Business Students of the Year” Scholarship fund.