Sign up for weekly news updates .

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 10/23/09

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 10/9/2009

October 9, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Ponders Project --Pac Hwy Phase IV (Bridgeport Way to Gravelly Lake Drive): Public Works went out to bid this week for the construction of the Pacific Highway/Ponders realignment project. The call for bids will run for 3 weeks with the opening date set for October 27th. The project includes changing the number of lanes from 5 to 3 for a significant portion of the project length as well as shifting the centerline of the road towards the freeway side of the right of way. This shifting occurs primarily through that section lying south-west of the Clover Creek bridge crossing. The project also includes installing curb and gutter, concrete sidewalks, street lighting, new street pavement, bike lanes, and landscaped planter strips. There will be updated drainage system with water quality treatment and added capacity to serve certain drainage-restricted fronting properties. The landscaping will include the SW corner of the Bridgeport Way intersection.
  • State Auditor’s Entrance Conference: The official meeting starting this year’s audit of the City took place this week, with the Audit team predicting a fairly fast turnaround of the annual review. Special attention will be paid to firearms inventory, the new police evidence room and procedures, camera enforcement accounting, and review of federal funds for transportation and Community Development Block Grant.
  • Legal Dept Open House promotes domestic violence awareness: On October 6th, the staff in the City Attorney’s office hosted an open house for interested parties to increase awareness about the realities of domestic valence in our community and the City’s effort to respond.
  • H1N1 and Seasonal Flu Information: Citizens who want to learn more about preventing or vaccinating against the H1N1 flu virus and/or the seasonal flu are encouraged to visit the Pierce County Health Department’s website and also to consider taking the “Flu IQ” quiz: Both of these links can be accessed from the City’s website under “Latest News and Events” at
  • City presents OEA update to RAMP: Dan Penrose, senior planner and project coordinator for the OEA planning grant, provided a briefing this week to RAMP (the Regional Access Mobility Partnership), chaired by the County Executive and the executive director of the Port of Tacoma. The group of about 30 was updated on the OEA process, and in particular the Interstate 5 traffic operations model and alternatives analysis.
  • LPD presents at Bar Association conference: Lakewood PD’s Forensic Services Manager, Detective Bryan Johnson, was invited to present on the topic of forensic investigations at the Annual Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association Conference, which was attended by over 150 attorneys representing all areas of criminal and civil law.
  • Animal Control officers attend the Animal Care and Control Conference: Lakewood officers attended the Pacific Northwest Animal Care and Control Conference last week, and attended lectures and workshops on Cock Fighting, Sheltering strategies in regards to Pit Bull adoptions, and Chemical Capture. Both Lakewood officers were certified in Chemical Capture. They also attended a workshop on the newest animal laws in regards to chaining dogs outside and the percentages of serious dog bites with these dogs, the percentages of dog bites by un-neutered dogs, and new Potentially Dangerous and Dangerous Dogs Laws.
  • New automated police training system: Lakewood PD was just awarded a Federal Grant for $82,499 to purchase a video simulator system to train our officers in use of force scenarios. The system is an interactive video trainer that allows the officers to encounter over 900 situations which require various responses. The video changes based on what the officer does and the input given by the instructor. The situation may require force options from verbal commands, to taser application, to lethal force. It is laser based and the system also includes firearms training software that will reduce the number of live rounds needed for officer training, reducing the amount spent on ammunition.
  • LPD participates in emergency simulation at South Hill: Metro SWAT, along with Tacoma PD, Pierce County Sheriff and their two bomb squads conducted a large-scale Emergency Management exercise at the South Hill Mall on October 8th.
  • Lakewood officer participates in Alabama sergeant assessment: LT Alex Kasuske was invited to Birmingham, Alabama, to serve as an assessor for Jefferson County, joining 39 assessors from around the US who are participating in assessing 318 candidates for the Sergeant promotional process.
  • Budget Workshop Information: In lieu of its study session, the City Council will conduct its next budget workshop at 7pm on Monday, October 12th at the Lakewood Police Department’s training room (9401 Lakewood Drive SW). Budget workshops will alternate between the council chambers and the police station. Citizens are encouraged to visit to download the entire budget workshop schedule as well as the city manager’s overview and other key budget documents.

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.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 10/2/2009

October 2, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Abatement Expenditures Tracked: The Community Development and Finance Departments have been working together to track summary abatement expenditures. The following table has been prepared which shows expenditures from 2007 through August 2009. The numbers are not an exact accounting. The data was hard to track given that it involves working with another public agency in sorting out property taxes, liens, etc. Expenditures include direct abatement expenses as well as general expenses for equipment and supplies. Revenues include repayment of abatement liens established prior to the constitution of the 2007 revolving abatement fund account.




    (as of August 2009)

    Cumulative Totals

    Budget Appropriation





    Abatement Expenditures





    Kenyan Disend










    Interest on liens





    Yearly Totals





    The number of summary abatements initiated, beginning in 2006 and running through August, 2009, total 71. During that timeframe, 40 abatements have been completed. Twenty nine abatements (73%) were performed by the property owners. The remainder, 11, or 27% were performed by the City.

  • Police receive Federal Grant Equipment: Lakewood PD received an additional 15 sets of SECTOR equipment bringing the total number to 18 from WASPC on a Federal pass-through grant. The equipment consists of a scanner and a printer. The hand scanner, which is similar to the scanner a cashier would use to scan large items at checkout, uses a laser to scan information from bar codes on drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration forms. The printer is a small computer printer designed for use in a vehicle. SECTOR simultaneously transmits ticket or collision data to other agencies. The court, supervisor, DOL, and WSDOT get electronic ticket – or collision report – data and the officer can produce hard copies of ticket or collision reports in their car at the scene.
  • Human Resources Director attends Washington Public Employer Labor Relations Association Conference: Human Resources Director Debi Young attended the Washington Public Employer Labor Relations Association (WAPELRA) Fall Conference in Bremerton last week of which she is on the Board of Directors. Staffmembers Mary Pandrea and Stori Sanders also participated in the training, which focused on Values in the Workplace, Workplace Violence, Conducting Workplace Investigations, Four Day Work Weeks and Workplace Revenge. Out of the 85 attendees, Debi’s name was drawn for a free registration ($650 value) to the national conference next spring.
  • CSO’s staff YMCA Community Open House: CSO’s Conelly, Miller, Pressel and Stauffer staffed a booth at the YMCA Community Open House on September 26. The CSO’s handed out stickers and coloring books to children and crime prevention information to adults. The event was attended by approximately 200 people.
  • Safety Day at Lowe’s: CSO Conelly provided information and Child ID kits to parents, and assisted the kids in building their fire engines at the “Safety Day” at Lowe’s. There were 31 kids in attendance, along with assorted parents and grandparents. Lakewood Fire provided an engine company for entertainment.