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City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 3/13/09

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

  • City issued AA- Bond Rating: The City of Lakewood has been issued an AA-bond rating from Standard and Poor's (S&P) for its Limited Tax General Obligation Bonds. This is an increase of two ratings from the City's previous rating and is an indicator of S&P's confidence in the City's ability to cover debt service for new bonds.
  • Sewer Update: On Tuesday, March 17th the Tillicum and Woodbrook/American Lake Gardens Sanitary Sewer Service project will be advertised for bids. Bids will be opened on April 14th. This first phase will include the construction of all sanitary sewer lines, pumping stations, force-mains, storm drainage improvements, water system improvements, and street restoration. A subsequent phase, associated with the installation sanitary sewer forcemains from Thorne Lane to the Ponders area on Pacific Hwy, will follow later this year.
  • Police Explorers Paint Gang Graffiti/Tagging Areas: On Saturday March 7th, the Lakewood Police Explorers painted over areas which have been plagued with gang graffiti and tagging. Ten explorers spent Saturday morning painting over fifteen different locations around the City that had been identified by the NPO/CSO teams as needing clean-up including the train trestle on Pacific Highway and the I-5 overpass on 96th ST. The explorers were even able to respond to an apartment complex that had been victimized the previous evening by painting over gang graffiti. The apartment manager was very grateful with the quick response. The Explorers hope to continue painting over gang graffiti whenever and wherever it is found.
  • City participation in the Convention Bureau: Economic Development Manager Ellie Chambers-Grady now serves as the treasurer and member of the Tacoma Regional Convention Bureau's Executive Committee. The Board is now engaged with updating its strategic plan as it moves forward. Ms. Chambers-Grady will also chair the Bureau's Community Readiness Committee for the next year.
  • Legal Department completes Paralegal Internship: The Legal Department completed another successful Paralegal Internship for Tacoma Community College student Holly Webb on March 12, 2009. Holly put in 150 hours of internship time under the tutelage of City Paralegal Cynthia Wright, covering such topics as criminal law, civil and municipal law, public disclosure, trial preparation, discovery, and case management. Holly is the 5th paralegal intern the City Legal Department has successfully trained in cooperation with local colleges with paralegal degree programs.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 3/6/09

March 6, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Police Chief named to Problem Gambling Advisory Committee: Chief Farrar was appointed this week by WASPC (State Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs) to serve on the State Problem Gambling Advisory Committee.
  • Hill Ward dedication on March 14th 4pm at Fort Steilacoom Park: The Hill Ward site, located within Fort Steilacoom Park, is in its final stages of renovations. The old building has been removed and the site has been restored as a memorial recognizing the historic significance that the Native Americans, early settlers and Western State Hospital staff and patients played in the use and development of this area. Improvements to the site include demolition of an abandoned three story structure, repairing and creating new pathways and the installation of a relic stepping stone path, tile labyrinth, and a poured concrete curb to show the footprint of the original building, a concrete grass grid to provide solid surfacing for ADA accommodation, native landscaping, benches and other site amenities. Join us on Saturday, March 14th at 4:00 p.m. to celebrate our history and re-dedicate the site to the community.
  • RAMP meeting focus on transportation funding: The city manager and public works director attended the Regional Access Mobility Partnership (RAMP) meeting at the Port of Tacoma this week. Charlie Howard of the Puget Sound Regional Council presented the recommended priorities for federal stimulus funding. Pierce County area priorities for the proposed $18.6 million Puget Sound ARRA regional projects include $15.8 million for the Lincoln Ave Grade Separation (Port of Tacoma), and also SR 162 (Orting), Shaw Rd (Puyallup), and Orville Rd E (Pierce County). The priorities are based on regional needs and job creation. Secretary Paula Hammond of WSDOT presented a county-by-county comparison of return per dollar for state-wide transportation funding, and discussed Pierce County projects in the State's transportation budget.
  • "Innovation, Involvement and Improved Student Achievement" community discussion follow up: The city manager met this week with the CPSD superintendent to review the input from the February 18th forum and showing of the video "Flunked". The input and recommendations for follow-up next steps will be posted on both the CPSD and City websites in the next few days.
  • Refuse Rate increases: Due to landfill fee increases, and CPI (inflation) rates authorized by contract, the Lakewood Refuse rates will increase this month for customers in Lakewood. The residential rate increase is about 5.6 percent, or about $1.50 per month for 60-gallon automated weekly service.
  • March 12th Public Meeting on Stormwater Management: The Public Works Department will hold a public meeting at City Hall On March 12th from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm in conference Room 1A. The purpose is to elicit public input on the updating of the City's Stormwater Management Program. The City is updating its program in compliance with the terms and conditions of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. By federal law (Clean Water Act) the City is required to have a NPDES permit. The permit covers local storm water regulations, the associated maintenance practices and procedures, administrative procedures, and educational and outreach programs. The effort is geared towards addressing and reducing pollution from stormwater discharges.
  • 2008 Year-end Report: Last week, for the first time, the City of Lakewood mailed its year-end report to all residents and businesses. The report highlights all of the major accomplishments and efforts of the City over the last year. This 8-page document will also be found on the city's website:

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 2/20/09

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

  • "Flunked" Event Draws Big Audience: The City jointly hosted a public viewing of the film "Flunked" with the Clover Park School District on February 18th. After viewing the 45-minute video, the audience of over 100 broke into six groups and brainstormed ways to improve academic performance. The ideas were captured and will be posted to both the CPSD and City websites within the next week or so. Next steps will be determined after reviewing consolidated comments in full.
  • SRO Review: The Clover Park school superintendent and her senior safety/security staff met with the city manager and police chief on February 20th for a mid-year review of the new structure of the School Resource Officer program. The program was restructured this year so that a larger pool of Lakewood officers participate on a volunteer basis as an extra-duty assignment. The school district is very pleased with better and more consistent coverage at both the high schools and middle schools, and supportive evaluation comments from school administrators. The new structure is leading to more positive contact between police officers and students on a regular basis. The program is working well for both the schools and the police.
  • AWC legislative conference: Councilmember Claudia Thomas, Gov't relations director Jeff Brewster, and the city manager attended the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) conference in Olympia on February 18th to discuss legislative strategies and the State's fiscal crisis. The city manager met with the Governor's point person on the federal stimulus funding to ascertain what categories of funding are in line for additional support and what the process will be for allocation. The largest category of stimulus funding for Washington State, other than Hanford clean-up, in for sewer and water.
  • City manager summarizes State of the City at Lakewood United: The city manager was the speaker this week at Lakewood United, and presented the new 2008 year-end report which will take the place of the Connections newsletter this edition. He covered the City's priorities in economic development and public safety, as well as the uncertainty of the economy and its Impact on the City.
  • Lakewood is involved in AWC executive director search: With the retirement of Stan Finkelstein as executive director of the Association of Washington Cities after 30+ years of service, a national executive recruitment search has been launched for his successor. Lakewood's city manager was appointed this week to serve on the selection panel, along with the AWC president, vice president, and secretary.
  • Bridgeport Way project TIB Grant at risk: The City received notice from the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) that due to the revenue short fall the $734,300 in grant funds for the City's Bridgeport Way Improvement project north of Steilacoom Blvd (to 83rd St) is at risk. TIB staff may be recommending rescinding the grant to the board on March 26th.
  • Lakewood Police participates in Auto Theft Prevention Operation: LPD's Property Crimes Unit, as part of a multi-agency auto theft prevention operation, was involved in the arrests of 10 people on February 19th from Seattle to Graham. These arrests conclude a 3-month investigation involving confidential informants, undercover officers and many stolen vehicles. Other agencies involved in this cooperative effort included, Washington State Patrol, Tacoma PD, Fife PD, Puyallup, PD, Pierce County Sheriff's Office, Pierce Transit and ICE (federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement). Over the last three months, 21 stolen cars and 5 stolen motorcycles have been recovered during this investigation. Many of the cars were stolen when owners left them running in their driveways on cold days.
  • Fort Lewis and Lakewood begin new Law Enforcement Liaison Program: The I Corps Commander on Fort Lewis and the Lakewood Police Department have begun a new Law Enforcement Liaison program. This program will have a senior NCO or junior officer from the Provost Marshal's office stationed at Lakewood PD five days a week. They will be there to provide assistance to our officers with any military personnel who may have some contact with law enforcement. The soldiers will be available to receive any properly-identified military personnel and handle transports and other related issues. The goal of the program is to help reduce soldier infractions, and foster positive community relations.
  • CSO participates in Child Identification Program at Pierce College: CSO Sandra Stauffer participated in the Child Identification Program held at Pierce College on February 10th. She fingerprinted 40 children while students in the criminal justice program completed the kits with a video of each child and a DNA sample.
  • LPIG Charity Fund Obtain Items for Assault Victim: The Lakewood Police Guild Charity Fund obtained a donated, brand new mattress and box spring set for a 6-year old sexual assault victim at the Sage Terrace apartments. Ideal Home Furnishings generously donated the mattress set, valued at close to $200. A large chunk of the child's mattress had been cut out for evidence and she had no replacement as the family has very limited resources. The Charity Fund bought an entire bedding/window valance set for her as well. The Charity Fund will be hosting a party for her 6th birthday, complete with presents, balloons, cake, and visits from some of our police officers.
  • Toxic Algae Bloom in Waughop Lake: The City received notice from Tacoma-Pierce County Health that there currently is a bloom of toxic algae in Waughop Lake. The Health Department states that toxic algae are easily identified by a green coloration to the water, where the water has the appearance of pea soup or green paint. The algae are the small dots in the water. Wind and weather conditions can change frequently, and the Health Department recommends following these precautions:
    • Keep children and pets away from areas that have a heavy concentration of algae
    • Do not swim or wade in areas that have a heavy concentration of algae
    • Do not fish in areas that have a heavy concentration of algae
    Ingesting the algae or prolonged contact with it may result in illness, such as muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or nausea. If ingestion of water containing large amounts of algae is known or suspected, it is extremely important to seek immediate medical attention. The risk to pets is much greater than the risk to people, due to the smaller body sizes of pets and to a pet being more likely to drink water containing a heavy concentration of algae. If a pet does ingest a large amount of algae and is showing signs such as vomiting, lethargy, disorientation, or seizures, it should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 2/27/09

February 27, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood Police Gang Unit: The police chief has reorganized special operations to establish a Gang Unit of two police officers and a sergeant. They will operate with specially-marked black and white vehicles. The program will include the support of two liaison federal agents from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office to handle cases where appropriate.
  • D to M Street Rail Connector: The city manager met this week the CEO of Sound Transit and the Tacoma city manager to review the project status on the D to M rail connector, which is a prerequisite for commuter rail service to Lakewood. Design issues regarding the Pacific Avenue crossing, South C Street, and the track support structure have been resolved, and the final design phase is underway. The targeted bidding date is December 2009. Construction is estimated at 22 months, with testing scheduled for December 2011.
  • Military liaison officers assigned to LPD station. Starting this week, Fort Lewis has assigned two liaison officers to work in Lakewood, to assist with Police matters involved military personnel and to do transports as necessary. The two officers were introduced to the city’s management team so that they would be a resource to other City departments as well.
  • 4-2 Stryker Brigade to do training with LPD: An agreement was reached this week to allow soldiers in our community connector brigade to participate in voluntary “ride-alongs” with Lakewood police officers. The program is designed to provide practical knowledge on law enforcement tactics, techniques and procedures and enhance relations between the 4-2 SBCT and the City of Lakewood. The soldiers will be dressed in civilian attire with no military affiliation. The 4-2 is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq later this year.
  • HR Director on national committee: HR Director Debi Young has been selected to serve on the 2009 International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) Awards Committee. The charge to the Awards Committee is to solicit and evaluate nominations for Honorary Life Membership and the IPMA-HR Awards for Excellence and to make recommendations to the Executive Council. She is one of 14 HR professionals across the country who have been selected.
  • Grant for Steilacoom Blvd: Public Works received notice this week that its safety improvement project was funded for $1 million to upgrade the traffic signal at Farwest Drive and Steilacoom Blvd to reduce accidents. This project includes the installation of a barrier curb (curb and gutter) along both sides of Steilacoom Blvd from Farwest to 87th Ave to prevent drivers from veering off the road and into the trees and rock wall. The grant is for 100% of the project costs, requiring no match, as long as the project is under construction by March 2010.
  • Fort Clarke Motel demolition: The demolition of the Fort Clarke motel on Pac Highway was started this week in response to abatement actions initiated by the City. The building was deemed to be unsafe.
  • Vagabond Motel enforcement action: A business license enforcement action against the Vagabond Motel was resolved this week with the motel agreeing to close for a period of ninety (90) days. The revocation was based upon extremely high calls for police services, particularly calls that involved violence. Prior to a hearing set in this matter, an agreement was reached between the City and the Motel. Prior to reopening the motel’s name will be changed and there will be new management, and the motel also will be required to follow the Lakewood Police Department’s best practices for hotels and motels.
  • Budget Inn enforcement action: The City has agreed to issue a conditional business license to the new owner of the Budget Motel. The new owner of the motel has significant experience in motel operations, having owned and operated similar businesses in Olympia, Tukwila and Ocean Shores. Over the past year the City initiated licensing enforcement action against the previous owner of the Budget. The new owner will be issued a business license with conditions intended to maintain order and safety at the motel.
  • City Attorney Local Bar Association Award: City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter received the Outstanding Service Award from the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association for her work on the Continuing Legal Education Committee.
  • City Attorney’s Office monthly trial update: There were three cases set for trial during the month of February. In the first case, the defendant was charged with one count of Assault in the Fourth Degree/ Domestic Violence and Malicious Mischief in the Third Degree/ Domestic Violence, and entered pleas of guilty to the domestic violence charges. The second defendant was charged with Hit and Run (property damage) was found guilty. The third defendant was charged with Theft, and the case was sent to Superior Court for clarification of a previous court order.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 2/13/09

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

  • "Flunked" video showing at City Hall: Clover Park School District and the City of Lakewood are jointly presenting the video "Flunked" in the Council Chambers on Wednesday, February 18th at 6:30 pm. This video highlights various success stories of schools in communities that had historically struggled academically. There is no cost to attend this event and small group discussions will follow after the video. All are welcome.
  • Fort Lewis Garrison Commander at "Coffee with Mayor": Colonel Cynthia Murphy gave an overview of Fort Lewis growth and planning on Friday, February 13th to a full room of Lakewood citizens. She discussed the necessity of expanding retail and food services at Fort Lewis and highlighted Fort Lewis's efforts to be the Army's most energy efficient installation.
  • Major inspection at Fir Acres Mobile Home Park: The City of Lakewood took the lead with conducting an inspection of the 92 units at Fir Acres in the Springbrook neighborhood on Tuesday, February 10th. The inspection lasted several hours and a number of deficiencies were noted. City staff that included police, code enforcement, building inspectors, animal control and human services were supported by several other agencies: Pierce County's Health Department and Emergency Management, Washington State Labor and Industry (electrical), and Lakewood Fire Department. A number of deficiencies were noted and two units were "red-tagged" (made off-limits). Centro Latino and Lakewood Area Shelter Association supported the City in finding new homes for the two displaced families.
  • Act Six scholarships: Youth Council members Ylisse & Kevin Bess have both received Act Six scholarships to attend Gonzaga University. Act Six is an urban leadership and scholarship initiative of the Northwest Leadership Foundation in partnership with Whitworth University, Pacific Lutheran University, Northwest University, Gonzaga University, and Trinity University that equips emerging urban leaders to engage the college campus and their communities at home. At a minimum, the scholarships include full tuition. Other expenses for books, room and board may be paid based on need. All scholarship recipients will participate in a seven month training program before they enter college. The Act Six program was initiated in 2002 by the Tacoma-based Northwest Leadership Foundation to develop "urban leaders" among ethnically diverse, low-income students.
  • Economic Development Manager conducts Business Retention/Expansion Meetings: Economic Development Manager Ellie Chambers-Grady conducted three Business Retention/Expansion meetings this week - Harborstone Credit Union, William Riley & Company and John Korsmo Construction Company.
  • Consultant meeting hosted for $500,000 OEA grant: Staff from the City's Economic Development Department hosted a consultant pre-submittal meeting on Wednesday to field questions related to the City's recently advertised Request for Proposals. Thirteen engineering and planning firms with local and international expertise were in attendance. The RFP is due on February 23 and the contract will be awarded in early-March. The 18-month project will study how the growth of McChord AFB and Ft. Lewis have impacted the adjacent I-5 corridor and analyze solutions to alleviate congestion.
  • Lakewood Senior Activity Center hosts Mardi Gras Valentine Party: February 5th, the Lakewood Senior Activity Center hosted a Mardi Gras Valentine Party to celebrate the upcoming holiday in a slightly different, but festive manner. Dressed in Valentine red and pink, we added Mardi Gras masks and beads and had fun guessing the identity of the 55 guests! The tables were decorated with candy hearts, feathers, masks and beads. After we sampled fun and healthy treats, we had time to chat and a chance to collect more Mardi Gras beads by using secret words for extra prizes. Thanks to the party committee, all of us had a great time, especially the lucky one who found the token in the Mardi Gras King cake!