Saturday, July 31, 2010

Council Meeting Monday

The agenda and background information (including minutes of the July meetings if you want to catch up) are available on Ruston Reports here.... On tap for this Monday is the final approval of an ordiance approving a ban on card rooms in Ruston (such as Point Defiance Casino) but only after the measure has been approved by a vote of the people.
Stop by the meeting at 7 pm at 5219 N. Shirley to watch and give your two minutes of comments...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Planning Commission

The planning commission has a couple of important issues to hear from you about at their next meeting on August 18th. First, they will hold a hearing for the proposed update of Ruston's Shoreline regulations.

A second hearing will be held that same night to hear input on a proposed change for The Commencement Master Development Plan. The developer wants to eliminate the Bennett Street connection and build a 'public services building' in that area. You may recall the original plans called for a new road to be built, along with parking on the surface of the OCF, which is now owned by Point Ruston.

You can get more details on the web site for Ruston's planner, North Creek Consulting here... The hearings begin at 7 pm at the community center, 5219 N. Shirley Street.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Construction Season

There are a couple of road construction projects around town this week:
  • 51st and Bennett: Teresa Dressler from the City of Tacoma reports that about 500 feet of 24 inch PVC sanitary sewer main line will be installed from behind the pond between N. 51st and Bennett to just before the tunnel. 850 feet of iron water mains will also be installed in the 51st, Bennett and 52nd Street area.
  • The water mains on Bennett and 52nd are done, the current work on the sewer lines is scheduled to be done by August 17th. The water main on 51st will be next, done by September 8th and the road restored by the 15th. The old lines will be abandoned when Point Ruston completes the new lines through their property.
  • N. 49th and Baltimore: The long-anticipated sewer replacement work has started with a mini-project. The main line on 49th is being extended so that one of the new houses in the area can hook into the main line rather than continue to pump up to the alley behind the house.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back At It: Update on Walker Suit

I'm ready to start some limited blogging again, although I won't be able to attend the council meetings for the time being. I will continue to post the council informational packets and agendas, which include the meeting minutes. It's a bit delayed, but those who are interested can keep up with council activities.

In other news, you will recall that Ruston Civil Service Commissioner Bill Walker has sued Shirley Jones because she reported to law enforcement and requested a sexual assault protection order alleging that he sexually assaulted her. No criminal charges were ever filed and her request for a permanent protective order in her case was denied. He is now suing Ms. Jones for slander and libel, with help from his attorney's Peter Kram and Dan Albertson.

Last Friday I was named as an additional defendant in this slander/libel lawsuit, along with fellow Civil Service Commissioner Connie Magloine. Ms. Magloine was in Arizona starting cancer treatment for the second time on Friday when Judge Fleming issued his ruling to add Ms. Magloine and myself to this lawsuit.

Because of the sensitivity of this issue, no comments will be allowed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Break Time

I'll be taking a short break from blogging. If anything major happens, I'll try to get it posted here. In the meantime, enjoy the wonderful connected community we have become...


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Meeting Materials

The materials for last night's council meeting are available on Ruston Reports here....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Council Agenda For Tonight

Tonight starts with a study session at 6 pm to discuss plans for turning the playfield into a little league ball park. The regular agenda for the 7 pm meeting includes the following:
  1. Consideration for the award of the 49th Street sewer extension
  2. Bids for the sewer project
  3. Ruston municipal code update
  4. Garbage rate review
  5. Resoluton 473: Contracting with Buckley for jail services

Hope you can all attend and voice your opinion!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happenings At The Park

I noticed some announcements about upcoming events at Point Defiance Park this summer. I'm sure there are more than what I have listed here, but these caught my eye. We live next to one of the jewels of the west coast ~ sometimes I forget to take advantage of that. So join me in enjoying some new activities this summer...
  • Zoo Hours Extended: The zoo will be opening an hour earlier so you can beat the summer heat. Hours from July 1 to September 6 are from 8:30 am until 6 pm.
  • Fort Nisqually Family Fun Night: July 23rd from 6 to 9 pm, bring a picnic dinner and enjoy games, music and other activities of the mid-1800's. Ice cream and lemonade will be available while supplies last. Tickets $6 for adults, $3 to $4 for kids depending on age.
  • Friday at the Fort: July 30th from 6 to 9 pm come to Fort Nisqually for beer, Irish music and a good time. This fundraiser for the Fort promises a nice way to spend a summer evening.
  • Rose Garden Tips: Every Thursday from 4:30 til 6:30 through September 9th join rose experts as they clip and prune the garden. They'll offer free advice as you join in to help with the work.
  • Kids Don't Float: Point Defiance Marina now has life jackets available to borrow for the day for boaters. Water safety is highlighted at a new kiosk at the marina as well.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Council Meeting Notes: June 21, 2010

The materials for this meeting are available on Ruston Reports here. The material for the study session this same night is available here, including the draft ordinance on licensing adult entertainment.

The regular council meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm with Council Member Hardin still excused. The agenda was approved as presented.

Staff Reports

Police: Chief Kunkel noted the good training on officer safety they just received, using lessons learned from the police killings in last 8 months. He gave a reminder about the Taste coming up next weekend. He also noted this will be the first year that no fireworks will be allowed on July 4th in Ruston. He commended the work of his department in the recovery of a stolen car in town. The new department bicycle has now been delivered and will be used during the Taste.

Council Member Hedrick expressed concern about the atmosphere near closing time at the Taste. Kunkel outlined the plans to address the growing safety concerns. Hedrick wanted to know if there has been any talk about charging for the event to help change the type of the people attending. It has been talked about, but no changes are planned at this point. Hedrick asked Ruston's public safety departments to give suggestions after this year's event on improvements for next year. Kunkel said he and the mayor will be meeting with the developer about imposing an impact fee. Council Member Hunt agreed with the concerns expressed. There will be cookies at town hall for those wanting to clean their street and bring in their garbage bags to town hall at 8 pm on the last day of the Taste.

Fire: There were 4 calls last month; 2 medical aid, 2 fire. The department now has a full roster of fire fighters. They are increasing the level of background checks as well. Ruston is hosting training on weapons of mass destruction. They have focused some training on how to handle calls at The Commencement since it is different type of building with unique features.

The department will be auctioning the old 1968 LaFrance fire engine in September. Chief Torbet is looking forward to having no fireworks in Ruston this year. The department has started a new practice where they focus on a new issue for the public each month - this month is to ensure residents have a working fire extinguisher in their homes.

Public Comment
Edie Tallman wanted to see the alleys cleaned better (remove derelict cars, boats, etc).

Ryan Morris wanted to know (as new Ruston residents) what to expect for their first Taste of Tacoma. Hedrick said he stays home to guard his house. Town attorney Britton joked that Morris should get himself a rocking chair on the front porch with a shot gun (or buy one of the Adirondack chairs).

Ron Stanley had just started process for special use permit to improve his property at 5227 N. Highland. He had heard nightmare stories about making such improvements, and found it was true in Ruston. He questioned the high cost for a process that was not productive such as a $6,000 plan review fee that neighboring municipalities do not charge. The planning commission did not show up at the meeting for his permit request. He is concerned about part time people without planning expertize making these decisions. The mayor then wanted to imposed the 2 minute time limit for public comment. The council granted him 5 minutes to finish his remarks.

Stanley noted that Ruston code allows certain uses outright; conditions which his proposal met. But he is still required to go through a quasi-judicial review process without any guarantee that it will be timely or will have a positive outcome. And the money for the process is going out of town on consultant fees rather than into the property improvements. He suggested the council look to streamline the process.

1. Renewing the agreement for public defender services: Hedrick confirmed that this has been done before. Council Member Huson noted this contract included a 5% cost of living increase even with the economy deflating. Britton had asked Pierce County about it, but they will only make a small reduction to $17,000. The resolution was approved at that amount 4-0.

Claims and Payroll
Passed 4-0 with no discussion.

Mayor's Time
Mayor Hopkins is working on a system to collect residents emails so the town can use that method to send out townwide notices. Property tax revenues are 20% lower than forecast, B&O and sales taxes so far are only at 85%. Slower construction on The Commencement and Point Ruston along with loosing the Chevron are having an impact. He has told staff to look for ways to make cuts. The town has already made adjustments where they can.

He thanked Fire Chief Torbet for finding 85 chairs and 12 banquet tables for use when renting community center. The new code enforcement officer came on board of last week; working half a day each week. The mayor will put him to work on unauthorized home improvements happening around town. Mayor Hopkins liked finding Officer Miller out walking around town as he had suggested.

Council Time

Huson had nothing.

Hedrick liked the Adirondack chair event that was held that evening. He likes those type of events for our community.He will work to see that the 4th of July parade gets approved again this year.

Hunt noted again that the Sunday evening garbage pick up will happen after Taste. Huson and she still working on the policies for renting the community center. They asked to have the issue on the agenda for next meeting.

Kristovich had nothing, although the mayor thanked her for taking the lead on the chair event. Huson asked if study session was still planned for July 6th. Pioneer Baseball Club will be ready with more details on the proposal for Rust Park. A study session was set (with public input encouraged) for 6 pm on July 6th.

Kunkel supports new contract with Pierce County for public defender services. The mayor noted that court fees are bringing in money and was thankful for the efforts of the police department writing tickets.

The meeting adjourned at about 7:35 pm.