Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Council Meeting: Dec. 5, 2011
2. Resolution 498 – Authorizing the agreement with PAC for on-call electrical services: Huson asked the same question and received the same answer on the budget. Councilmember Hunt confirmed that this contract replaces Mo Fesharaki’s services. Passed 5-0.
3. Resolution 500 – Approving the permit for BNSF to build a communications facility at 5030 N. Winnifred: The mayor began by explaining this was a closed record hearing with no further public comment allowed. The town planner outlined the proposal and the conditions attached to the planning commission’s approval (keep the tree in the area and put slats in the fence around the small shed on the alley). Hunt confirmed the location of the fence. Councilmember Hardin asked why this was a second application. The planner said, according to the BNSF representative, that Point Ruston had refused to cooperate with their first proposal to locate the communications equipment on the Stack Hill tunnel – he felt in retaliation for the railroad not allowing Point Ruston’s proposal to attach a natural gas line on that same tunnel. Huson was glad they had applied for the permit before completing construction. Passed 5-0.
4. Ordinance 1346 – Amending Ruston’s noise control standards (2nd reading): Councilmember Hedrick stated this was the third noise ordinance he had seen in his time on the council. This one left enforcement to the discretion of the officer. There was concern that the decibel level in Ruston’s current code was not in the state code. The town attorney felt this kept Ruston’s code consistent with the most recent standards and complimented the two ordinances already on the books. It gives the officer more tools for enforcement; such as when the noise is clearly audible at 50 feet after 10 pm at night. The ordinance had gone through SEPA review as required. Passed 5-0.
5. Ordinance 1340 – Standards for street excavation permits (3rd reading): Huson felt the proposal had not addressed his concerns about the impact on people’s use of their front yards. He did not think permits should be required to landscape the parking strip in front of your home. The town attorney thought it started the conversation about people using town property as their own space. Huson responded that since the town requires residents to maintain the parking strip by their home, if the town was going to require a permit for that work he expected payment for his services. Hardin noted that this draft still required permits for digging within 15 feet of the property line. The attorney will clarify that issue in a new draft for the next meeting.
6. Ordinance 1344 – 2012 Budget: The mayor said he had estimated the revenues conservatively and hoped for more construction tax and sales tax as he and Hedrick continued their research into where the Point Ruston work is paid. Police Chief Kunkel presented the police budget, which had been provided to the mayor but not uploaded for the presentation. The mayor wanted the overtime factored into the salaries; Hedrick liked the separate line item. Hunt said that was not how they did things when she managed for JC Penny, they were not allowed any overtime. Hedrick wanted to look at how other communities provide police coverage, such as Woodway who only pays half of what Ruston does. Kunkel noted that Ruston has the second lowest paid officers in the region. He was proposing a 10% pay increase. Huson stated the town simply cannot afford the proposed budget and called on the chief and mayor to reduce it. Kunkel said he was shopping for medical coverage and thought he could provide coverage for officers and their families for about what the town is currently paying. The issue was tabled until the next meeting (the last of the year) when the budget had to be approved by law.
7. Ruston School Discussion: Hunt presented a proposal (below) for appraisals on the building. She wanted the full scale appraisal for $7,500 and an assessment on what current rental rates should be. The lease for the current tenant expires in January. The mayor suggested shuttering the building to save the $40,000 in costs projected for this year as one option. Jaydosh (who spoke during public comment) is in this line of work and suggested having an agent give an estimate for the building if it was sold, torn down, mothballed, rented, etc. Hardin suggested a public hearing to get input before making a decision. Huson wanted a study session to discuss the options first, then get the public involved. A study session was set for 6 pm on December 19th before the next council meeting. Huson noted the school is part of the zoning code Master Plan, all of which should be addressed. The mayor mentioned he had told Onward Investors when he met with them about the Commencement that the building may be for sale.
Hopkins thanked several folks for helping put on the tree lighting event. He thanked Hardin for attending the monthly staff meeting today. He commented about the angry response from some members of the public now that the town does not give away electricity for free (a strict adherence to the payment policies began when the new town clerk took over).