The meeting began at 7:05 pm with Councilmember Kristovich absent. The agenda was approved with no changes. The minutes were approved without corrections. Councilmember Hunt complimented the town clerk on how well she writes the minutes.
Fire: Chief Torbet thought the ribbon cutting at Point Ruston went well. Their department enjoyed working with Tacoma Fire for the event. They responded to two aid calls during the 5-K run. Their department has started tracking the volunteer hours each month. 342 hours were logged in April. There were 7 calls in total last month, 5 medical aid and 2 fire. The fire calls were a gas leak and fire alarm, both of which turned out to be unfounded. Some of their fire fighters are attending training in eastern Washington in June. Hunt confirmed the cost is covered in the training budget.
Police: Chief Kunkel agreed that the Point Ruston 5-K went well. He did not see any major traffic impacts from event. The new impound law is working well. The inter-local agreement to provide police coverage to Point Defiance Park was approved and Ruston started coverage May 1st.
Kunkel asked the council to surplus two old patrol vehicles. They just purchased a new used car, buying a 2005 to replace a 2000 model. The money for the purchase is in the budget. He may be able to trade in both old cars for a credit for service with the dealer. Hedrick asked that both new(er) vehicles be painted the same color – which was already planned. Hunt asked when the police chiefs conference was located this year (Kennewick). The mayor complimented the department on their increased foot patrols.
General Public Comment
Kevin Moser wanted to be on the record stating what a poor job the sewer contractor is doing with so many roads torn up around town. The dust is unbearable. He has heard the explanations, but did not think it was ok. Moser asked if the town attorney was involved yet (not yet).
Sandy Alstead wanted to know when the sidewalks on her street would be repaired after the sewer instillation and informed the council that the alley behind her house now has standing water. The mayor explained there are storm water problems in her area. They are designing some corrections that involve the sidewalks, so they don’t want to repair them just to have to replace them again with the repairs.
Don Torbet passed along a comment from one of his customers at Ruston Market, “I was looking for Ruston – I think I found Beruit.”
1. Ordinance 1353 – Revised Ruston Franchise Agreement (1st Reading): This replaces the now expired agreement with Washington Natural Gas (now Puget Sound Energy – PSE). PSE had a representative at the meeting who thanked the town for negotiating a fair agreement. Many of conditions of the agreement are set by state law; Ruston is not allowed to charge a franchise fee but will be refunded their attorney fees. Councilmember Hedrick confirmed this agreement is similar to other municipalities. Hunt confirmed it is not exclusive; if another provider comes to the area Ruston can contract with them as well.
The mayor asked what was happening with service to Point Ruston. The representative said he understood Point Ruston had two options; 1) convert the high pressure line on Baltimore as it reaches the development or run the high pressure line into the development and convert it to lower pressure later. Either way it is an expensive process and he understood the developer had not made a decision yet. Hedrick confirmed the rates are set by a state commission. Hedrick wanted to know what happened to the infrastructure if PSE went away. PSE said they don’t expect that to happen, they hope to expand. The town attorney pointed to section 15 of the agreement showing that a new company would have to apply but the town could not reasonably withhold approval under state law.
2. Ordinance 1368 – Repeal RMC 12.08 – Small Works Roster (2nd Reading): Hedrick reminded the audience this was to clean up Ruston’s code and keep it consistent with state law. The measure passed 4-0.
3. Ordinance 1369 – Repeal RMC 1.01.020 and RMC 1-01-040 (2nd Reading): Hunt thanked the town attorney for finding all these inconsistencies in the town’s code. Hedrick explained that this ordinance replaces the News Tribune with the Tacoma Daily Index for notices that must be published. Passed 4-0.
4. Ordinance 1370 – Amend RMC 12.08 Adopting Current WSDOT Standards (2nd Reading): Passed 4-0.
5 .Ordinance 1371 – One Day Business Licenses (2nd Reading): Councilmember Hardin thank Hunt for getting the ordinance on the table and the town attorney for drafting it with flexibility. He also thanked the citizens and business district for putting on the event. The attorney asked if the town wanted to change the ordinance to include a provision that events like this cover all the town costs. Hedrick said he was not ready to take that step right now. The measure passed 4-0.
6. Ordinance 1373 – Amend RMC 21.02.010 Update Sanitary Sewer Fees (2nd Reading): Hunt thought the ordinance and fee schedule were well written. With one change to the name of the restaurant group, the ordinance passed 4-0.
7. Resolution 506 – Declaring Property Surplus and Authorizing Sale: The sale of the two old police cars passed 4-0.
The meeting went to into executive session for 15 minutes to discuss legal matters at about 8:05 pm. Kristovich arrived just as the executive session began. The regular meeting was reconvened at 8:15 pm.
Claims and Payroll: Approved 5-0
Hopkins referred to an email he had sent the council about a new garbage truck for sale in Camas, Washington. He and maintenance chief Steve Taylor were heading down to look at the truck the following Thursday. This truck has an automatic lift and is needed to save the labor/injury to town staff. The truck cost is $40,000 and another $45,000 to outfit the town with new cans. The truck has 80,000 miles. It could be purchased with an inter-fund loan from the utility reserves.
The mayor confirmed the council had received the outlay reports on the sewer project. He notified them that he wants to hire a full time utility clerk. He has noted that too many things are falling through the cracks right now. When he took office, there was $16,000 in unpaid bills that has been eliminated, but the town needs someone to stay on top of the issue. He asked for council input and plans on putting an ad out soon. He said the next issue he wants to tackle is the investment policy.
Hedrick was frustrated that the paving has not started on the sewer work yet, especially the alley that was not graded correctly that he mentioned at the last meeting. The mayor noted other problems in that area (failed compaction, storm water issues) and that the engineer is working on a proposal to fix the problems. Hopkins anticipated a solution by the next meeting.
Hunt thanked the town for installing a “Children At Play” sign near the playground, but still wants to see speed bumps installed. The mayor was concerned about the cost and meeting Department of Transportation codes. Hunt agreed to research the issue. She also apologized for missing the last meeting. The new meeting day was not scheduled correctly in her calendar.
Hardin voiced his support for hiring a utility clerk. He asked what the interest rate was on an inter-fund loan. He wanted to explore any leverage to use with the disputes with the sewer contractor. The attorney said there is a retainage fund the town could use, but the mayor was reluctant to take any action in the middle of the project.
Kristovich apologized for being late.
Judd had no comment.
The meeting adjourned at 8:32 pm.