Friday, August 3, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: July 17, 2012

The meeting began at 7:12pm with Councilmember Hunt absent. The agenda and previous meeting minutes were approved with no changes.

Staff Reports
Police: Chief Kunkel thanked everyone for participating in the kids 4th of July parade. The department will do a bike safety rodeo at the Ruston Family Fair on August 11th. The Taste of Tacoma went well this year. National Night Out against crime will be on August 7th. So far two parties are scheduled at Court and 49th Street. Kunkel noted that being a police officer is mostly a thankless job, but he read an email thanking a Ruston officer who helped apprehend child rapist. The department is updating their vehicle computers, using old computers donated from Pierce County Sheriff Department. New computers would cost $22,000, so he is grateful for the donation. They have a “use of force” training scheduled for next month.

Fire: Chief Torbet was out of town so Assistant Chief Bruce Allen gave the report. The department is now 22 members strong as they welcomed 2 new members. One new member is in the fire fighter program at Bates, the other has experience with Steilacoom Fire. They only had one call during the Taste this year. The department is now including the Point Ruston site in their training. The CPR training for residents is on-going. 620 hours were logged last month for the department. They will be painting the bunkhouse in the next week or so. Councilmember Hedrick wanted to know the color. Allen described it and announced it was all donated. Councilmember Hardin thanked Firefighter Cunningham for the grant writing. Mayor Hopkins reminded Allen of the other event going at same time at Town Hall (Adirondack chairs) and asked them to try to get the painting done before the chair display.

Public Comment
Ginger Kryger reminded everyone about the Adirondack chair event.

1. Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Presentation – Craig Kenworthy, Executive Director: Kenworthy gave a detailed presentation about how Pierce County is breaking federal air quality standards. EPA requires the reduction of fine particulates in the air. Wood smoke from private homes is the main contributor. There are immediate health impacts and the county faces the loss of federal money and the economic impact of being a non-containment area. The agency estimates there are 24,000 non-compliant stoves in the impacted area. About 7,000 of those need to convert to natural gas to meet new federal standard. More details available on the agency's web page here

2. Semi Annual Budget Review: The mayor said all the specific funds are in decent shape, but the general fund presents the biggest concern. Sales tax revenue is ahead of projection with the influx of $36,000 from the Department of Revenue audit of the Point Ruston project.  Hardin asked what time period the report covered (January 1 to July 17, 2012). The mayor pointed out that revenue for July is lagging since those monies come in at the end of month. There was a refund of $19,080 from LESA and $22,000 from the City of Tacoma because Ruston had been paying for fire hydrants. The mayor was disappointed to see there is still a $59,000 overall deficit for the first 6 months of the year. Hedrick questioned the entry for the grant for “pre-hospital participation”. No one was sure what the grant was for. 

Claims & Payroll: Hedrick asked (in memory of former Councilmember Huson) about the bill that included utility locates at addresses outside of Ruston. The clerk will ask the town maintenance supervisor to review the bill. Hedrick also asked about the $800 annual bill the town pays to the railroad to lease a small corner of the playfield. He wanted to know if there was any way to trade that cost for the privilege the railroad enjoys of running their tracks through Ruston. The mayor mentioned the $12,000 permit the railroad requires for installing the new sewer on Baltimore. Hopkins said the franchise agreement (that allows them to run their rail line through town) has not made any progress, but he was all for playing hardball with them. Claims and payroll were approved 4-0.

Mayor’s Time
Mayor Hopkins stated he will miss next meeting. It is Night Out and he will be at the block party on his street. He asked the council to consider canceling the next meeting since they may also want to attend. He is almost done pricing new garbage cans and hopes to have the new system running by September. He is working on paving Baltimore Street and with Tacoma Water on the new lines for 49th. He has a bid from the sewer contractor for paving improvements on Baltimore but the town engineer is trying to get a better price. The engineer asked for the public’s patience for the remaining paving. They are not always able to get notice out before work begins.

Council Time

Hedrick had nothing.

Hardin wanted some attention for the north side of town for street improvements. Areas of Winnifred Street are also in need of repair. He had been assigned to follow up on the issue of waiving fees and insurance requirements for renting town facilities. Any waiving of any fees or insurance is not recommended by attorney. The mayor agreed and to be safe thought it might even apply to the town’s use like fire department events. Hardin did not want to take any risk of lawsuits since a couple of attorney’s seem to target Ruston. The town attorney will bring change to the rules back for council approval.

Kristovich had nothing.

Judd had nothing.

The meeting adjourned at 7:22 pm.

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