Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: Nov. 20, 2012

The meeting started at 7:06pm, after waiting for Councilmember Hunt to arrive.  When she did not, the meeting began. Councilmember Kristovich was excused, Hunt was not. There were no meeting minutes to review and the agenda was approved as presented.

Staff Reports
Police: Chief Kunkel thanked the community for participating in the Halloween fun. Santa will visit on December 15th from 10am till noon at town hall. Kunkel outlined training done last month and calls received (reports available with the meeting minutes on the town web page here). He was able to secure computers for the vehicles at a good price. The department is creating a child identification program. The burglar who stole from town hall recently pled guilty and was sentenced to 10 years for that and other burglaries. Councilmember Hardin asked if there would be extra patrol needed in the park during Zoolights. Kunkel said the zoo did not think so, but he believed it would be prudent. He had a meeting scheduled with the park the next day.

Fire: Chief Torbet reported 9 medical aid calls the previous month. The department is pursuing additional training so they can start transporting residents to the hospital if needed. Response times for ambulances are growing countywide. The department is allowed to perform a few transports a year if authorized by a doctor in an emergency. There may be a charge if the department starts transporting regularly.

Santa will be coming on the 15th, arriving on the fire engine. The department will be collecting toys and food door to door again. Tacoma Fire is working on a proposal for dispatch services that would cost the same as the current service, but hopefully reduce the number of times Tacoma is dispatched to Ruston by mistake. CPR training will start after the first of the year again. Harding asked if the cost for liability insurance was included in the budget if the fire department is going to transport. Torbet said that will be researched before any decision is made.

Public Comment
Kathlyn Muller, representing The Commencement building, reiterated their concerns about Point Ruston storing construction material in front of their building.

1. EPA Update: Kevin Rochlin, EPA project manager for the Point Ruston property and adjacent areas, updated the council on the work planned for the peninsula/yacht basin/sediments, the work on the Point Ruston site and the final work on the residential yard project. The new database with the individual yard sample results was also outlined. Councilmember Hedrick asked about any differences in worker regulations versus having people live on the former smelter property. Rochlin said Point Ruston is required to ensure living here is the same as living anywhere else.  Hardin confirmed there are no deed restrictions and that disclosure of the yard samples is required when selling a home anywhere in the EPA area.

Hardin asked for details on the shoreline armoring. The mayor stated that EPA is played as a trump card over local regulations and asked for clarification on Point Ruston’s assertion that Ruston regulations prohibiting the storage area in front of The Commencement do not apply. After further discussion, it was agreed that Ruston will send EPA an email with the issues that need legal clarification. The mayor was also concerned about the locations of the air monitoring stations. Town planner Rob White asked to review any draft EPA/Point Ruston plans. White said Point Ruston has denied Ruston access to inspect storm/sewer lines. Mike Cohen is expected to attend an upcoming meeting to discuss these issues from Point Ruston’s perspective.

2. and 3. Ordinances 1387 & 1388 – Updating B&O taxes (1st Reading): After discussion, the council decided a quaerterly collection would be best, rather than annually and authorizing a $500 limit on the amount the administration can forgive before bringing the decision to the council. Hardin confirmed these new regulations met state guidelines.

4. 2013 Budget Introduction: The mayor stated he does not see the economy improving, but the outlook for 2013 for Ruston is better than last year. The projected deficit is down to $122,000 for 2013 and the deficit that was projected for 2012 is less than expected. The mayor anticipates it will be 3 or 4 years before Ruston can achieve a balanced budget. The police chief was questioned extensively about his budget, but no changes were made. Kunkel is very concerned about the pay rate for his officers, which is about the lowest in the region with no family medical benefits (but changed in the 2013 budget).

The deficit is pulled from the surplus property fund, but with the interest payments the fund remains static. The garbage rates will stay the same even while repaying the loan for the new truck and cans. The school fund is now holding its own with the new lease rates from Point Ruston.

Claims and Payroll were approved 3-0.

Mayor’s Time
Hopkins noted that The Commencement has received their final occupancy permit. He anticipates the new garbage truck to be running by December 17th.

Council Time
Hedrick had no comment.
Hardin had no comment.
Judd had no comment.

The meeting adjourned at 8:55pm.

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