Highlights from the weekly report (February 16) from City of Lakewood Manager, Andrew Neiditz to the Mayor and Council Members:
- Lakewood Refuse Service Rates: Lakewood Refuse Service has submitted its revised rates for garbage/recycling/yard waste services which will go into effect March 1st. The contract allows for an automatic annual increase related to either a change in the Consumer Price Index for the area or a change in the disposal fee. The new rates incorporate both a CPI increase of 2.513% and disposal fee increase of $5.93 per ton resulting in an average net increase of approximately 5% to the residential customer.
- AWC Legislative Conference: The city manager and Government Relations/Communications Director attended the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Legislative conference in Olympia this week. Governor Gregoire presented her priorities in the areas of education, economic development, and health care, and the legislative leadership of both parties also presented to the group of city representatives from around the State. Staff was able to schedule meetings with 5 of our 6 legislators and our lobbyists.
- Military Affairs Committee: Councilmember Richardson presented a PowerPoint presentation on the Berk Report on military lands annexation feasibility to the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee. There were about 40 people in attendance, including representatives from McChord AFB, Fort Lewis, Rep. Adam Smith’s and Dave Reichert’s offices, and Pierce County. Questions were raised about the issue as a federal not local problem, partial land acquisition, timing, phasing, and fiscal impacts.
- Traffic Signal Changes: Traffic signals on Gravelly Lake Dr between 112th St to Mt Tacoma Dr. will be switched starting this Sunday night/Monday morning to flashing lights (red on the side street and yellow on Gravelly Lake Drive except for the 100th St signal which will be red on all directions) between the hours 10:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:00 midnight. to 5:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. We are doing this in response to a number of citizen complaints about the long side street wait times during night hours.
- Helen Tucker Slater Litigation: A defense verdict was received in the Helen Tucker Slater litigation this week, which was a win for the City. Ms. Slater originally sued the City on a variety of grounds with claims stemming from her termination as a Victim Advocate in the Legal Department in 2002. The City was represented by insurance defense counsel and the City’s witnesses included a number of City employees. A debriefing is planned to review any “lessons learned” either from the case itself or from feedback we are able to collect from the jury.
- Angle Traffic Calming Meeting: On March 6th, at Idlewild Elementary School from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Public Works will hold a neighborhood meeting with residents and users of Angle Lane to discuss traffic calming options. Speeding on Angle Lane has apparently been a long standing issue with the neighborhood. Traffic studies have confirmed that under the City’s Neighborhood Traffic Control program, action is warranted. Because police enforcement emphasis has failed, we have now progressed to the Phase II stage of the program which involves an engineered solution. Options have been presented to the neighborhood via a survey involving 120 residences. 60 responses were received with the order of preference as follows: install sidewalks, raise speed limit to 30 mph, install speed hump(s), install curbing along edge of roadway, install traffic circle(s), install center island narrowing(s) and install chicanes. The purpose of the meeting is to inform the citizens of the issue and possible solutions and to provide another opportunity for input.
- Jackson Case Update: The AdreAnna Jackson investigation remains a major priority for the Lakewood Police Department’s Homicide unit. Part of the ongoing investigation is to elicit leads and tips from the public at large. The LPD Homicide unit, with the assistance of the FBI, has been trying to get the reward ($60,000) information and the request for assistance to the public through bulletin boards. Clear Channel Corporation was contacted and has agreed to donate four bulletin boards in the area and will produce and install them. This works out to be a $100-150,000 donation. The anticipated roll out date of the first billboard will be around March 7th and the unveiling will be announced through a press conference. We are hopeful that individuals with knowledge in this case will come forward.
- Follow-up from domestic violence stakeholders’ meetings: A bill has been introduced into the Washington State Legislature by the Attorney General that would make assault by strangulation a Class B Felony crime. Since its inception, LPD has handled strangulation cases as second degree assaults, and our officers have been trained to investigate strangulation cases and understand the seriousness of this type of crime and the potential for lethality to the victim. The passage of this bill should prove helpful to the prosecution of these cases since it is likely that more of these cases will be charged at the felony level.