By Debbie Klosowski, Mayor, City of University Place
Happy New Year! We’re off and running to a great start in 2011! Council started the week with two back to back meetings interviewing applicants for several City Commissions along with considering a U.P. Refuse Rate increase.
First, Council recognized former Planning Commissioners Dan Carnrite and Gary Hochstrasser who decided to step down after many years of service to the City. During their tenure on the Planning Commission, both provided invaluable input on issues such as the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, Zoning Code and Town Center Design Standards. We wish them well in their future endeavors. Council also recognized Dirk Thompson for his past leadership as Economic Development Commission Chair.
Interviews for vacancies on the City’s Planning, Economic Development and Public Safety Commissions occupied most of the Council’s time this week. Our City is fortunate in that so many outstanding individuals came forward to volunteer their time an expertise to help make our City a better place to live. I think it is safe to say that this was one of the most difficult appointment processes due to the caliber of candidates that applied. Although we had more candidates than openings, it is our hope that everyone will participate in future meetings.
Newly appointed commissioners are:
- Cliff Quisenberry (reappointed), Frank Boykin, Jr. and Anthony Paulson
Economic Development Commission
- John Siridakis and Ruthann Reim McCaffree (reappointed)
- Peggy Rose Webster, Chris Nye, Rick Larson and Ronald Kent
- Matthew Allen (nonvoting) representing the Chambers Bay Golf Course
Public Safety Commission
- Phillip Hoffman, Michael Smith, Clayton Dickinson and Rick Hoefel (reappointed)
- Galina Perekopsky representing Multifamily and alternate Daniel Grey
All commission meetings are open to the public. Please visit www.CityofUP.com for commission agendas, meeting dates and locations.
U.P. residents will see a slight increase in their garbage bills due to an increase in the landfill disposal fee. This March the county’s “tipping fee” will rise from $112.94 per ton to $123.23 for disposing garbage. Under our current franchise agreement with U.P. Refuse and Lakewood Refuse, any “pass through” increases are borne by customers. The impact to a resident using a 24-gallon toter with recycling based on every other week pickup is 30 cents from $16.46 to $16.76 per month.
Due to a negative Consumer Price Index, U.P. Refuse did not request a CPI rate adjustment or any other changes or increases to the franchise agreement. For more information, please contact Neil Holden at U.P. Refuse at 564-3212.
U.P. Police Station
Plans to relocate the U.P. Police Station are continuing on schedule. Right now, the U.P. Police Department and Pierce County Fire District share space in the Public Safety Building behind City Hall. Due to the growing needs of the Fire District, the City and District reached an agreement for the Fire District to buy out the City’s share of the building. As a result, the police will move into a new space along Drexler Drive immediately below the Library in the new Civic Building. This space will be approximately 20 percent larger than the existing space.
Under an agreement, the U.P. Fire District is buying out the City’s share of the building for $1 million which will be used to pay for design and construction costs for the new police facility. Helix Architects is finalizing a design which will be presented to council on January 18. The project should be ready for bid in late February with an anticipated move in date in late summer.
We are putting on the finishing touches to both the Civic Building and the Library tenant improvement project in preparation for the February opening. A change order was authorized to complete a sidewalk in front of the Civic Building ($39,294) along Market Place, along with other necessary revisions to the building’s electrical and mechanical systems ($14,781).
Both the building and Library TI will be completed significantly under budget with a minimum of change orders. For projects such as this the industry average for change orders are 10-15 percent over the original contract amount. For this project we have had just over 2 percent in required change orders. By keeping these changes low, we were able to provide additional features to the project within the original budget such as the new sidewalks that are under construction around the building. Even with these additions, the final costs will be $150,000 below the original budget for the project and Jody Miller Construction is on schedule to complete the Library in time for the grand opening on February 12.
I toured the library site this week and was absolutely thrilled by the incredible space, atmosphere and amenities that our residents will soon enjoy. Construction crews are working hard to finish up last minute touches. Please join us at the Pierce County/U.P. Library Grand Opening on Saturday, February 12, at noon!
Pierce Transit Open House – Pierce Transit is sponsoring several open houses to discuss the upcoming February 8 ballot measure regarding a proposed 0.3 percent increase in the sales tax to preserve transit service at the existing levels. If the measure fails, Pierce Transit plans a 35 percent reduction in services. The Lakewood/University Place area meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 19, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Pierce Transit Training Center, 3720 96th St. SW. For more information, visit PTtomorrow.org.
Grandview Drive Safe Routes to Schools – Join us on Friday, January 21, at 10 a.m. near the Senior Center as we break ground for this long awaited project! Schoolkids, motorists and pedestrians will soon enjoy sidewalks, bikelanes and streetlights along the west side of Grandview Drive between 27th Street and 19th Street. This project is funded through a $782,000 State Safe Routes to Schools grant. Special thanks to City Engineer Jack Ecklund and staff for their success in obtaining this grant!
Playground by the Sound – Almost There! – Congratulations to the nonprofit Playground by the Sound group which recently won $30,000 in the Pepsi Refresh Contest along with a $40,000 grant from the Names Family Foundation. The group hopes to win additional funds, grants for swings, climbing walls and other playground components in the online contest this month via a partnership called Refresh UP which will also benefit the U.P. Library, Volunteer Center and Parks & Recreation scholarships. For more information, visit www.refreshup.org. Please show your support by voting online EVERY day this month!
Black Tie Ball & Auction – Want to get all dressed up but no place to go? Help support U.P. Parks & Recreation programs at the first annual Black Tie Ball & Auction on Friday, February 4 at 6 p.m. at the Fircrest Golf Course. Tickets are $100 per person or reserve a table of 10 for $1,000. Enjoy live music, dinner and a no host bar. Must be 21 or older. Purchase tickets at the U.P. Recreation office or by contacting Dixie Harris at 564-6373. All proceeds benefit the U.P. Community Supported Parks & Recreation.
Speak UP – Do you have questions, comments or concerns about City issues? Or would you just like to drop in and chat with City Council members in a casual setting? If so, please join us on:
- Wednesday, February 9 – U.P. Senior Center, 2534 Grandview Drive West
- Thursday, February 10 – New Tacoma Cemetery, 9212 Chambers Creek Road
- Thursday, March 3 – First Baptist Church, 2844 Mountain View West
- Wednesday, March 23 – U.P. Library, 3609 Market Place West
All meetings start at 7 p.m. Other meetings can also be arranged for organizations, neighborhoods or businesses. Please contact Marian Holloway at 460-2500 to schedule an appointment.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to contact me at dklosowski@CityofUP.com.