By Dawn Masko, City Administrator, City of DuPont
1. Update on DRS Audit – Mayor Michael Grayum issued the following statement after the June 11th City Council meeting regarding the Department of Retirement Systems’ (DRS) audit report issued on May 31, 2013:
The Department of Retirement Systems recently conducted a limited audit of certain City contracts. These contracts were for the purpose of hiring of independent contractors to provide services to the City. The Department has raised questions regarding three of the contracts reviewed that date back to 2006, 2009 and 2010. The three contracts were for the positions of the City’s former Fire Chief, Police Chief and Museum Director.
DRS has acknowledged it was a recent news article about public employee “salary spiking” with a separate public entity that prompted their review. The questions now raised by DRS do not involve salary spiking. Instead, they relate to whether contracts structured by the City of DuPont in 2006, 2009 and 2010 should have been classified as “employee” contracts instead of as “independent contractor” contracts.
I’ve spoken with the previous Mayor and City Administrator, and they confirmed that the structure of the contracts were intended to hire independent contractors – contractors who provided specialized services to the City. They were never intended to add City employees.
As our current Mayor, I’m embracing this porcupine. I am personally reviewing the City’s contracting practices to see whether improvements might be made. We are also working to establish a process that might serve as a model for other cities and public agencies in similar circumstances. We have learned that many local governments throughout Washington have struggled with the complexity of State retirement regulations.
We are working with the legislature, cities, counties, DRS and other public entities on forward-looking solutions that provide clarity and consistency to what a DRS representative has described as “the fourth most complicated retirement system in the country.”
I encourage the Council to explore all options, including the option to appeal. We will continue to keep everyone informed as we move forward.
The City Council has 120 days to decide whether or not to appeal the DRS findings.
2. City Hall System Upgrade
The City’s financial and utility billing computer system upgrade is almost complete. Staff has been undergoing training the past two weeks on the new system. Customers may experience a little longer processing time for transactions at the front counter while staff is learning the new system. We appreciate your patience during this upgrade time and look forward to providing you even more efficient service once we have the new system in place and staff has been trained.
3. City Seeking EMS Volunteers
DuPont is currently accepting applications for motivated and career-minded EMS volunteers. The City of DuPont Fire Department is looking for volunteer EMS Reserves to help staff the Aid Car, assisting with patient care and transport. The reserves will be EMT’s who will supplement our career staff and help enable the fire engine to stay in DuPont and staffed during transport situations. Currently there are fewer private ambulance transport units available to the citizens in DuPont due to growing demand in other areas of the county which absorbs the use of Rural Metro and AMR.
DuPont Fire is looking for Washington State certified EMT’s who will work a minimum of three 12 or 24 hour shifts per month. Reserve EMT’s are volunteers who will be supplied with uniforms. A small stipend is available. They will not participate in suppression activities due to the high cost of uniforms, equipment and training. For more information, please contact the Fire Station at (253) 964-8414.
4. Center Drive Construction
Construction work is scheduled to continue into next week for improvements to the box culvert on Center Drive near the Creekside Village project. The majority of this work will remain under Center Drive. Limited lane closures are anticipated to occur, but one lane in each direction will remain open to allow traffic through when traffic controls are needed. There will be no pedestrian access under the Center Drive culvert during construction activities. Signs will be posted for the sidewalk closure. Once the culvert is completed, work will begin on the construction of the left turn lane into Creekside Village.
Construction is also scheduled to pick up late next week for road improvements and traffic signal installation at Bronson Avenue associated with the new Amazon distribution center adjacent to Intel. Sporadic traffic control will be implemented as crews prepare to remove asphalt, excavate, and lay pipes and conduits for connection of stormwater and traffic signal control systems. When needed, temporary traffic controls will allow one lane in each direction to remain open for traffic through the work zones. Work is scheduled to occur at various times over the next two months, with contractors anticipating completion of traffic signal installation and intersection improvements by mid August.
Staff will continue working with representatives from both projects to ensure coordination and avoid traffic conflicts. Safety is the key in construction zones. Drivers are asked to be alert and obey all temporary traffic controls in construction areas. Remember to “Give ‘em a brake” when driving near work zones for worker safety. Traffic fines will be doubled and zones will be patrolled. Motorcycles should use extra caution.
5. Community Development Update
- Hoffman Hill Division 4 Phase 4 – Two administrative process short plat applications were filed for this project on June 11, 2013. The first application will divide Pageantry Multifamily Tract U into four lots for future multifamily development. The second application will divide Pageantry Multifamily Tract Y into two lots for sale of existing buildings.
- Sequalitchew Creek/Edmond Marsh Restoration Plan – On June 20, 2013, from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM, the Core Group will hold a public planning meeting at DuPont City Hall to provide an overview of the restoration planning process completed to date, including information on beavers, culverts, salmon, ecological function, and existing infrastructure. The meeting notice and materials are posted on the City website on the Sequalitchew Creek Restoration Plan webpage.
6. Fire Department Newsletter
Find out what’s happening with the DuPont Fire Department better by reading their June newsletter.
7. Parks & Greenways Maintenance
The City has received numerous questions and inquiries from citizens regarding a decrease in the level of maintenance provided for our parks and greenways, including the streetscape and medians along Center Drive. The service level decreases noticed are a result of the implementation of 2013 budget reductions, which include eliminating funding for irrigation and contracted maintenance for the medians and landscaped areas outside of the stormwater swales along Center Drive. With this reduction in contracted maintenance services, many of the areas previously manicured along Center Drive are left unmaintained. To help limit encroachment vegetation into the sidewalk areas, Public Works staff will make an effort to complete a single pass mowing adjacent to sidewalks and pedestrian areas along Center Drive as staffing and resources are available.
Why were these reductions needed? These reductions, which continue several years of citywide downsizing of service, are the result of the ongoing economic recession and rejection of property tax measures, which would have increased funding for City services. In an effort to maintain our public safety services as much as possible and direct available funds toward the highest priorities of our community, the City implemented further reductions in other service areas, as well as instituting other revenue increases. Reducing funding for maintaining and irrigating our greenways was one of the measures taken. The City will continue our commitment to finding everyday efficiencies and seeking new revenue sources and volunteer support in order to provide as much service for our community as resources allow.
If you are interested in volunteering to help maintain a park or greenway, please contact City Hall at (253) 964-8121.
8. Streets – Crack Sealing
The City will be continuing its ongoing partnership with Pierce County Public Works to complete street crack sealing on a portion of our roadways. Pierce County Road Maintenance crews are scheduled to being this year’s crack sealing work on Friday, June 21st beginning in the Yehle and Hoffman Hill areas and areas along McNeil and Center Drive. The pavement mainenance work is scheduled to be completed over the next several weeks on Fridays, as weather conditions allow. Roads will remain open to traffic during the work, with appropriate traffic controls in place as needed. The City and County would like to remind motorists to drive carefully and obey all temporary traffic controls while driving through the work zones.
9. Another Successful Eagle Scout Project
Many thanks to A.J. Davis and his enthusiastic group of friends and volunteers who recently transformed the El Rancho Madrona notice posting board. For his Eagle Scout service project, A.J. facilitated removal and replacement of the decades old civic notice posting board serving residents in the El Rancho Madrona area. Kudos to A.J. and to our local Boy Scouts for their continued help in the community!
10. Street Sweeper Delivered
The new street sweeper was delivered to the City this week. Supported by grant funding obtained through the WA State Department of Ecology, the sweeper will be used as an integral part of our stormwater management program. Street sweeping removes dirt, sediment and debris that accumulate along streets, curbs and gutter lines to help keep our storm drainage systems operating properly. Initial training and orientation was provided by the manufacturer’s representative. Staff will be working in the coming weeks to prepare initial routes and street sweeping schedules, which will being first along our most heavily travelled roads. Signage will be posted in areas where sweeping is scheduled to occur.
11. Parks Agency Vacancy
The City is seeking interested residents for appointment to the City’s volunteer Parks & Recreation Agency. Eligible applicants must be residents of DuPont for at least one year. Please submit a letter of interest that includes your relevant professional experience, your reasons for desiring to be appointed to this position, and your thoughts on the most significant parks and recreation issues facing the City in both the short and long term, to the City Clerk at City Hall, 1700 Civic Drive, DuPont, WA 98327.
12. Community Project on Wilmington
Duke Realty has worked with the City to organize its first community improvement project. A small group of volunteers will be meeting on Wednesday, June 19th to help clean and repaint some of the fire hydrants along Wilmington Drive (weather permitting). If you are planning to be downtown on Wednesday, please avoid any “wet paint” signs to help their project be successful.
13. Semi-Annual Citywide Yard Sale
The Semi Annual Citywide Yard Sale is scheduled for Saturday, June 22nd from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM. This sale includes all DuPont exits. Thank you to Northwest Landing ROA for providing advertising in local newspapers. Residents are responsible for directing customers to their homes. Please be courteous and remove all signs upon completion of the sale.
14. Steilacoom-DuPont Relay for Life
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Steilacoom-DuPont gives everyone in the community a chance to help save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Former and current cancer patients, those who have lost a loved one to cancer, families, businesses, faith-based and civic organizations, and anyone wanting to make a difference in the fight against cancer are invited to take part in this exciting team event. Relay for Life takes place from 10:00 AM on June 22nd until 10:00 AM on June 23rd at Pioneer Middle School, 1750 Bob’s Hollow Lane in DuPont. Individuals and teams will camp out around the athletic track, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times throughout the evening. Information about how to form a team or become involved in Relay for Life is available at www.RelayForLife.org or by calling (800) 227-2345. Thank you to Kim Forbes, the Steilacoom-DuPont volunteer Relay event chair for all of her efforts for this worthwhile cause!
15. Sequalitchew Creek Educational Walk
Join the Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed Council for an educational walk down the Sequalitchew Creek trail on June 19th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. The walk will be led by Don Russell and will begin at the DuPont City Hall parking lot and will move to multiple locations for access to views that will highlight discussion of the mid-Sequalitchew Watershed and its marsh areas, water quality and beaver activity. This will not be a challenging or steep walk as it will not be going down into the Sequalitchew ravine, but walking shoes are advised on the trails. Vans to DuPont will be available at Lakewood City Hall at 1:45 PM. Please RSVP to Chris Schutz at (253) 798-7620 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to reserve a seat in the van.
16. Women Veterans Summit
Washington State Women Military Veterans are encouraged to attend the Women Veterans Summit on Saturday, June 29th from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center in Tacoma, WA. This free conference will provide women veterans with information about opportunities and challenges women veterans face today, as well as information on benefits and services they might be entitled to. Register for free today at www.dva.wa.gov/
17. Parks & Recreation
Please call (253) 912-5245 or go to the City’s website at www.ci.dupont.wa.us for registration information, questions on Parks & Recreation activities, or for volunteer opportunities. Want to know more? Like us on Facebook at “City of DuPont Parks, Recreation & Tourism”.
- Parks & Recreation Newsletter – Want to know about upcoming events and programs hosted by the City of DuPont Parks & Recreation? Join our email distribution list! We are committed to the highest level of communication with upcoming programs. Don’t miss another registration deadline. To join, simply text DUPONTREC to 22828. Watch for email updates in your inbox every Monday.
- Adult Co-Ed Softball – Many thanks to the individuals and teams who have registered for our Adult Co-Ed Softball program. In an effort to recruit just a couple more teams, we are extending our deadline to Friday, June 21st at 4:00 PM. The season will run July 7th thru August 4th at DuPont PowderWorks Park and will include 8 games. Each team will consist of 12 adults, with 4 members of the opposite sex on each team. The fee to participate is $595 per team or $50 per individual. Please contact Tom Bradbury at (253) 282-2189 or email@example.com with any questions.
- Summer Camp Info – With the kids out of school, we are all looking for creative ways to keep them occupied. Be sure to check out our summer camp programs for all ages atwww.dupontwa.gov. Camps include baseball, volleyball, art, karate, golf and several others. Camps are strategically scheduled to occur throughout the summer. There is a special summer camp information table set up at City Hall with registration information available. We hope your kids can join the fun!
- Thank You Northwest Landing ROA – Special thanks to Northwest Landing ROA for hosting the annual Ice Cream Social this past Wednesday. A great time was had by all! We are already looking forward to next year’s event. It truly is a great way to celebrate the beginning of summer vacation!
- Golf Committee – A special committee has been formed to help promote golf within the City of DuPont. This volunteer committee will help welcome and assist in upcoming championships at the Home Course. Please contact City of DuPont Tourism at (253) 912-5245 if you are interested in joining our team. Your ideas and enthusiasm are always welcome!
- Volunteer Officials Needed – The DuPont youth sports program is currently seeking umpires for the baseball playoffs in late June and football and soccer officials for upcoming fall programs. If you are interested in volunteering for these much needed roles please contact Tom Bradbury firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our website for information on other programs and events including Karate, Yoga, Track, Kidz Love Soccer, Dance4Life, and more!
18. Steilacoom Farmers’ Market & Concert Series
The Steilacoom Farmers’ Market is officially open and will run each Wednesday through August 28th. The market is open from 3:00 – 7:00 PM and runs in conjunction with the Steilacoom Concerts in the Park which start at 6:30 PM each Wednesday. Fresh produce, flowers, cheese, baked goods (including gluten-free) and a variety of specialty foods and crafts will be offered. For weekly “fresh finds at the market” updates please follow the market on Facebook or join the mailing list at www.steilacoomfarmersmarket.
The first concert of the series will be on Wednesday, June 19th and will feature America’s 1st Corps Army Band. The concerts are held at Pioneer Park, 1700 Commercial Street. In the event of inclement weather the alternate location is the Steilacoom Community Center, 2301 Worthington Street. No alcoholic beverages are allowed. The series is sponsored by the Town of Steilacoom and the MTC Group. For more concert information please call (253) 581-1076.