My last City Council post was about the shortest Council meeting ever, one year ago. Hey. I had to catch up on work that had piled up while I was campaigning last year, and then we had a pandemic. Anyhow, I’ll try to do better from here on in, since I’m no longer spending many, many hours calling voters in other states to let them know their rights. We are soooo lucky here in WA.
Last night’s Study Session (9 Dec 2020) began at 5pm and ended at 9:58. I’m calling that five hours. Here are my meeting notes on the agenda WITH the caveat that after about the third hour, I had to go make supper. So I missed things; nor did I check my notes against meeting minutes or with other attendees. Please post to this blog if I’m factually incorrect anywhere. I express opinions in my notes — these opinions are mine alone.
For me, there are three important takeaways: 1) Item 9, re Gold Mountain Golf Course, needs community input; 2) The 2021 budget includes over $215,000 for new police SUVs, in a year where the rest of us have to tighten our belts; and 3) Councilor Simpson’s claim in his Council Report that the lockdown hasn’t worked; we should listen to the scientists and re-open the country.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2020
CITY COUNCIL STUDY SESSION AGENDA
5:00 PM – Via Zoom Webinar
A. BRIEFINGS on AGENDA ITEMS
1. Confirm Reappointment of Jeffery Flood to the Bremerton Housing Authority Board of Commissioners [CONSENT — was placed on the Consent Agenda for 16 Dec 2020 meeting.]
2. Confirm Reappointment of Kirsten Dahlquist to the Design Review Board [CONSENT]
3. Confirm Reappointment of Dean Kelly to the Design Review Board [CONSENT]
4. Confirm Appointment of George Tossimer to the Design Review Board [CONSENT]
5. Update on the City of Bremerton’s Workforce Diversity Policy and Implementation Plan (Information only)
This was presented by Charlotte Nelson, HR Mgr., City of Bremerton
“All contract and bid documents are required to contain the City’s ADA and EEO Statements…”
“Removed name, address, and name of school that applicant attended from initial screening process for recruitments”
Note that Charlotte claims that Kitsap County census data was used because Census doesn’t break down for Bremerton — in fact, they do, and racial diversity here is greater than Kitsap Co.
In discussion, a basic philosophical difference was revealed — if we promote from within, how do we increase diversity? Charlotte held that entry-level positions could be filled with non-white people. However, it appears that City does not do outreach to Marvin Williams, for example, or other non-white community centers. Pres. Younger brought up that Fire Chief, Police Chief, Public Works director, others, were all promoted from within without outreach, & Finance Chief promoted from within after outreach. Asked to explain discrepancy, Mayor Wheeler stated that he was philosophically committed to rewarding loyalty [check with him for exact wording]. He stated that promoting from within preserved “institutional knowledge”. My question: when the institution lacks diversity, should not the institution be changed to align with his stated commitment to his signature Workforce Diversity Policy? IMHO, one can want to do two good things at the same time, and it’s a son of a gun to figure out how.
6. Telecommunications License Agreement with Kitsap County Amateur Radio Club for Equipment on Cheryl Street Tower
440 MHz transmitter / receiver
7. Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 5387 establishing City of Bremerton FY-2020 Budget as amended by Ordinance No. 5397
Michael Simpson complains that Mayor prioritized using Covid money to give laptops & hot spots to Bremerton school kids over giving money to rental assistance, businesses, etc. He believes he was tricked [my paraphrase] into approving this by Council calling it a loan — Pres. Younger intervenes to say no, it was never presented as a loan. Mike Riley says on 2 Dec their Covid spending was approved, including internal costs — this latter money is listed under Personnel in the FY-2020 Budget. Riley also says that a third round of funding for local small businesses was disbursed as well. [Sent to Consent agenda]
8. Professional Services Agreement with Mingay Golf Course Design Ltd. for Master Plan Architectural and Design Services for the Gold Mountain Cascade Course
“Revenue can come back to support … the City” Jeff Elevado, Dir of Parks
Pat Sullivan asks about expenditures — they’re asking for $41K for Design Master Plan, PLUS an estimated $500/visit for consultation — where are they flying from? Answer from Elevado — These costs are only IF we approve a Scope of Work increase. Consultant is in Toronto, but visits will be scheduled around his visits to Seattle area, so we’re only responsible for ferry fare to Bremerton. Daugs asks about implementing this $41K design plan. Elevado believes much of the work can be done in-house; Daugs asks about timeline and costs of installation and maintenance. 4% of golf revenues are set aside annually into reserve specifically for such capital improvements. Daugs asks if a consultant closer to home couldn’t be found? Mark Knowles responds that this consultant has been doing the majority of his work in the PNW for at least the last five years. Simpson asks “why are we going outside our nation?” He mentions travel restrictions, which isn’t a stupid comment. “I’d much rather have somebody who’s here in the United States.” Wheeler interjects that many companies in Bremerton and in Kitsap County do business in Canada, so we risk their incomes if we start discriminating against Canadian companies. Simpson reiterates his America First argument. Simpson says this was a no-bid contract, “how can we ensure we’re getting the best bang for the buck.” He mentions the burden on Bremerton taxpayers. Elevado asks Council to trust that Parks has experience in this field and they too are interested in the best bang for the bucks. AND that the golf course is supported by enterprise [thingamajigs], and NOT taxpayer funds.
Knowles says this plan would give the Golf Course a Plan that would serve as detailed instructions for installers, as well as “a vision for the property”– it presents a hole by hole (per Elevado interjection) , slope by slope, water regime by water regime, analysis of the property. Knowles also emphasizes that Gold Mtn has the potential to be better than the Olympic Course, which will attract visitors. Elevado notes that the Master Plan will call for decreased maintenance, as it will correct things like low spots that collect water. My question: how does the golf course interact with the watershed as a whole? Is there nutrient or pollution runoff? Knowles says consultant wants input from maintenance and other staff, but makes no mention of environmental input. He says he wants the golfcourse to be an international attraction. Marked for the General Business Agenda.
9. Interdepartmental Agreement between Parks & Recreation and Public Works & Utilities Departments for the Lease of Gold Mountain Golf Complex and Irrigation Water Supply
Cami Apfelback says this is basically just a renewal of 2019 lease or rates. It’s a 10-yr lease and addresses both that and the water supply. Leslie: have we always done this? Pres Younger says yeah, every 10 years. Kevin says, he thought there’d be a cheaper rate for the golf course, since it’s for our benefit, and has another question on pesticides/herbicides. Land rental rates were originally set to compensate for loss of timber harvestability, per Cami. Irrigation water rate established on the basis of its being an interruptible water supply for up to 12-14 days by extreme drought. Therefore it’s incumbent on them to establish more water capacity on-site with ponds, pools, etc. Golf course is the single highest water consumer in the Bremerton Water District. Have reduced water use by 232 gals/day since 2005. Kevin asks, do we test for herbicides/ pesticides. Cami responds yes, we test for that, in a way. Elevado states that “we” consider ourselves “stewards of the watershed”. Claims golf course is the best neighbor because a housing development would input chemicals and nutrients without oversight. Since our Bremerton watershed is forested, creating one of the purest water sources in our country, I ask myself wouldn’t additional forest be even better than a golf course? Kevin asks if Council can limit output of fouled runoff — Elevado says since it costs money to create such runoffs, Golf Course is intrinsically against creating such runoffs. Self-policing works, in other words. Knowles says that healthy turf is the best filter for fouled runoff. Placed on Consent Agenda. THIS SHOULD BE COMMENTED ON BY COMMUNITY!!!
10. Contract Modification Agreement No. 1 to Professional Services Agreement with Robinson Noble, Inc. for Hydrogeological Services
This is mostly for wellhead monitoring, and this contract will complete the task. Robinson Noble is on retainer for on-call hydrogeological services, e..g, are we seeing a change in efficiency. Placed on consent agenda.
11. Sole Source Purchase of Equipment from Whitney Equipment Co. for OB-1 Pump Station
[Was cooking for this agenda item.]
12. Resolution to establish January 20, 2021 as the Public Hearing date to vacate a portion of alley east of Pitt Ave and south of East 11th Street
The old Manette Tv Bldg asked to vacate the alley so they could expand eastward — they’re only asking for a portion of the alley, only the northern 72 feet. Both adjacent private propertiers have agreed to it. H&B has a temporary deck on part of the alley; visual inspection shows that the Manete TV bldg already overhangs the alley by 2 foot, while Hound and Bottle is actually set back 2′ from property line.
This is a class 3 ROW, so no compensation owed to City. Since it’s a 12-foot alleyway, each adjacent property owner would gain 7′. Placed on Consent Agenda;
13. Contract Modification Agreement No. 1 to Professional Services Agreement with Parametrix Inc. for the Oyster Bay Beach Sewer Upgrades Project .
14. Contract Modification No. 2 to Professional Services Agreement with the Johnston Group
[Eating the supper I’d cooked for these agenda items.]
15. Purchase of 2021 Vehicles and Equipment
2020 is a bad time to buy six (6) 2021 Dodge Avengers for the BPD at $48,428-$51,302 apiece, plus $7-$11K of “equipment” per vehicle. (per p. 143 of the 202-page PDF 12/9/2020 Council Packet, downloadable at City of Bremeron.
16. Proposed Public Hearing on Ordinance to amend Bremerton Municipal Code Section 20.46.010 of the Zoning Code regarding Accessory Dwelling Units
A single public comment has led to a proposal to allow TWO (2) ADUs, instead of one. Younger led a long discussion about the difference between triplexes and this proposal. He asks are we contemplating a major shift away from single-family housing. He also strongly urges that this increased supply follow City of Seattle’s mandate that 2nd ADU is under a 50-year req’t to rent that ADU at below-market rates. Younger proposes that a study session be held after the public hearing, rather than a hearing directly on the ordinance, especially in light of the fact that only four members of the public have commented to date.
Finally, the Prez asks other council members, in addition to Daugs and Sullivan, if they too want to open up the discussion, i.e., have the public hearing. Mayor interjects that this is a pretty major punt, and Prez replies, thank you, Mayor, I’m running the meeting. Simpson implies that he’s ok with opening it up. Gorman prefers to get it done in one, i.e., we’re going to vote on the public hearing for the ordinance. Wheat wants to create more affordable housing. Younger proposes that “if there’s total public chaos, we’ll have an amendment ready to open it up.” Sullivan says that 2 ADUs is NOT what they talked about all year. 1 ADU is what they discussed. She believes it’s worth the extra time to get it right. More of our residents need to have input. Satter & Spencer of planning ask is it the 2nd ADU that is causing the controversy, and Younger says yes, an amendment to have only 1 ADU, not 2, should be prepared by Council. Roger Lubovich says that such an amendment is legal & doable.
Younger was very interested in this topic, asked questions of Planning Dept reps Satter and Spencer for over an hour. Not one of these questions acknowledged need for affordable housing in Bremerton, not to mention WA state req’t for infill in all classified urban areas, including B’ton. He made many references to his subrural / suburban district as though it were the Ordinance’s prime target, and would be blanketed with down-market triplexes, like miniature contagious stripmalls.
B. GENERAL COUNCIL BUSINESS
o Finance & Parking Committee Briefing (12/08/20 Special Meeting) – Chair Michael Goodnow
o Other General Council Business
Internal poll of council reports & who’ll run for Prez. Wheat makes beautiful impassioned speech calling for grace & courtesy & collegiality. Council must be transparent and cohesive; she strives, all can. Simpson says, we’ve been in lockdown, it isn’t working, it’s time to stop the madness and listen to the scientists & reopen the country.
Sullivan, Goodnow, and Simpson say their personal lives prohibit them from running for VP or Prez of Council. Sullivan indicates she may not run for another term. Daugs, Wheat, Gorman, Younger all available to run for Prez or VP.
C. ADJOURNMENT OF STUDY SESSION
Done, shortly before 10pm.