Kitsap Sheriff’ Dept abruptly withdrew from their long-term contracts to provide security to Bremerton Municipal Court, and other nearby municipal courts, new contractor proposed, unarmed. Additional hires sorely needed by DCD and DPW to process unprecedented surge in building permit applications, to be funded by corresponding surge in permit fees (see Mayor’s Report, 3 March 2021, for very impressive figures on how much extra $$ we’re making in permit fees. Courtesy and decorum conspicuous in their absence in this meeting: one Councilor even heatedly interrupted Mayor in his presentation; both that Councilor and Younger repeatedly addressed staff and even Council President by first name, as is commonly the case between superior and subordinate, out of place in our City Council.
A. BRIEFINGS on AGENDA ITEMS
1. Resolution authorizing the Use of Electronic Signatures and Electronic Records
Daugs: Is this because of Covid that we have to do everything electronically — why is this a thing since we’re already doing. Riley says it’s just a little bit of housekeeping. No need to predate or make retroactive. Simpson: Why didn’t we do this sooner? Feds have been doing this for over 10 years (repeated 3x). Younger: My question too. Also, how do you id signers reliably? Riley: DocuSign. How we have always done closings, for example. “Hey Kevin, you know what this means for you? You don’t have to go down and sign for the packet on Wednesdays”. Quite odd that Younger would address Council President by his first name. Moved to Consent Agenda.
2. Resolution approving the Change of Indirect Control of the Wave Division IV, LLC d/b/a Wave Broadband Franchise
Prediction: Simpson will weigh in at length. Melinda Monroe presents: This is to synchronize our contract with the company’s name change. Goodnow: What areas does Wave Cable serve? Monroe: It’s layered across the City, except for certain areas, not defined. Younger: WaveCable’s in Jackson Park, a surprise since no councilor knows anyone who has WaveCable. Simpson: The option in my nabe is Comcast or Wave, they’re interspersed all over, just like Melinda was saying. (Again with the first names!)
3. Interlocal Agreement with Kitsap County for Public Access Television Funding
John Rauch presents: They provide public funding & support capital purchases, old contract expired, this is the renewal. City receives funds totalling $128K+ (?) for capital investments like new lighting and new playback system. Daugs: Why is each year a different sum, rising & falling? Rauch: Different years, different projects, as in the previous few years’ contracts. Moved to Consent Agenda.
4. Amendment to Courthouse Security Services Contract with Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office (Contract term January 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021)
Dawn Williams, Administrative Court presents both #4 & #5: We’ve had a long association with Kitsap County Sheriff’s, just learned that they’re no longer going to provide services. So we have to find new security by March 31st, when their services end. Simpson: This just happened? We only have another 2 weeks? Dawn asked for a new contract back in November, but they kept delaying. Simpson: This is just for the Municipal Court? Dawn: Yes. Moved to Consent Agenda.
5. Agreement for Courthouse Security Services for Bremerton Municipal Court (Contract anticipated to begin April 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022)
Dawn continues: We had very short notice (two weeks!!!) with Bret Jette and Melinda Monroe, got an RFP & got 2 responses, may have response by tomorrow. Merchant Patrol Security Services is the contractor that Administrative Court has chosen. Daugs: Was enough notice given to satisfy contract provisions? Dawn: I’m pretty sure, but I don’t know for sure. Daugs: Any recompense for the short notice? Dawn: They didn’t terminate the contract, it expired 12/31/2020, didn’t renew. On 2/5/2021, notified City that they had only a short-term interim contract until 3/31. Daugs: So these sheriffs aren’t doing this any more in Bremerton or Poulsbo or other cities, all with short notice. Simpson: So we’ll be getting a $5K savings? (No comment on deplorable Sheriff’s Dept sudden withdrawal after years of automatic contract renewal.) Simpson moves this goes to General Business. Wheat: Is Merchant Patrol the company that patrols downtown, library, etc? Dawn: Yes. Wheat: Have there been any concerns? Dawn: Evades question. This contract would use higher-quality staff than used downtown. Wheat: City employees required to do anti-bias, diversity, and inclusion training — are Merchant Patrol so required? Dawn: I’ll inquire about that. Goodnow: Sounds like we’re going from sheriff’s deputy to a mall cop. Could BPD take over? Were we getting actual deputies? Dawn: No, ex-cops. Goodnow: Are these officers armed? Dawn: Sheriff’s yes, Merchant Patrol is unarmed: both cheaper & more appropriate for the job. Most Court security forces are ex-cops, not full on regular cops. Goodnow: Are other Courts continuing with armed officers? Dawn: I don’t know. I just asked if their security was armed or unarmed, local police or contractors? Daugs & Dawn discuss, turns out no officer has ever drawn a weapon, only one security person shoved and thrown off-balance. They don’t do transport, arrest, any of that. Daugs asks if there’ll be a handoff. Dawn: No. But Merchant Patrol will train, lots of experience. Moved to General Business.
6. Public Works Agreement with Pape & Sons Construction, Inc. for the 6th Street Sewer Replacement Project
[5:35 pm] William Davis & Ned Lever present. While doing routine maintenance last year, found that we need to replace the sewer (see last Study Session) Davis recaps his previous presentation with budgetary details & maps. [Five minutes missed. Supper prep.]
7. Grinder Pump System Maintenance Agreement with Correct Equipment, Inc.
8. City of Bremerton Development Staffing Needs for Community Development and Public Works & Utilities Development Engineering (Information only…)
Mayor presents that with all our new permitting fees, we need more staffing to meet the backlog of permit requests & how keeping pace with development will bring in more fees. We’re getting more activity, we need more staff. Andrea Spencer presents maps & graphs showing just how crazy busy DCD has been. We have 3561; and 855 [check figures] in pipeline or underway for commercial construction right now! Residential is 2,747 in similar shape and we need much more residential. We used to do about 224 units/year. Now we’re way ove ; we’ve nearly tripled property valuations. Back in 2017 you [Council] helped me when I asked for another inspector & another permit reviewer. Our target date is 6-8 weeks and we absolutely can’t do that any more. We can’t do inspections in a timely manner. So developers will lose confidence in Bremerton. We’re asking for one more plan reviewer, about $82K. Yeah, it sounds scary, but look at what we’ve been bringing in! About $0.4 million ALREADY in 2021. A killer presentation by Spencer.
Knuckey takes over. Tells us what DPW’s Engineering Division does: basically, everything on, under, or above ground. He describes the positions they’re asking for. Development Inspector ETIV, someone who does field design conflict resolution. In the attempt to translate that, or any of his other statement into English, my brain had a system failure. “Trees are important,” he said with an air of some surprise. Then my brain came to a complete halt. I have to get paid to translate from bureaucratic English into English. Mayor said that right now, investor confidence is high: we suffered, this is our chance to recoup (my phrasing). We’re giving you 4 weeks to contemplate. Simpson interrupts, we need to continue exploring. Gorman: Hold on, everybody. I’d appreciate it if we didn’t interrupt. Mayor: I’m almost done. 4 weeks of deliberation, this gives you a chance to see the harm that homelessness has done to our community. Simpson: We need to negotiate with developers: we are conflating wants, needs, and desires. What you say we need might not be what we want. Goodnow: We’ve waited. This is the time. Also, stuff gets dropped in our laps late. [Were you not watching the Mayor’s last several presentations on new permitting fees, e.g., 2021 to date is almost equal to 2020? Did you not ask yourself, do we have the supply to meet the demand? You really have to ask yourself this.] Mayor: We have to cut people now because investors are losing confidence. They’ve had permits in the works forever now. [This is a fascinating discussion; I don’t know where it’s going but it’s of interest.] Goodnow: I see a demonstrated need for a feedback loop that gives us more notification. Mayor: Build economic base, build up population, more property taxes, more small business. There’s a force multiplier that splinters into the ___ economy. If we gear down too much, you know what happens next. Knuckey: staff are leaving because they’re overwhelmed. Daugs: I too do not like being informed so late in the process. [Much discussion of making permanent hires who will be redundant after this temporary increase in permit fees passes. Mayor and Spencer reiterate evidence-based concern that developers will lose confidence in Bremerton if it takes months to get even one permit reviewed. More convo about unnecessary hires, why can’t present workforce just give 110%? Why are we responsible for people who haven’t arranged their lives so as to afford homes? At this point, dear readers, I could not bear another word of these objections from well-fed well-paid white men, secure in their superiority. Please follow the link in previous post to City of Bremerton Media.]
B. GENERAL COUNCIL BUSINESS
o Audit Committee Briefing (03/02/21 Meeting) – Chair Leslie Daugs
o Race Equity Advisory Committee Briefing (03/07/21 Retreat) – Chair Leslie Daugs
o Other General Council Business
C. EXECUTIVE SESSION – 15-minutes to discuss Potential Litigation as allowed under RCW 42.30.110 (1) (i); Action is anticipated…
D. ADJOURNMENT OF STUDY SESSION