Wetland and stream protections to be much reduced or eliminated to “streamline the process” to favor homeowners with waterside property; our lobbyists earned their money and then some; DPW budget process to be made more common-sense; new Noise Ordinance presented with lots of Council pushback to buy a decibel meter already! Proposed Kitsap Co Fire Training Consortium contract refused by Council as contract says “hire” not “appoint” an FTE and most Councilors think the word could come back to haunt them.
14 APRIL 2021, CITY COUNCIL STUDY SESSION MINUTES by Anna Mockler
5:00 PM – Via Zoom Webinar
A. BRIEFINGS on AGENDA BILL ITEMS
1. 2021 1st Quarter Federal and State Lobbying Update – Jake Johnston and Bryan McConaughy
Presented re State by McConaughy: He explains that legislative session ending 4/25, so almost no new legislation to be introduced. Hot topic is police reform. This will impact Bremerton & Chief Burchett has worked hard and well with McConaughy to predict and plan for these impacts. Now, I know you’re concerned that I’m earning my money, so: Transportation was tough this year as lobbyists were strongly urged to ask for nothing since tolls and ferry fares are down due to Covid. DPW, Sen Randall, Mayor & others got two requests through: $25 million for Warren Ave went through, $1.9 Million for signals along Rte 303, $0.5 billion (BILLION) budgeted for Gorst Coalition in regular Transportation Package. How do we get the $$, i.e., what are funding sources? Gas tax, carbon caps are two strong, viable options in the legislature. In general, while many in WA are broke, the state is doing very well, so there is a high likelihood that the $$ for these and other projects will be there. Questions — Simpson: I hear you say revenue, but that really just means raising taxes. So we’re going to raise taxes during a pandemic? McConaughy: Tax loopholes will be closed, do you consider that a tax increase? Simpson says how can capital gains tax be levied in light of our State Constitution? McC: It could be challenged in court, sure. Simpson: Police reform — there’s a plan to decriminalize simple possession, which means that municipalities will have to criminalize it. We should change to a sentencing enhancement (don’t know what this is) as it’s the behavior we want to change, not the thing (again, huh?) it’s always the behavior we’re trying to change, not things. (Huh?) McC: The Blake decision, in case others don’t know what Simpson is referring to, decriminalizes simple possession of small quantities. [A very odd discussion, as our lobbyists are not doing anything, apparently, for or against the Blake decision. So why is Simpson using up time to talk about this?] He explains that Drug Court is working, if they can’t pull people in for small amounts (my phrasing), there’s no way to change the behavior. Younger: For next year’s session, let’s get rid of Certificate of Need, which keeps Bremerton weak on demanding a proper hospital, e.g., St Michael’s move to Silverdale. McC: We’d have to get at least Kitsap Co on board to convince legislators to bring it up in 2022. Mayor: I attended >30 Zoomeets to make sure we were in the project list for the Gorst fix. If it gets funded, we have a good shot, but of course the funding is the trouble.
Johnston presents re Federal: Lots of change in Congress. Still, ARP gave $11million to Bremerton, first 1/2 in 30 days, second half in 2022. Many opportunities now: earmarks (now called Community Projects) coming back in the House, probably in the Senate, $2.5 million for Quincy Sq submitted and seems quite probable. The Infrastructure bill also has earmarks, only for public entities in 2021, so our lobbyists are asking to complete Oyster Bay project, Suquamish Tribe a partner (yay!). Brand new program funded by DOD specifically for infrastructure in communities with naval bases, like us! Looking at significant investment in infrastructure over the next several years. Simpson: What about micro-electric hydro (?) power plants, so we can reduce our burden on the Navy. (No one has heard about these three plants. They ask Simpson to send them info on it.) Mayor lauds the extra $11 million. Daugs: Let’s make sure that Council and Mayor get together to direct lobbyists instead of doing it on the fly as we’re doing now. Knuckey: Trevor (?) emailed him about contract between Navy & UW Applied Physics Lab to investigate micro-power plants and also large pipelines that somehow generate power. Knuckey to email Simpson.
2. Confirm Appointment of Mike Barnet to the BKAT Citizens Advisory Committee
Experienced guy, worked for Viacom, strong in our community. Moved to Consent agenda.
3. Renewal of Affiliation Agreement with Tacoma Community College
McGanney presents: Paramedic students work with Bremerton Firefighters for 15+ years, want to continue, comes up every 3 years for renewal. Daugs: I’ve never seen this. Do we partner with other schools? McG: No. Simpson: What % of our firefighters has gone through this program? McG: I don’t know. Simpson: Explains what happens in the program and why it’s such a good idea. Younger: I too have this question.How does it work? McG explains that the students are basically doing ride-alongs but we need your approval because it is medical. No fiscal impact, i.e., it costs us nothing. Simpson wants it in General Business to let people know about the outreach that we do, and it takes only one Councilor to make that so. Moved to General Agenda.
4. Interlocal Agreement to establish Kitsap County Fire Training Consortium
McG: Uniform training among all firefighting depts in Kitsap Co. so everybody’s on the same page when responding to emergencies. Central Kitsap will redirect one FTE to direct this Consortium. Simpson: Explains what happens in the program and why it’s such a good idea. Wants it moved to General Business. Sullivan: Wants the language to say “appoint” or “redirect” instead of “hire”. She talks about this at great length & wants it to be clear that Central Kitsap will appoint/redirect so that down the line the language is clear to whoever’s on Council when it comes up again. Mayor, McG, say that every other Council has approved this, and Council would have to approve the hiring of another FTE anyhow. Wheat: It does make sense to add clarifying language. Goodnow: Can’t we just amend the motion? Lubovich: You can put it in but it binds no-one. Goodnow: I get that, but it might make everyone feel better. Younger: I agree with Councilor Sullivan. I wouldn’t sign this contract. McG is almost pleading here that everyone else signed it. Gorman: Well, I can see that the language could be construed as confusing. Simpson: I like the idea of the Consortium, there is ambiguity in the language as Councilors Sullivan and Younger said. He explains what happens in that process and why it would be a good idea to change the language. McG explains that no fire chief can compel another chief to hire an employee. Simpson explains to McG what the process is and what could happen and thus, why it would be a good idea to change the language. He names the different staff members who would be involved, describes their duties, and how if new duties crop up, the FTE could become a requirement, causing us to hire an FTE. “This is the big crux” “We need to get this clear, Chief.” McG: Repeats that he can’t hire an FTE without permission from Council. Everyone on Consortium realizes that Bremerton can’t possibly contribute an FTE or even a few hours. Repeats that no one can force Council to hire an FTE. Sullivan: Repeats her argument. [It’s 6:21 now. We’re on Item 4.] Goodnow: Repeats his earlier argument that this could come back to bite us or confuse us down the line. Again asks Lubovich for resolution. Lubovich: I can see cause for concern, though intent is pure (my phrasing), we can either add a clarification or go back and redo the whole contract. Daugs: Asks if we can send out a memo to all the other parties; would they agree to it? Lubovich: Yes, that’s what I was talking about. Daugs: Would other depts sign it? McG: Approved by all elected officials, so it would have to go back to all of them. No one else questioned this clause. Mayor repeats that no FTE can be hired w/o Council approval. Gorman: No one questioning intent, but we are questioning the language. Gorman says, let’s prepare the memo & bring it up to
5. Resolution to authorize Changes in Approved Signers in Local Government Investment Pool
Riley presents: Housekeeping, making sure that approved signers don’t keep having to be re-confirmed each time a position title is changed. Simpson: No financial impacts? Riley: No. Moved to Consent Agenda.
6. Ordinance amending Section 3.50 (typo fixed by Lubovich) of the Bremerton Municipal Code to simplify Street Fund Budgeting & related Budget Reallocation
Knuckey presents proposal to simplify the street funds, 11 FTEs total: Street Fund, Residential Street Fund (4 FTEs budgeted), and Transportation Projects Fund (TransCap). As work is completed, $$ is transferred to TransCap. It’s a cumbersome, confusing project, especially because of BARS as mandated by WA — 31 categories with 414 separate accounts. Labor budgeted in 2 funds, spent in 3 funds. 75% of budget administration time is spent just managing these Street Funds. Budget is $82.5M in 2021, Street Funds are 18% ($15M). DPW recommends: One for O&M and one for Capital (TransCap). This’ll reduce BARS by 1/2, # of accounts by 1/3, less staff time managing budgets, improve accuracy of budgeting and spending. Asks for Stormwater Utility Tax revenue to be dedicated to, simply, The Street Fund. Too many acronyms here for me: REET, SWUT, TBD, etc.
Questions: Daugs: Will this really make a difference? Knuckey: yes, it would be clearer thus simpler, because everybody gets what is O&M and what is Capital. Daugs: Does this mean we have to bring back TBD? Riley: No. Younger: Not against concept, but there seems to be a typo or miscommunication. Change language to direct SW Tax to Transportation Projects. Simpson: Perfect vehicle to reduce SW tax, we can do it in a glide path that will be easier for Finance. Let’s amend the Ordinance. He repeats all the tax rates & somehow wants this money to go to the streets AND he wants to reduce the amount of utility tax. Gorman: [Deadpan] I think that’s a little bit of scope creep. [Burn! Simpson loves to use the phrase “scope creep”] Sullivan: Residential Streets and Sidewalks Fund exists to make sure that the $30 car tab fees are used ONLY for local streets and sidewalks. Younger: I’m OK with this as long as the same amount of money, or more, still goes to our streets and sidewalks. Gorman: Recaps (does this really well), Council wants streets & sidewalks to get $$, this looks like it’ll do it. Simpson wants it moved to general business, I’m betting any reader $5.00 that he will bring up the SW Tax at that time. Any takers?
It’s 6:55. Break until 7:03. Reconvene punctually.
7. Proposed Public Hearing on Ordinance to update the Shoreline Master Program, amend Chapter 20.14 of the BMC
Presenter Garrett Jackson, DCD, who does not look like any ecologist I have ever worked with. He looks like a guy who doesn’t exercise much — though making those judgments from head and shoulders Zoom thumbnail is not generally smart. I’m going out on a limb here though. He’s nervous about presenting, not nervous about the nuts and bolts of the process. He appears to be a good manager. Attachment A-3 is the Gap Analysis Report Purpose. So let me summarize this for you, as I can translate from DOE language: This is the regular update of the Shoreline Master Plan. There are amendments: cut the strikethrough (deleted) language in regulations (which eliminates history); synchronize our buffer limits / extents with the rest of Kitsap County (which are laxer than ours, I think; but Jackson says DOE approved this); cut the bond requirement for single-family homes — getting bonds is tough and it makes the process cumbersome (which removes incentive to complete mitigation); let people in critical areas keep their existing building footprint — no longer having to bring whole structure up to current code, or move your home, or plant 100′-wide strip of trees and shrubs (which means there is no critical area regulation). Also proposing to exempt 8-10 parcels on the uphill side of Shelton from the inlet cove — this makes sense as there are HUGE retaining walls below the parcels, both stone and earth. Also: Keep our buffers consistent with State, not B’ton. Let single-family homes expand with mitigation, no need for Habitat Mgmt Plan, generally required when critical area is a salmonid stream, (so salmonid streams need no planned protection and mitigation suddenly,magically, works — dead against the science but hey). Jackson says they’ll coordinate with Suquamish and DOE; if both approve, some non-standard mitigations could be approved.
Younger: Doesn’t seem to make anything more restrictive (No kidding!!). Andrea Spencer: Lets citizens have what they want. Streamlines the process.
Lots more discussion and presentation. This proposal was so horrifying to me, a former wetland scientist, that I could not record it, I was pacing. Nobody spoke up for the wetlands. Nobody spoke up for the streams. Nobody spoke up for the tribes. Nobody spoke up for the flora or the fauna. That will be my job.
9. Master Services and Purchasing Agreement with Axon Enterprise, Inc. for Body Cameras and In-Car Recording Equipment for the Police Department
[Readers, I started dinner and missed this brief presentation.]
10. Ordinance to repeal and replace Chapter 6.32 of the Bremerton Municipal Code entitled “Noise Levels”
Mychael Raya presents. A damn fine lawyer, truly punctilious yet direct. Chief Burchett: We researched noise meter use around the state. Daugs: We don’t have a noise meter, right? Burchett takes off glasses and wipes them. Well, we could hire an outside expert or hire and train someone to use the noise meter (decibel meter, to you pedants), laws are from the 1970s and 1980s. Interest in sound died off so there are now few sound meters, and even if we had them, the science would have to be generally accepted and a certain level of expertise to make sure measurements are accurate and repeatable, like DUIs. (He’s comparing drunk drivers to loud clubs. Quick quiz, readers: which of these might kill you or your loved ones?) (Thus, wouldn’t the training level be a bit different?) Burchett goes on about how much training would be needed. Says our technique, a car goes out, asks person to turn it down, 99% comply. With repeat offenders, contract out to a sound engineering firm. Leslie Daugs is really on it tonight. You should watch her footage (around 7:48). She is asking pointed questions in a very quiet, professional way. How do you do it now? How would you change it? Mentions that it would be great to know what was the language we planned to change? Lubovich: it’s a problem in transmission, docs transmit with new language only / automatically accepts changes. [It’s 2 minutes to 8. Good night all. I have to get paid to work more than three hours on this.]
B. GENERAL COUNCIL BUSINESS
o Audit Committee Monthly Briefing and Overview– Chair Leslie Daugs
o Race Equity Advisory Committee Monthly Briefing – Chair Leslie Daugs
o Other General Council Business
C. ADJOURNMENT OF STUDY SESSION (I was in the other room, but this seemed to end after 9:15 pm)