Debate over government’s role: to protect the individual’s money and rights, or to protect their welfare and community well-being? DPW asks for more FTEs to relieve chronic overwork as our city expands; two Councilors demand less government, i.e., just say No to permanent workers. Kitsap Lake making surprisingly fast recovery with mostly non-toxic measures. Oyster Bay sewer is up asking for yet more money; costs have doubled to $7.5 million. Red-light cameras explained, deterrent effect not clearly borne out by data, e.g., “I can’t say that this system diminishes crashes, I just can’t say that.” For an impassioned speech in defense of City workers, check out Ned Lever’s speech starting at 7:59pm. He says, we’re doing this because men AND women are coming to him weeping from stress of overwork. We’re not asking for a handout, but for minimum maintenance. Readers: I apologize for posting this so late, but I feel so strongly about several items that I went over and over them to try for more objectivity. Let me know where I’ve failed to do that.
A. BRIEFINGS on AGENDA BILL ITEMS
1. Agreement with Long Painting Company for Reservoir 19 Exterior Coating Replacement
Robert Endsley presents: 2 million gallon steel reservoir behind old Harrison hospital. Built 1979. Last coating was 1997; 2019 assessment recommended re-coating within environmentally controlled containment system. 7 bids received. Long Painting Co. was lowest bidder, out of Kent, haven’t yet worked for Bremerton, but experienced & in fact this is a small job for them, shouldn’t cause any disruption — 8am-5pm on weekdays and all contained. Moved to Consent Agenda.
2. Contract Modification Agreement No. 3 with AquaTechnex LLC for Phoslock Treatment and Aquatic Vegetation Harvesting of Kitsap Lake
NPDES Coordinator Chance Berthiaume. Doing the same thing we did last year, a success. Only bidder except a call of interest from a Nebraska firm. Last year $226K, this year about $155K since we’ll need less Phoslock, a non-toxic medium that binds molecularly with free phosphorus in the water column, settles to the lakebed and forms a blanket there. In June 2019 there were toxic algae blooms and MANY invasive species, Nymphaea & Iris acorus etc. The lake was eutrophic. Inputs are from stormwater runoff and springs. Mayor and DPW met with shoreline property owners and decided to do phoslock and herbicides. Phoslock in June Aug 2020, Herbicide in Aug, 12 days harvesting 500 cu yds in 12 days in Aug. 90% reduction in available phosphorus, water clarity from 3.5′ to 15′, no significant algal blooms, reduced propellor fouling for boaters [emphasis added]. This year’s work will do baseline water quality sampling & subsequently. Phoslock in late May / early June, possibly Aug too for deep water. More harvesting & more herbicide touch-up for Iris. Daugs questions elicit: Extending the contract for this year and almost certainly next year too. There will be a Lake Management District in the future – this will be a long-term commitment. Our partners are the County, the Navy, but no one at Navy responds to calls or emails. Simpson asks about $$, will coming in under budget affect grant funding? Chance says there was $15K grant funding to come up with the plan, the rest is split between General Fund and Stormwater Fund. S asks how many septic systems that feed into the lake have failed. Chance describes his weekly testing & has seen no signs of failure. Simpson explains that phosphorus is naturally occurring, as we all know. He continues: lakes inevitably become swamps, that swamps inevitably become solid land. This is untrue. This is nonfactual. Wheat asks about other partners’ contributions to nitrate and phosphorus inputs — Kitsap Co is about 1/5 of shoreline. W – have property owners been educated about fertilizer and herbicide / pesticide inputs to be curtailed? Chance – yeah, they’ve been very cooperative, they want the lake to be clear. Younger: This is good, people are liking it, even though City property is 75% of shoreline (Navy is 5%). Glad we took the lead, we’ll be the model. Moved to General Business so public can see the Power Point.
3. Amendment No. 1 to the Interlocal Cooperative Agreement with Kitsap Public Utility District for Sharing Fiber Optic and Information Technology Services and Infrastructure
Katie Ketterer presents: For example, fiber optic goes to the Gold Mtn Golf Course. The intent is to find more opportunities to work together so we can leverage impact, do more than either could simply working alone. This is a plan to communicate more actively & more often. Simpson: Kitsap Co missed an opp’ty 25 years ago, we need to be forward thinking about infrastructure, especially fiber optic. Younger: What is dark fiber? Often used in the packet. Ketterer: City owns a bunch of fiber but doesn’t use it to communicate – dark fiber means we use our equipment. Daugs asks if public will have access. K – possibly through KPUD. Mayor: Here, we’re using our greater amount of fiber optic to help out KPUD & start a collaboration, this is a formality to make sure meetings happen regularly. Younger: Isn’t Qwest extending fiber optic? Dave Sorensen: CenturyLink has fiber optic downtown, KPUD sells its fiber optic network to various ISPs. Technical description follows. I recommend that engineers watch from 5:35-5:45pm for the exciting details. Moved to General Business per Simpson’s conviction that this is something the public needs to hear about.
4. Professional Services Agreement with SPECTRA Laboratories – Kitsap, LLC for Environmental Water and Soil Analyses
Cami Apfelbeck presents: 1300 soil and water samples yearly to comply with fed and state regulations & to make sure our water is drinkably clean. Sometimes there are additional req’ts. This is a 3-year $180K ($60K/yr) contract, as already described in City budget. Simpson: Can we piggyback Kitsap Lake sampling on to this? Cami: No, but they’re the one feasible lab in our area that can do this sampling. Moved to Consent Agenda.
5. Contract with Active Construction, Inc. for Oyster Bay Beach Sewer Upgrades
Bill Davis presents: 5 bids, all similar, Active Construc was chosen because they are already working with us on several projects. Younger: All 43 property owners know that they’re going to get grinders & know their maintenance responsibilities? Bill: Yes. Younger: There will be a District 7 meeting. Daugs: What’s the time frame? Bill: ROW work will be done by end of summer. Private property work will start in late fall and go into 2022. He answers that yes, it will be disruptive. Simpson: Why have construction costs doubled? $3 million estimate back in 2016, low-pressure and force main added $2.5 million, and costs of labor and material have gone way way up. Also disruptions to supply chain. Simpson says yes, materials down at Home Depot have gone up. Wheat: Glad to hear that sidewalks will be included in the final plan. Can you talk about how this was prioritized to have sidewalks? Knuckey: In 2022, we’ll look at general prioritization of sidewalks, first off is closing gaps between lengths of sidewalk, so this project would rate highly. Moved to General Business, per Younger, to follow Item 6.
6. Amendment to Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Agreement with the Washington State Department of Ecology for the Oyster Bay Beach Sewer Upgrades (OB-2 to OB-1) Project
Bill Davis: DOE agreed to up the amount to $6 million, but total costs are up to $7.5 million, which is double the original loan amount. Reimbursable costs are about $7 million. You need to look at the packet to really get how much costs have increased, but the reason is that prices for labor and materials have gone way way up. Younger: This is a placeholder because you have to have funding before we can approve the contract for Item 5. Perhaps part of the coming $11 million in federal funding could be used for this. Mayor asks Riley to talk about how we can use Covid $$. Riley: We’re still identifying what we can use it for. Utilities and broadband are called out, but we have to wait until mid-May decision by feds to speak with certainty. Simpson: This does represent a great opportunity for shovel-ready projects, if we do get the funding this is the best way we can spend it. We could have changed our tax scheme on the stormwater utility to fund this. Moved to General Business, per Simpson.
7. Purchase Microsoft AZURE Active Directory P2/GCC/Multi-Factor Authentication; and related Budget Adjustment
Dave Sorensen: $25.5K purchase. There have been a few hijacking of City email accounts. So far, no damage, but we need multi-factor authorization. This is like when your bank requires you to get a text or email with a code. There are other ways to do it that Sorensen describes in Tech English, which I don’t speak. Sorensen describes all of this, in detail, in sections, to Younger and Daugs. Daugs asks Riley about funding — he says funding will be spread out over all budget lines. Simpson: Internet security needs to be enhanced, especially with the way we’re teleworking right now. We’re going to see more of these intrusions, unfortunate that we have to use Microsoft for this [got to say I agree with him on this!]. Moved to Consent Agenda, per Younger “we don’t need to advertise our security failures to the general public”.
8. Interlocal Agreement for Mutual Aid and Traffic Safety Task Force
Lt Mike Davis presents: This is for mutual aid during big drunken evenings like 4th July and New Year’s Eve and Seahawks wins. Task force comes only from Kitsap Co. Cost will be $3K year. Simpson asks Davis to explain what these drunken events consist of, for the benefit of the rest of the Council, I know of course what you’re talking about, but that would probably really help out them out a little. Davis elaborates on what I already summarized, naming holidays etc., been doing it since 1993. Moved to General Business, per Simpson, this is something the community needs to be informed about.
9. Renewal of Agreement with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. for Photo Red Light Enforcement Program
Lt Mike Davis: No one’s favorite topic! 9 red lights at 5 intersections, this is the second option for a two-year renewal to expire in 2023. $4k per camera, per approach, per month. It costs us $483K per year and we get $900K in revenue. Goodnow: are we seeing good data about reduced collisions at these intersections? Davis: That’s the #1 question we’re always asked. I can not say that any of our cameras have reduced any collisions. Goodnow: How many of the violations are caused by not stopping at all vs. creeping (Kitsap Way & 11th!!!) Davis: I don’t like those creeping tickets either. You have to be going 14 mph to get a ticket, you really have to be moving along. Davis instructs officers who review footage to imagine they’re right behind the possible violator — in real life, not behind a screen, would you give this driver a ticket? Daugs: Do we own the cameras? Melinda Monroe: Yes. Daugs asks, are we really going to another company when we’d have to buy all new cameras??? Davis: Yes, that’s a real objection, but people have been asking, so we brought it to you. Simpson: I’m not a fan of red-light cameras. Then he goes into word salad, that is, I can’t follow him at all, I’m sorry. He asks for more information, as he so often does. Wheat: Going back to Councilor Simpson’s remarks on the effects of the red lights. If I understand you correctly, you said that there was a decrease in collisions? Davis: Yes there was. Wheat: So that’s a clear correlation [my phrasing] Davis: No, from the data I can’t make a clear correlation. Wheat: So, what’s been the effect? Davis: People are hyper-aware of the red-light cameras, “and if they’re aware of it, they’re going to be more cautious at the intersection. I can’t say for sure that this system diminishes crashes, I just can’t say that.” Wheat: Do we define the fine amount? Davis: Yes, per RCW 136. Gorman asks can these cameras be incorporated into the speed feedback signs. Davis: No. Moved to General Business, per Simpson.
B. INFORMATION-ONLY ITEMS
1. Public Works & Utilities Department, Engineering Division Workload Study; and Implementation Plan
Breakdown of DPW’s Engineering Organization. If you want the details, it starts at 6:40pm. Dianne Iverson is on the Committee. [YAY!] and two others I’ve never heard of. David Gordon talks. He says “And then we can look at that delta of where there’s a work gap. Work resources gap and make recommendations of how to close that gap. Sometimes that is through additional staffing” and he says things before and after that but you can see how a tired person, who is not getting paid for this, mind you, would again recommend that you go to the videotape.
2. Public Works & Utilities Department Organization and Staffing
Maybe this is where David Gordon talks. Or maybe this is a continuation of the previous agenda item. I myself am dreaming of mad poets and enflamed activists, it is well after 7pm now and I AM HUNGRY. It’s 7:25. Knuckey is thanking Council for its approval of 2 positions recently. Soon, they’ll request a couple more positions. … Simpson: Feds are making more demands on taxpayers, we’re saying hey hey the checkbook’s open, let’s spend like a drunken sailor … Gorman mutes him after Simpson is deaf to his Point of Order, asks him to remain courteous and germane. [omg!] 7:33 pm, for those who want more. “We look at the people as ATMs,” says Simpson. He rails against the 20% increase in FTEs, “and we keep adding more and more! And this shows that we are not being good stewards of the people’s money.” You should really check out this speech. “We’ve got apples, cherries, and oranges that we’re being compared to. As a statistician, I can pull numbers from anywhere to make my case.” Gorman mutes him again and explains that his language is inflammatory. Mayor steps up to defend City employees who “produce … each one of them at a higher level than anyone else around here. … Frankly,it”s insulting to characterize this group as a waste of money.” He thanks Council President for letting him speak. Gorman calls point of order again. Simpson continues. Gorman halts him, calls a break. After break, Wheat says, hey, we keep coming back to this hatred of FTEs, but I just want to be supportive of you all, when you come and explain it so clearly, even though you’re so stretched thin, I want you to be able to continue working for us. I just want to let you know that I and the community know that, as Councilor Goodnow said, you wouldn’t brave this barrage [my phrasing throughout] if you didn’t really, really need the extra help. Goodnow: Paean in praise of expertise. You’re showing us how much we need it. It’s up to the administration to decide what happens, … but I don’t think we’re getting just random asks for increased staffing. I think these are reasoned, necessary asks. Daugs: Thanks to all (names them) I’m not not in favor of employees if that’s what you staffers need, I just want to make sure that the ask is a need, you’re all appreciated. Thank you. Younger: I prefer we not yield to this future ask for a new position. Then he continues (7:55pm) He wants a cost-benefit, and then he explains what this is. Check out Ned Lever’s speech starting at 7:59pm. He says, we’re doing this because men AND women are coming to him weeping from stress of overwork. We’re not asking for a handout, but for minimum maintenance. Simpson: calls point of order as Gorman called on Younger a second time. Simpson speaks: “Look. The very nature of what this is is a question of scope [?]. Are we [conflating] what the city needs with what it wants. What the city needs is a small, reasonable government that provides the minimum … this is way beyond what a city should do. There are wants, needs, and desires. … As a proud graduate of South Kitsap High, I’ll say we are two wolves and a sheep arguing over lunch. … We’ve all seen metaphorical death by Power Point, I get that. But we still have to be the conscientious stewards of the people’s money. And anytime we consider expanding Government, we need to go back and question ourselves. Are we doing what is best for the individual rights of people, because that is constitutionally our first duty.” He asks a question about number discrepancy between two parts of presentation. Lever responds by explaining that the numbers in the presentation differ because they describe job change: 50% of people have left the city, but more have been promoted, e.g., Lever didn’t use to be a Chief Engineer. Simpson: The devil is in the details. He harps on the difference between the two figures [total losses vs. internal staff changes]. After a time, he stops talking. Gorman: This is information briefing only. We use this time to question, to analyze, not to talk about big picture topics. He’s undecided about whether or not we need more FTEs, as his experience has shown that the amount of work you’re required to do is always double the amount you have time to do. He talks about difference between infrastructure failures and management / white collar failures. He wants to make sure that there are a ton of inspectors and oversight out there to make sure that “everybody’s safe”. “I think there’s a lot for us to think about.” he concludes.
3. Legal Department/City Attorney Staffing Requests
I missed this.
C. GENERAL COUNCIL BUSINESS
o Public Works Committee Monthly Briefing – Chair Eric Younger
Knuckey presents. It’s 8:15 pm. I’m done! I have to get paid to do more than three hours.
o Finance, Investment & Parking Committee Monthly Briefing – Vice Chair Eric Younger
Callahan at Shlea (sp?), then Roosevelt at Lansing, both responses to requests and after study, both to be made 4-way stops.
o Other General Council Business
Noise ordinance on the agenda next week for public comment only, on Wednesday May 5th.
D. ADJOURNMENT OF STUDY SESSION And so, at 9:22pm, it came to an end.