Juneteenth to be a City holiday! Otherwise, a geek’s delight session of infrastructure and re-organization. PSE has a plan to go beyond net zero carbon by 2045 & announces 2021 Covid Assistance, $2.5K bill assistance for low-income customers. Infrastructure: sidewalk construction along 6th, Warren to Pacific; Mottner to fill new FTE, Internal Services Mgr at DPW; sewers to be relined with non-toxic resin; Navy to finally sign new contract for Bremerton water & wastewater services, including utility tax. Re-organization: CDBG housing grants applications release 7/1, due 7/31, to have Public Hearing in September; mid-year budget reconciliation (trigger warning: costs have gone up); Fire Dept to train some locals attending CWU, get local training for “red card” to fight wildfires, and new contract with ambulance billing services. Long confusing Simpson monologue about history, Civil War, WA barely a state back then, “what are we celebrating” and more. he wants more research before we declare Juneteenth a city holiday.
A. INFORMATION BRIEFING
1. Overview of Puget Sound Energy’s Goal of “Being a Beyond Net Zero Carbon Company by 2045”; and “COVID-19 Bill Assistance Program” by PSE Representatives (Information only)
Matthew Mauer, new rep for PSE, and Melissa Troy, present. Beginning of 2021, new CEO, new state legislation, new stance on energy. Power Point presentation, much type too small to read, jargon-rich and ripe with buzzwords and cliches. Without the actual data, tough to figure out what they’re actually planning to do.
Discussion: Daugs – How will this affect clients? Mauer: Right now, lots of coal use (about 37% in 2018), but solar & wind costs getting much lower all the time. There’s a potential for cost. [a nothingburger phrase]. He will “ask the rate folks”. PSE made a huge investment in a Montana wind farm, shutting down our investment in Montana coal and some hydropower somewhere else. Daugs asks about outreach. Troy says through newsletters and TV ads, equity advisory groups, etc. Simpson asks about costs to clients over next 5-10 years. Troy, then Mauer, seem to say that costs will go down. Simpson asks if PSE plans to install micro-hydroelectric plants. They say, No. Battery storage, yes, though. Simpson talks about 3.2 million customers of Grand Coulee Dam [what does that have to do with Bremerton?], asks if PSE is partnering with the Navy in terms of their power generation. Simpson talks about nuclear power, describes “an incident that happened at Three-Mile Island”, unfortunate, he says, asks if PSE plans to work with nuclear power. Mauer: No, no plans for nuclear power in WA. Gorman: What % of energy produced by PSE is from coal? PSE says 36% by end of 2020 (hey! I’m pretty good!) Has PSE looked at decentralization, like solar panels on homes. Mauer says it’s in the pipeline, distributed energy resources, he calls it. Pilot projects in place in Tenino, elsewhere. As always, the problem is storage. Gorman says that local streetlights are owned by PSE, what’s the plan for LED lights in ’em to reduce energy use by 80%. There are grants out there for this, but Bremerton is too big to qualify.
Covid Bill Assistance Program, Melissa Troy presents. $9M in bill assistance to >15K low-income customers affected by Covid in 2020. No disconnects for non-payment through mid-July 2021, no deposits for new customers through 10/21. Now, $20M for electric customers, $7M for gas. $2.5K in assistance and forgiveness per customer.
Discussion: Mayor mentions that City is already working with PSE on this & also internet service assistance. Daugs: How big is the service area for these funds? Troy shows a screen of the 10 counties in this service region. Almost $1M for Kitsap alone in 2020. Daugs asks about outreach. Troy: Working with KCR, neighborhood associations, etc. [Why aren’t they just putting inserts in the bills????] Using these groups because [low-income] customers may not trust PSE. Simpson: Are businesses eligible? Troy: No. Simpson asks if customers can take advantage of PSE assistance AND City assistance. Troy: Yes. Matthew.Mauer@pse.com; Melissa.Troy@pse.com
B. BRIEFINGS on AGENDA BILL ITEMS
1. Local Agency Contract with Miles Resources, LLC for the 6th Street Phase II Pavement Preservation Project; and related Budget Adjustment
Shane Weber presents. Construction (6th St from Warren to Pacific) will run $1.7M, about $385K over budget w/ cost increases. Daugs asks if Miles is local – they’re from Puyallup. She asks about disruptions to the public. Dimmitt: 70 working days, no weekends or holidays, mid-summer to fall. No homeowners along this strip. Some traffic disruption. Wheat: grant is 1/2 of the $$, project is important, increased ADA is great. Simpson: This is about the same time as Oyster Bay project. Sounds like a couple of areas in the city are gonna be impacted by construction. Asks if lobbyist secured the grant. Weber: Puget Sound Regional Council, DPW did the work as they do each time the grant funding cycle comes around. Simpson backhands lobbyists, praises DPW’s work. Lever adds that there are 5-6 other projects going on this construction season, which he lists. Moved to Consent Agenda.
2. Approve promotion of Chris Mottner as the Internal Services Manager at Band 16, Rate 8 of the 2021 Management, Professional, Confidential and Fiduciary Salary Plan
Knuckey presents. This is the position created by Council 2 weeks ago. 20 city facilities, etc., and this is the employee who was planned for this position. He’ll get about a $10K/yr pay increase to compensate for OT he was paid in previous job. Younger asks about pay to employee, provisions for overtime, warns that guaranteeing OT will create inequalities, e.g., wasn’t given to asst fire chief. Simpson asks about a cascade of promotions. Knuckey explains the details, will total 4 promotions. Sullivan: Notes that new positions should decrease amount of OT, but we’re just “swapping the funding around” by increasing salary to make up for lost OT. OT should not be assumed for any job. Knuckey says this job, among others, will address systemic overwork. Gorman: Echoes Sullivan’s concerns. Knuckey notes that this new job is more hours, more difficulty, more responsibility. Moved to General Business, per Gorman.
3. Contract with Insituform Technologies, LLC for the 2021 Sewer Rehabilitation Project
Bill Davis: We really need to reline these pipes & it’ll require $500K over budgeted amount to get it done in 2021. Discussion: Daugs: We’ve done this before, does it have toxic fumes? Davis: No, we now use non-styrenated resins, no toxic fumes. Time frame? July start, all night work, weekdays. Daugs: Disruption? Davis: Everyone informed AND sent a pair of ear plugs. Younger: How long & how many people? Davis: Finish by 10/1. Younger asks how bid was estimated. Davis: Linear foot costs, with traffic control added. Younger: Don’t we have cure in place for pipes? Will we someday do this in-house? Knuckey: We’re investigating doing smaller diameter, but these big 20″ pipes, we’ll likely always contract out. Ned Lever: He sees this as very specialized work, unlikely ever to take this on, even emergency repairs are very tough for us. We just don’t have the capacity to tackle these jobs, from my perspective of having managed these jobs, it’s very, very specialized. Talks about how extra $$ for non-styrenated resin is worth it as it doesn’t make breathing difficult like the styrenated resin, which is 10-15% cheaper. Simpson: Anxious to get a demonstration of how these things actually work … with an in-person deal, now that Covid not an issue. Gorman: When we do engineer’s estimate, do we calculate for inflation? Davis: Yes, 2.5-3% annually. Moved to Consent Agenda.
4. Utility Services Agreement with NAVFAC NW for Puget Sound Naval Shipyard/Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton (Corrected title)
Knuckey does background. FCS Group, Navy water & wastewater (and stormwater) to NBK-Bremerton only. Rates frozen since 2018; Navy paid $414K for lost revenue after City put in claim for it. New contract will increase rates. Angie Sanchez, FCS. Navy is 20.9% of total water use; $2.2M in water system costs. They’ll pay us $91,277/mo. Navy sewer is 12.1% of treatment plant use, $2.6M in sewer system costs. They’ll pay us $109,695/mo. This is a 10-year contract 2021-2031. If rates go up for non-Navy, Navy rates go up too. Salinity impacts will be treated independently. City gave Navy a heads up that new WA discharge requirements will likely increase costs.
Discussion: Daugs – asks about length of negotiations, 3 years of frozen rates! Simpson: Clarifies that Navy gets low rate because they’re the biggest customer. Asks about stormwater; Knuckey says that Navy legal says that they’re not responsible for the one discharge point at Montgomery. Simpson says we should leverage low rate to give them the responsibility. Younger: Mentions that school district gets same rate. Praises the accountancy, elicits from Sanchez that utility tax is included in this contract, which was a big sticking point in negotiations. Gorman: Why do we contract with Navy? Why do they get special treatment? Sanchez: Typical big-customer special treatment. And, Navy likes contracts. Gorman asks about escalation clause where rates are adjusted for inflation. Sanchez: Again, increases in retail rate apply to Navy too. Moved to Consent Agenda.
5. Proposed Public Hearing and Resolution to adopt the 2022 CDBG/HOME Policy Plan
Sarah Achaoui: New application process, only real change – more user-friendly. Same software for county as for Bremerton. Same funding priorities: capital projects that demonstrate real impact; increase opportunities for very low, low-, and moderate-income families, etc. Applications released 7/1, due 7/31, review in Aug, interviews end of Aug., when Public Hearing will be held per req’t.
Discussion: Wheat: Applauds this new process. Daugs: Hope the organizations can benefit more post-Covid. Younger: The 2021 funding was received, right? Some of which went to sidewalks and improvements to local parks. Will City apply for these grants? Achauoi doesn’t know, none received yet. Gorman: This is first year we expanded from downtown? Achauoi, no, it changed when we adopted the new Consolidated Plan in 2019. We can identify new priorities during this round. Will see Achauoi when Public Hearing comes up.
6. Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 5408 relating to the City of Bremerton Fiscal Year 2021 Budget
Karen Wikle presents: new budget analyst. Reconcile projected budget, council amendments, cost changes, carryover from 2020 budget that weren’t completed.
Discussion: Simpson: We’re doing a $17M adJustment to budget, brings total budget to $209M. We should be forecasting a little bit closer, instead of making a wild-average guess. Wikle: We’re truing up the fund balance because of Covid. Riley adds: The estimates were a lot higher than we’d projected. Even in general fund, there’s a $2.4M increase in the general fund. Simpson: We should be living within our means, we shouldn’t have to make this significant an increase to our budget. A lot of this is because Council approved expenditures, like the many additional FTEs. This will continue to grow exponentially, because, let’s face it, there’s nothing closer to eternity than a government program. Gorman: I was about to point of order you. These expenditures were all approved by Council. Simpson attempts to reiterate his point, Gorman cuts him off. Moved to General Business, per Simpson.
7. Affiliation Agreement w/Central Washington University for Training of Health Care Professionals
Fire Chief Pat McGanney presents. This is very similar to the agreement you approved for Tacoma Community College. Younger asks why such a distant University would partner, Ganney explains that these are locals attending CWU who’d like to get their training near their homes over the summer. Simpson: I like the idea that we’re training these students, helping out their community, give a shoutout and say Go Wildcats. Daugs: Will they come back to our community? Ganney: They’ll go to wherever they get a job. Younger: Just a reminder that there’s no cost to the City for this program. Moved to General Business per Simpson.
8. Professional Services Agreement w/Systems Design West, LLC for Ambulance Billing Service
McGanney presents: This company does all our ambulance billing, in 2017 they charged $1.50 per billing, now charging $2.50 per. Increase of about $2K to the budget in 2022.
Discussion: Wheat – Is increase caused in part by longer transit to hospital, now that we no longer have one? McGanney – No, they’re just increasing the cost. Moved to Consent Agenda.
9. Interlocal Agreement with South Puget Sound Fire Coordination Group for Wildfire Personnel Training and Certification
McGanney presents: Allows us to participate in this local group instead of having to send our trainees out, we can do it in-house and while on duty. No cost, it’ll just help us out. Younger: Watershed is our wildlands within City of Bremerton, did we have to get others to put out the recent fire? McGanney: No, we can only go for an hour with our current set-up, after one hour we need backup. This training means we can help others as they help us. Everyone will have the “red card” that means they’ve received the training, not all have it now, with this interlocal agreement, they’ll all have it. DNR helped us when someone lit a van on fire, sparking a >1 hr. fire. Moved to Consent Agenda.
10. Ordinance amending Sections 1.02.020 and 2.50.040(b) of the Bremerton Municipal Code; and establishing Juneteenth as a legal holiday for the City of Bremerton
Wheeler presents. WA state has made 6/19 a legal state holiday, now it’s time for Bremerton to make it a legal holiday by adopting this ordinance into law. Daugs: I’m all in favor of this, as this is such a diverse community. Wheat: Appreciate Mayor presenting this. Quotes from Usher Raymond IV: “June 19, 1865 was the day that the news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached some of the people who had been living in bondage. It reminds us how equality can be delayed. Let’s uplift our resilient history.” She quotes Jim McDonald as objecting to this Ordinance, because, basically, the City will be the only entity closed on this day. Wheat notes that 47 states and DC have already adopted similar ordinances. Younger: It’s a state holiday, so I’d like to be consistent with the state. Concurs with Wheat. How much will we lose in wages by creating this holiday? King Co estimates cost of one day off at $48M. Wheeler: $5K to cover services. $80K/day typically when employees have a day off. This is a day to honor, to reflect, to serve. It’s not about the cost. Younger: Would like an official answer. Riley: Confirms $80K/day. Younger backpedals. Maybe $48M is statewide cost. Why isn’t State instituting until 2022? Brett Jette: Most bills become effective July 25 in subsequent year, unless an emergency. Lubovich: Ours won’t kick in until 2022, either, because we have to publish the decision. Younger: If we’re trying to be consistent with the State, is that our policy? Wheeler: It’s not a desire for alignment, it’s an opportunity to do the right thing expeditiously. Younger hammers again about being consistent with the State, Wheeler says this isn’t about that, it’s only about Juneteenth. Simpson: This is an interesting holiday to propose. It was stated that this holiday commemorates the end of the Civil War. He points out that war ended two years earlier. Then he relates more historical data about different generals, their names, their commands, their date of surrender. We should research this more, he says. We should celebrate the end of the Civil War, he says, then starts telling us about the history of WA. History’s not nearly as finite and fixed as we’d like to think. There are lots and lots of details that should be added so we know what we’re talking about. Wheeler: If you read the summary, it says that this is the day that the news reached Galveston, not the end of the Civil War. Simpson: I’m glad we’re getting the facts straight, because the 13th and 14th Amendments weren’t even passed until several years after the war was over. It is important that we learn from our history. [Start Transcript] Because if we, if we quote unquote whitewash our history, if we get rid of all the things that are that are I just want to just wanted to kind of not get into the details of the history of the event. [End Transcript] Simpson starts to talk, Gorman mutes him. Then he talks some more. “And the question is, what are we celebrating. And if we’re celebrating you know news. Well, that’s commendable. Now, but we’re also being asked to incur a significant financial responsibility with the city, I understand that the state has created this holiday, and that’s that’s wonderful. It’s wonderful that the state wants us to go through, you know, the city can follow suit or can choose not to. It’s entirely up to the council. Thank you.” Sullivan makes a lovely speech about how we celebrate our freedom on July 4th, but the people who celebrate Juneteenth were not free on that date. Gorman: Loves Juneteenth celebration at Evergreen Park. Moved to General Business, per Gorman.
C. GENERAL COUNCIL BUSINESS
Daugs: Reminds audience of BIPOC Forum tomorrow night. Register on Kitsap Economic Development website. Younger: Thanks to DPW staff, especially Bill Davis, and thanks to Wheeler and Simpson for attending last Monday night.
D. ADJOURNMENT OF STUDY SESSION and so it came to an end at 7:48 pm.