23 June 2021 City Council Study Session, 5-~7:50pm: The Too Darn Hot Meeting

Delays, digressions, irrelevancies, technical difficulties. Too Darn Hot. Everything moved to General Business except Oyster Bay Sewer Upgrades, where costs have gone up, but a mere $50K and all covered by “the loan” so no worries. Mottner’s promotion at DPW delayed once more; In-person meetings could resume soon; Marine Drive $2.2M water main replacement contract goes to Pape & Sons; Red-light camera $$ to go to Streets & Sidewalks Fund, if public & Council agree on 7 July; ditto Kylie Finnell’s appointment as (Interim?) City Attorney.

Despite detailed, thorough, overview of Chris Mottner’s 42 years of service, his intimate knowledge of the new position created by majority Council vote; despite the breakdown of how little he will profit by the promotion (loss of union coverage, loss of overtime), delivered by Tom Knuckey, despite all this, Council tonight voted to delay Mottner’s appointment until it is approved by public and Council on July 7th. This means that Knuckey will keep doing both jobs for another two weeks. In the same vein, though Council previously approved Younger’s creating an Ordinance to divert red-light camera $$ to Streets and Sidewalks, tonight there was considerable objection to moving the $$ out of the General Fund, where Council can decide where to put it during Budget meetings. Loss of flexibility was cited a few times. And Kylie Finnell, whose appointment as Interim City Attorney was denied on a technicality that I still don’t understand, was suddenly ok to be appointed as City Attorney (without the “Interim”) and this I don’t understand either. But I still like her & I think it’s a Good Thing that we have an attorney in-house.

Leslie Daugs absent; Kevin Gorman delayed for 8 mins. by technical difficulties. Michael Goodnow opens the meeting.

A. BRIEFINGS on AGENDA BILL ITEMS 1. Confirm Appointment of Harrington Griffin of the Fairfield Inn to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee
New general manager to replace previous gen. mgr. / LTAC member. Of the 7 hotels in town, only 3 ever connect with LTAC (I’m guessing the place on National Ave is not connected.) WA law requires a certain number of mgrs, so when the pool is only 3 … However, his application hasn’t come in yet. (Too Darn Hot.) Moved to General Business so application can be reviewed.

2. Agreement with Pape & Sons Construction, Inc. for Marine Drive Water Main Replacement

Robert Endsley Civil Engineer II (mentions that it’s hot) presents. Water Main installed in 1930s, can’t supply fire flow at north end, it’ll also provide a redundancy loop out there. 5800 linear feet of Class 2 pipe. Community Outreach via Zoom on May 6th. Out of 3 bids, Pape & Son was lowest responsible responsive bidder at $2,231,085.58. They’ve done a lot of work for us, have a good rep. They’ll pull funding from Reservoir #19, which came in under budget, and from Anderson Creek dam, which is still waiting on the tribes for final decision, i.e., they’ll fund it from next year’s budget.

Discussion: Wheat – Thanks. Simpson – There’s a lot of complaints about speeding on Marine Dr, residents have suggested painting the speed limit onto the street itself, can this be done after repaving. (Completely irrelevant to topic, but Gorman ok with it apparently.) Shane Weber says yeah, it can be done, but City experimented with this down on Lebo, had little impact. Slowing speeders on Marine Dr is on the list. Simpson explains again that painting would be good, it would build interest, make sure community is invested, and if they’re invested, it’ll slow down speeding. Does not cite source for this statement, sounds like magical thinking to me after Shane’s comments. Moved to General Business per Simpson.

3. Proposed Public Hearing and Resolution adopting the 2022 – 2027 Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program

Shane Weber presents. It’s a list of projects in compliance with the GMA (Growth Mgmt Act) and consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The list includes estimated costs that are best-guess estimates. Completed projects, and those projected to complete in 2021, are excluded from this list. Sullivan: Love the format, but haven’t we already done this chunk of lower Wheaton Way? Shane: This is the segment from Lebo north to Sheridan that’s in pretty poor shape.

Discussion: Simpson: clarifies that unfunded was used instead of under-funded. Younger: This was at DPW meeting, I suggest we treat it as Consent Agenda. Gorman notes that this is a Public Hearing. Moved to July 7th, Public Hearing

4. Contract Modification Agreement No. 3 with Parametrix, Inc for Oyster Bay Sewer Upgrades

Bill Davis presents. Work occurred in Feb-Mar but there were more costs for surveying, DOE added requirements, about $50K more than expected, but will all be covered by the loan. So contract with Parametrix goes to around $722K. Moved to Consent Agenda

5. Professional Services Agreement with Cultural Resources Consultants, LLC for Oyster Bay Sewer Upgrades

Bill Davis presents. DOE requires archeological monitoring, these guys will do it for around $60K, monitoring work in street and, occasionally, on private property. Also fully covered by the loan. Moved to Consent Agenda.

6. Ordinance amending Chapter 10.42 of the Bremerton Municipal Code to include Section 10.42.070 entitled “Funds Allocated”

Eric Younger presents. This is the red-light camera money, which nets around $4-500K/yr, to be moved to Street Capital Projects Fund, instead of going to the general fund. This year it’ll be $120K because it’s based on 2020, a pretty light year for traffic, as we all remember.

Discussion: Simpson – The city shouldn’t be garnering revenue for the city, the $$ should go to transportation. [Which is what the city does! For crying out loud!] Sullivan – thanks Younger for proposing and presenting this. Wheat – Where’s the $120K going to come from? Since we budget using the General Fund, and this $$ will be pulled from it. Wheeler – We haven’t been consulted on this, so we don’t know. Younger – We have more than ample reserves in General Fund. Wheat – How much does this reduce reserves? Riley – We are several million over the 16% recommended reserve. Wheat – Likes maximum flexibility, designated funds work against that, and Wheeler hasn’t been consulted … all this gives her pause. She wants $$ to keep going to General Fund, where Council can direct funds to wherever when they work on annual Budget. Goodnow – sees the value of keeping $$ in General Fund, but nonetheless he supports this because it shows the public our thoughts on this. Riley – He likes it in the General Fund too, for flexibility. Wheeler – mentions that fire/EMS transport costs will go up because Harrison / St Michael is up in Silverdale now, other upcoming needs. Younger – wasn’t expecting this much pushback, we can discuss in 2 weeks. Has been working for all his time on Council to get money dedicated to local streets. Sullivan: Doesn’t know why Mayor says he hasn’t been consulted, he was in the meeting along with everyone else. Deplores sad condition of sidewalks on Sheridan St. (ZERO sidewalks in most of District Six!) Wheat – She’s in favor of more $$ to streets, but not this dedicated fund. Younger pushed in 2020 Retreat for ballot measure to fund local streets. Wants to keep flexibility on the table. Simpson – This is a great deal! “All this does is this helps the administration prioritize the money towards towards one of the three things that our city government absolutely has to take care of public safety, our infrastructure and our utilities, and this this keys in on number two and number one.” He repeats the three things that government has to do. He explains what’s happening. Then he explains it again. Gorman – When did we start defunding the streets program? 2008, 2010? We need $5-6M / yr to get any traction on good streets for Bremerton. He sees this as another chip away at getting back to where we should be on this fund. Riley – It’s a challenge. Road funding for cities went away in late 90s. It’s a challenge. Wheeler – Improving the program is a priority. We need employees, equipment, and materials, if we don’t have all three, adding money won’t do the job. Gorman – Would like to see the $$ used for traffic calming. Moved to General Business.

7. Update on Sodium Hypochlorite and Caustic Soda Supply Chain Disruption (Information only)

Knuckey presents. On 6/16, City got a Force Majeure notification from their suppliers that a critical piece of electrical equipment had failed, suddenly and without notice. Westlake supplies plants up and down the West Coast. We have enough to keep going through first week of July, the supply disruption will be around 30 days. DPW continuing to use what disinfectant they have on purifying drinking water, scanting the wastewater treatment plant — it’ll smell a bit rank, but it won’t hurt you as impure drinking water would. Disruptions settling down, but they’re planning to increase supply of necessary chemicals so we can survive a future 3-month interruption of service. Simpson – we should do [this thing that Knuckey’s planning to do] because stuff could come up, like earthquake, so we should have a 3-month supply on hand [as Knuckey explained he was doing]

8. Confirm Appointment of Kylie Finnell as the City Attorney at Band 23 Rate 6 of the salary schedule; and authorize the Mayor to finalize and enter into the attached Letter of Engagement with substantially the same terms and conditions as presented Item added

Wheeler presents. As he presented last time Kylie Finnell (pronounced Finn-Ell, accent on 1st syllable) came before Council.

Discussion: Several Councilors approve this, but has to go to General Business so the public can comment on July 7th.

B. ACTION on AGENDA BILL ITEM 1. 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 Item added

Knuckey presents. Mottner has been doing this job without the title for a while. He has 42 years of institutional history / knowledge. Facilities/Inventory Supervisor for >25 years. Long Power Point at 6:30-6:36pm that details all the stuff Chris does. If Chris were an external candidate, we couldn’t ask him what he’s getting as salary now, just what he wants, AND we’d be overjoyed to get him at Rate 8 (top step). His composite salary will not increase with this promotion; his workload and responsibilities will increase. [Emphasis added.] Knuckey adds description of what Facilities After-Hours Work: Snow Response, Emergency Response (this includes cleanup & damage response at Library, Parking Garage, elevator at Conference Ctr, etc.), and Night work to avoid impacting ongoing operations (renovation, cleaning, electrical work, etc.) Knuckey goes on to explain that this position WILL eliminate overtime, responding to criticisms of overtime being needed when we’re hiring FTEs. Public comment – I suggest they hire the guy. Motion and second, Wheat and Goodnow.

Discussion: Wheat – Based on public comment, the community is in favor of hiring this guy. Goodnow: This isn’t filling an empty slot, it’s a newly created position, so having somebody with this skill level set up the job for the next occupants, as Mottner is probably eying retirement. This job increases his salary by $0.92 / hour. Sullivan – This presentation differs from what we heard at the Finance Committee meeting. She cuts out. Simpson – Doesn’t think the public has the experience to determine if Mottner should be hired. Moves to amend motion to delay decision until July 7th. Daugs is absent, Goodnow was absent during previous presentation, there have been technical difficulties. We do want to have a good informed discussion about what goes on. So we should open it to the public on July 7th. Wheat – asks Knuckey to explain what harm would be done by delay. Knuckey says, this work would continue to fall on me. Vote on the amendment: Wheat, Goodnow, No, do it now. Sullivan, Simpson, Younger, Gorman: Yes, let’s delay until 7 July.

After 10-min break, at 7:20 pm, they return. Angela Hoover says, the motion has been amended to include a postponement, so you’ve voted on the motion. But it appears that Robert’s Rules of Order are just a guideline, Council President can determine how to proceed & supersede Robert’s Rules. Angela’s advice is to simply accept the postponement and move on. After some more parliamentary ooge, the discussion will be postponed until July 7th.

C. GENERAL COUNCIL BUSINESS

o Transitioning back to in-person Public Meetings and option for Hybrid Meetings

Gorman takes the temperature of council about re-opening to in-person meetings. He wants to do it, as he misses all of the Council. Goodnow – let’s try it at study sessions first, so there’s no public comment. But yeah, I’m ready. Simpson – echoes Goodnow’s comments. Also looks forward to in-person meetings as soon as possible. Sullivan – I want to see you guys, yeah, but even more to “see the audience”. OK with hybrid meetings for public to attend. Riley comments on Zoom options, it’s been built in to the chambers. Younger – I prefer to have all sessions in the downstairs chamber so we can maintain social distance. [Gotta say I totally agree with him.] Wants the option of Councilmembers to attend via Zoom. Sees no reason why he can’t attend via Zoom when he’s traveling via Zoom. (What did he do before? I mean, there hasn’t been another pandemic in our lifetime, why act as if life has gone back to normal except no need for Councilors to show up in person if it’s personally inconvenient.) Gorman will review all this input and revisit in near future.

o Race Equity Advisory Committee Monthly Briefing – Chair Leslie Daugs

Wheat reports on BIPOC Business Forum, which replaced the usual 6/10 meeting. Goodnow reports on groups he names only by acronym, so I have nothing for you, my readers, but go to the videotape: 7:33pm.

o Public Works Committee Monthly Briefing – Chair Eric Younger

Most of what happened in Committee made it to tonight’s study session. Younger delivers encomium on hard-working DPW & the fascination of infrastructure. (I’m not being snarky here. Infrastructure actually is fascinating.)

o Finance, Investment, & Parking Committee Monthly Briefing – Chair Michael Goodnow

Again, most of what happened in Committee made it to Council.

o Other General Council Business

Lori Wheat’s farewell. It was lovely, a repeat of her farewell last week with less formality, more detail, and much more exhaustion — the closing on house sale is scheduled for 6/25. She’s attending via a folding chair and a tray table in a nearly empty house. Lubovich bids farewell too, tells Council of his retirement plans.

D. ADJOURNMENT OF STUDY SESSION and so it came to an end about 7:50pm

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