25 August 2021 City Council Study Session – the Effluent Bombshell Meeting

City sewage treatment center releases TEN TIMES above allowable levels of nitrogen effluent. Aging sewage / wastewater system can’t comply with WA Dept of Ecology standards. $200M or more to bring us into compliance. (Item C)

Public Hearing 9/1 on Amendment to Allow Drive-Throughs. Planning Commission and DCD believe we need more drive-throughs in Bremerton. Now, you have to front on Kitsap or Wheaton Way to have one. But Planning & DCD, in their wisdom, believe we should expand into residential neighborhoods. You know the area around Hi-Los and  Rob’s Quick Stop? Well, the amendment makes that a commercial area that allows drive-throughs. (Item B3)

New 3-year Police Dept contract agreed to with police union. Only reported change is annual 2.5% pay increase annually, with 1.5% bump for detectives (General Investigative Unit). No reforms, no diversity requirements or incentives, no additional bike officers, traffic wardens, mental health specialists, or anything else brought forward. In other BPD, requested extension for Wolfe as acting Police Chief until new Chief is found. To be voted on 9/1. (Items B1, B2, B7)

Impressive lobbying results: City created and funded a program for shipyard to pay for improvements “outside the wire”, i.e., outside the naval facility. This never existed and now our language has made it to federal funding levels. Our lobbyist, Jack Johnston, is gearing up to ask for $$ from the new funding pool, DSIPP (I think that’s the acronym). (Item A)

Healthcare – Dept of Health to brief Council on waiving the Certificate of Need so we can possibly form our own health district & definitely bring a real hospital back to Bremerton. Have to give a big shout-out to Councilor Younger for focusing & focusing on this. Crazy that the largest city on Kitsap Peninsula has no hospital. (Item A)

A. INFORMATION BRIEFING

2021 2nd Quarter Federal and State Lobbying Update – Mayor Wheeler

Jake Johnston presents first on results of federal lobbying. 1) $2.5M secured by Rep Kilmer in House Appropriations, same amount secured by Sen Murray in Sen. Appropriations. 2) Also lobbying so City has access to some discretionary funds from USDOT. There’s never been $$ for a WA city with pop. 10-75K, so not equitable. Johnston’s managed to get funding for that range, e.g., US! Our city! 25-30% of funding will now go to cities of this size. Climate change innovation grant included. 3) We created and funded a program where Navy pays for infrastructure improvements “outside the wire”, like providing for infrastructure to support commuter workforce, other costs the City has borne for decades. In plain language, shipyard uses our streets & traffic lights & water & sewer etc., has paid much less than its fair share since forever. Some $$ went to PSNS but more went to Kitsap County (“kidnap County” to quote the transcript). Nothing in this funding round for us.

Discussion: Daugs asks for hard copy. Simpson says we’re one of 5 major naval bases in the country, if there’s any infrastructure that should be looked at, it should be ours. We have infrastructure that is sorely in need of federal funding. What are the prospects of providing something a little more to that funding, so we can adequately help, help direct traffic and traffic and needs towards the naval base. Start Transcript: 17:11:25: Well, we would be concerned with the infrastructure that’s outside the base, because if they can’t get to the base, unless they use the water to get there. They’re not going to get there. And if, if our power grid is not up to snuff to keep them continuously operating, then that’s it that’s a problem too, if it’s our other issues that come up through our utilities, or through, through our bridges our streets and these are some things that need to be addressed to. And since we have all of the streets that surround the base. I think that’s probably something that might need to be addressed. With the growing needs that we place on our military. And the fact that we are one of five major naval bases in the entire country.Especially with a lot of the assets that tend to be located in this area. Yeah, thank you. End Transcript. Johnston says this is first program ever to do this work and City worked hard on it for exactly the reasons Simpson listed. Dennehy asks if $$ is available for PARKING! (laughter from several people – locked into Speaker View again, so no idea who’s reacting). Johnston says yeah, very much needed, but parking never scores well in grant apps. Gorman: Thx for all you’ve done. We hired you to help create this grant program, and you did. We got $690K from Office of Economic Adjustment (now renamed) to look for a roadmap / infrastructure survey. Gorman wonders why Kitsap County (“concept County” per the transcript) got $$ but we did not. Johnston explains that we haven’t applied yet, we’re gearing up for DSIPP, this new money. Simpson: Wants Johnston to speak to Cami Apfelbeck about utilities, Johnston says he’ll follow up with Knuckey. [Probably because the $$ is for infrastructure, which is Public Works, not for water, a utility which is Apfelbeck’s department.]

Brian McConaughy presents on his state lobbying successes. Well, summer is our slow season, preparing for 2022 session. He talks about some items they might pursue, especially special session re clarifying Blake Decision & mask mandate etc., but no one knows if it’ll actually happen.

Discussion: Younger asks about Certificate of Need. McConaughy defers to Gorman, with whom he’s spoken. Gorman says he and Brian will ask Dept of Health to address Council re the Certificate of Need. Daugs says there needs to be a resolution to waive the Cert of Need as soon as possible so Council can act soon after DOH briefing. Younger doesn’t mind if resolution is crafted, but wants to hear first from DOH about WHY? WHY! The Cert of Need even exists. Brian says his goal is to “get something” by end of Sept. Goodnow says, if we can waive the Cert of Need, can we also find out if it’s feasible for another healthcare system to come in. Basically, can we put out some feelers. Gorman says if the Cert is waived, City can form its own health district. Younger adds that a market analysis should be conducted to give us assurance that SOME healthcare provider will move in.

B. BRIEFINGS on AGENDA BILL ITEMS

1. Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Bremerton Police Officers’ Guild; and related Budget Adjustment
Charlotte Nelson presents. We’ve reached a deal that BPO Guild approves. Dan Swedlow (a yarmulke! A landsmann!) gives overview – BPD ratified contract in July. 2-1/2% increase annually for 2021-2023. Six detectives get a 1.5% premium. Extra mandatory police training added, no non-emergency medical appointments allowed on those days.
Discussion: Daugs notices BPD contract started back in Jan 2021, is it pro-rated? Swedlow says it’s retroactive, as normal in WA. Daugs – why the delay? Swedlow – Covid was a challenge. Guild members not used to Zoom. Also, new legal counsel. Basically, it just took that long. “Detectives” are General Investigative Unit in budget language. Dennehy asks if the redlining is just in the tables of pay, or is there another document? Nelson will send it to Dennehy, Daugs asks for it to be sent to all, Nelson says ok. Moved to Consent Agenda.

2. Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Bremerton Police Management Association; and related Budget Adjustment
Nelson presents. Same deal more or less with pay increase, 2.5% across the board. Minor tweaks like now must turn in sick leave approval form within 8 hours of returning to work, instead of 36 hours; 90 days notice of proposed retirement or their accumulated sick leave is docked. Moved to Consent Agenda.

3. Proposed Public Hearing on Ordinance amending Section 20.44.120 of the Bremerton Municipal Code entitled “Drive-Through Facilities”
Garrett Jackson presents – Current code prohibits drive-throughs in some commercial districts. New code would expand permission to all Commercial, Mixed-use, and Industrial zones. Planning Commission recommended 5-2 that this be passed. The consensus was that this would not impact anyone in any way. Why Amend the Code? Several reasons: drive-through sales went up in 2020 from 50% to 90%. Chain drive-throughs got up to 70% of revenue before pandemic. Landlord can charge 10-20% more rent for property with drive-throughs. “Staff has found that areas that have experienced more commercial revitalization are areas that currently permit drive through facilities”. Downtown is largely exempted from this amendment. If safety problems arise, the amendment contains post-permit safety solutions. One comment from public, Chris Lux, who thinks this would be great for small business. Coughlin presents why this is desired by local business and would benefit local residents. There was concern that extra time spent idling would increase greenhouse gas emissions, but hey, there have been improvements in emissions technology. Ped & bike safety was a concern, but there’s a code review process to make sure they’re all safe. Concern about impact on local neighborhoods, noise and light pollution, but majority felt that this is not a concern at all, you can still incentivize pedestrian and bike access. [How is local business defined??? Is it a business owned by local residents, or a business planted down locally by some out-of-towner?]
Discussion: Daugs wants to see map where drive-thrus are permitted. All of Callow Improvement District permits them. She says, but these are neighborhoods! Garrett Jackson talks about Neighborhood Business Zones, like Hi-Los, Robb’s Quick Stop. Manette is another NBZ. Jackson says size requirements, approx 1/2 acre, mean that Manette is unlikely (he really likes this word, has made this argument — that many lots in outlined areas are too small so it’s unlikely that drive-thrus will be constructed — multiple times) to have any lots large enough for drive-thrus. Area around Noah’s Ark is another NBZ. Mosque/roofing company is another, near Crown Hill Elementary. Garrett Jackson says he will send these detailed slides to Council. Dennehy asks for visuals of what’s there now, and where properties are large enough to have a drive-thru. Jackson says he will do. Simpson: Wants these detailed slides too. This is a pretty good idea. Making it easier for somebody to have a small business is beneficial to the City. He refers to the drive-through opened by the tribes on Callow, which has created a significant increase in traffic. It’s something we always have to look at. Being able to zoom into the screen is helpful because many follow Council on their phones. Goodnow: Clarifying that the areas shown, many in residential neighborhoods, simply meet the requirements for commercial properties. Likes the amount of outreach. Echoes the call for better maps. Thinks that converting to drive-thrus, with landscaping etc., will upgrade the city. Interested in hearing what the public has to say. Younger: Asks if we’ve reached out to the Navy re potential re-zone of the tiny commercial area inside Jackson Park. Allison Satter, Jackson’s predecessor, works there, says Younger (??? !!!! so that’s why we haven’t seen Satter!) so why not reach out to her. Gorman says he’s for walkability and against fast food. What’s the difference between a gas-station and another kind of drive-through? Jackson – one sells gasoline, a specific use in the zoning code. Gorman asks if the AM/PM at 6th and Naval is a NBZ? Andrea Spencer chimes in to say that it is permitted because it was in use before our current zoning. Looks forward to hearing more discussion on this. Public hearing next Wednesday.

4. Public Works Agreement with Petersen Brothers, Inc. for the Tracyton Beach Road Guardrail Project
Dave Carter presents: this project adds guardrail to the gaps, about 650’. Best estimate is $750K, would come from Traffic Safety and Improvement Fund.
Discussion: Sullivan – thanks for presentation & hopes very much this project will be approved. Moved to Consent Agenda.

5. Ordinance repealing Chapter 6.20 of the Bremerton Municipal Code entitled “Carryout Bags”
Tom Knuckey presents: Our restriction superceded by WA State regulation, which is consistent with our RCW. Let’s repeal now because a small piece of language conflicts with WA State, which takes effect Oct. 1st.
Discussion: Simpson – Plastic bag ban didn’t quite work out the way we wanted it to. Start transcript: And with, with the advent of some of the restrictions that came up with comas we found that the using recycled bags and had some adverse effects and drew some specific concerns from from the folks that work in our retail community because of the simplicityof the one time use bags versus the recycle bags that tend to tended to possibly spread contagions. And I think this is a good idea for us to repeal the ban on the one time bags and hopefully our state legislature will see the wisdom in this, and allow for for retailers, and the public to make their own decision about what kind of bags to use. End Transcript. Daugs asks for clarification. Brett Jackson, Asst DA, says again that state law preempts all local ordinances – every WA resident must comply. Daugs asks a really good question – Have we done outreach to local biz to let them know what’s happening with the repeal, i.e., that it’s only being replaced by the State, which won’t let us have a local ordinance, we have to comply with theirs. Daugs repeats how important it is to do outreach as retailers in Silverdale are warning customers that single-use plastic is over Oct. 1st, but she’s heard nothing from any business in B’ton. Younger very very wearily says that this is just a housekeeping issue, not a time to re-argue the need for the single-use plastic bag ban. Gorman agrees. Moved to Consent Agenda.

6. Proposed Public Hearing for 2022 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Application
Simpson and Sullivan very grateful for this program, she also mentions Neighborhood Watch. Captain Randy Plumb will re-present at Public Hearing 9/1/2021.

7. Consent for Extension of Provisional Appointment of Thomas Wolfe as Chief of Police

His appointment expires 9/28, asking to extend until completion of review process. [I think we should just appoint the guy Myers that the Kitsap Dems recommended for Kitsap Co Sheriff.] Daugs thinks we should move to make it a full appointment. Simpson says this is just one of the moves we do to show we’ve done our due diligence. Great leadership right now, we should keep it. He repeats that it’s just a process we have to go through to show due diligence. Gorman: OK, asks where to place on Agenda. Daugs says General Business. General sounds of agreement. Moved to General Business.

C. GENERAL COUNCIL BUSINESS

o Race Equity Advisory Committee Monthly Briefing – Chair Leslie Daugs

8/12 meeting planned for BIPOC Forum #2 on 9/9

o Public Works Committee Monthly Briefing – Chair Eric Younger

Start Transcript: 18:52 There is one big major item I want the entire Council to be aware of … It was brought up yesterday during the Finance Committee. It’s something that looms in the horizon, but everyone on the council should know. And Tom’s on line so you can correct me if I misspeak … Anyway, there’s a nutrient permit requirement by the Department of Ecology and our sewage treatment center, basically, is 10 times above accepted rate for levels.
And it also caps [City growth]. Basically, even though we are projected to grow, [our growth will be capped by] this data — Our current level for nitrogen. So it’ll make it even more exceedingly difficult to meet that Criteria. [criterion] Our wastewater facilities were never designed to reach that type of standard.
And so it would require a considerable capital outlay amount yet to be determined, but could be a couple hundred million dollars.
So you can imagine what that might do to rates. End Transcript. Younger delivers this very deadpan, the way a surgeon tells you there was little hope. Daugs asks, when does this kick in? Tom Knuckey: In January. [Four months from. Now! Yikes! 4 Months! That’s like basically tomorrow minus three months.] Daugs echoes what I just wrote! Meanwhile, ten times.  Ten times the amount permitted.  An order of magnitude greater than is allowed by WA Dept of Ecology.

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

Mostly talking about the bombshell dropped at Public Works Committee meeting.

o Other General Council Business

No one has anything to contribute to Good of the Order.

7:03pm: moves to Item D, below.

D. EXECUTIVE SESSION

1. 15 Minutes as allowed under RCW 42. 30.110 (1) (i) to discuss Pending Litigation No action anticipated…

E. ADJOURNMENT OF STUDY SESSION and so it came to an end around 7:20pm

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