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Monday, July 07, 2008

Call To Order:


Mayor Jim Pearman called the meeting to order at 6:02 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.



Roll Call:


Councilmembers Bruce Bassett (arrived 6:04 pm), Mike Cero, Mike Grady, Dan Grausz, Deputy Mayor El Jahncke and Mayor Jim Pearman (arrived 6:45 pm) were present. Councilmember Steve Litzow was absent.



Study session:


(1)        AB 4328            Town Center On-Street Parking


Development Services Director Steve Lancaster presented the Town Center On-Street Parking Study which provided an inventory of on-street parking supply and an assessment of on-street parking demand.  Key findings of the Study include:

·         On-street parking demand is greater on weekdays than on weekends.

·         The greatest demand for on-street parking occurs during the weekday noon hour (estimated at 74% of capacity for the town Center as a whole).

·         Demand for on-street parking is unevenly distributed, with an estimated 88% of spaces in the northern portion of the Town Center occupied during the weekday peak period.  Parking demand in excess of 85% is generally considered as exceeding capacity from a practical perspective.


The study provided three suggestions for improving on-street parking availability and use: 1) wayfinding with signage; 2) time limited parking; and 3) additional on-street parking.


The Council discussed restriping the north side of SE 28th Street between 78th Ave SE and 80th Ave SE to provide on street parking and directed staff to further investigate options for time-limited parking.





Stephanie Mapelli, President of Leadership Eastside, presented information on her organization which is a community resource supported by a broad base of public, private and not-for-profit organizations committed to the health and vitality of the Eastside region.  She spoke about their programs and her interest in getting Mercer Island more involved.


John Redifer, 2440 62nd Avenue SE, presented a list of Tent City related incidents he received from the Kirkland Police Department.  He believes that Mercer Island can expect increase in police incidences by 1000% in the surrounding neighborhood where Tent City will be located.


Ira Appelman, 6213 83rd Place SE, spoke about the moratorium on group homes in 2002 and a 2003 ordinance regulating the siting of group homes in residential neighborhoods and that the lack of a ordinance for homeless encampments. He believes that the same route of having public hearings and considering public comment that was done for group homes should have been done regarding homeless encampments.


Doug Byrkit, 2237 71st Avenue SE, spoke about the effects of Tent City on the safety of his family and the value of his property.  He asked the Council to consider other ways to legally protect the City. He also believes the lot is not big enough for 100 people to live on.



Mannie Batra, 2227 71st Ave SE, feels his rights have been trampled in the rush to endorse an ineffective solution to the problem of homelessness. He thinks that Tent City’s self-policing seems like an impossible situation and that the Mercer Island Police Department should do background checks.  He asked why the Council would allow a group to camp on such a small site for so long.   He expressed concerned about TB.  He stated that he has the right to choose which causes and organizations to support and that no church or government should be able to inflict their idea of good on him.


Tara Johnson, 2438 62nd Ave SE, presented 64 incidents/police reports from various cities regarding Tent City.  She believes that the self-policing isn't working. She asked why is the group so opposed to having the MI Police Department do background checks. She stated that she cannot find facts to support Tent City statements.


Stephanie Hanson, 100 Big Bear Place NW, Issaquah, is former resident of Tent City.  She believes that Tent City does help people get into housing.


Elaine Batra, 2227 71st Ave SE, believes that the contract negotiations did not have adequate involvement from surrounding neighborhood.  She asked if anyone has considered the harm that Tent City can do? She thinks that there are other organizations that can help and make a real difference. She stated that background checks need to be done by MI Police and that an ordinance is needed that sets guidelines of any organization that wants to be housed on Mercer Island.


Patrick Kelsey, Bo Beard and Craig Cory, Tent City 4 residents, read a letter responding to statements made by Mercer Island groups regarding the SHARE and WHEEL organizations, homelessness in King County, the impact of Tent City on the neighborhoods, that no child has ever been harmed, the misuse of police reports, using King County for background checks to keep same info for all encampments across the county, accountability and cooperation by Tent City residents and the purpose in staying in Tent City 4 is to move on to a better life.


Amber Lilly, Tent City 4 resident, responded to the opinion letter in MI reporter that Tent City does not provide social services to the homeless like other organizations.  She stated that Tent City has provided her a place to live while getting things back together to be able to have a home for her daughter to come back to.


Alvin Falley, Tent City 4 resident, spoke about the flyer from Citizens for Fair Process.  He stated that it would be unconstitutional for the Mercer Island Police Department to run background checks and that if the Council wanted to implement background checks for those temporarily staying on Mercer Island then all residents and guests would also have to have background checks done.


Josie Besecker, 2445 62nd Avenue SE, is opposed to Tent City moving into her neighborhood.  She asked that Council set more rules for the group.  She presented a letter from Daniel Johnson (Boys & Girls Club of King County) regarding the closing of the a child care facility, next to the Sand Point United Methodist Church who hosted Tent City, due to the financial impact of parents removing their children from the care center.


Charles Peterson, 2016 72nd Avenue SE, stated that the 600 foot radius for notification is not large enough.  He is concerned that the permit allows Tent City 4 to return annually and that it will affect the value of the homes in the neighborhood.  He asked id there will be chance for public comment before it comes back in 2009. He asked that the permit be revoked or delayed to allow Tent City to occur in controlled fashion.


Steve Oaks, 2423 71st Ave SE, is concerned about Tent City because the temporary use agreement is vague and opaque around issues of safety and background checks.  He said he found it hard to believe that comments were only sought from church and Tent City.  He asked questions about background check procedures, stated that that the procedures should be provided in writing and the Council should review them and find them satisfactory. He asked what checks will happen throughout the stay.  He would like to know why the Council discussed it for two years and then imposed Tent City of the neighborhood without input.


Maureen Nesbit, 72nd Avenue SE, concerned about having 100 people on a small lot.  She believes that property values are based on perception and those who live around the church will have a problem financially. She also said that she has heard that size of congregation is very small and they have imposed Tent City on the neighborhood.



Johni Freadman, 2278 71st Avenue SE, stated that he and his family has compassion for the poor and needy as well as the rest of his neighborhood, but that it is unfair that those who have not lived on Mercer Island can make decision for those who have.   He is concerned with health issues and illnesses that increase in large groups and is scared of being put at risk.


Susie Redifer, 2440 62nd Avenue SE, is concerned that there is no budget for Tent City.  She asked who will offer medical aid for residents.  She is concerned about TB, since Tent City has no health preventive maintenance program in place. She stated that a City ordinance is needed.


Marsha Stone, 43rd Avenue S, Seattle, is tuberculosis prevention nurse for Health for the Homeless. She stated that ever been a case of TB in Tent City and it is not a threat to the citizens of Mercer Island.


Rick Bailey, 6119 SE 28th Street, understands how information can be bent, statistics can be influenced and people can feel disenfranchised. He stated that he is now involved because Tent City will be close to his home and people do not feel they have been involved in process. He feels that people want to hear about how they will be protected. He is concerned about increased traffic.  He stated that people don't feel safe and they will have to change their lifestyle because of Tent City.


Peggy Hotes, 1331 112th Ave SE, Bellevue, an elementary school teacher who lived in Tent City, believes that once people experience Tent City they will realize it is a non-event. She stated that the traffic from those who serve meals is minimal. She stated that warrants checks are done regularly and public health nurse regularly visit the camp.





(2)        It was moved by Councilmember Jahncke; seconded by Councilmember Grady to:

Approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of June 16, 2008 as amended:

Page 7, Item 7, add the following sentence: “Fire Marshal Rod Mandery stated that the Kiwanis Club told him this would be the last year they will be selling fireworks.”

Motion passed 6-0.


It was moved by Councilmember Jahncke; seconded by Councilmember Grady to:

Approve the REVISED Special Meeting Minutes of June 21, 2008 as written.

Motion passed 6-0.



Consent Calendar:


Deputy Mayor Jahncke requested that AB 4330 be moved to the first item of regular business.


(3)        Payables:          $1,287,731.51 (6/17/2008), $1,145,327.12 (7/1/2008)

            Payroll:             $598,677.71 (6/20/2008), $610,059.55 (7/3/2008)


(4)        AB 4326            Community Center at Mercer View Parking Lot Repair

                                    Motion: Move to appropriate 43,570 from the Community Center Building Construction Fund to make repairs to the Community Center parking lot.


It was moved by Councilmember Bassett; seconded by Councilmember Grady to:

Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.

Motion passed 6-0.



Regular Business:


(5)        AB 4330            Operating Plan for Broadcasting Council Meetings


Communications Coordinator Joy Johnston responded to Deputy Mayor Jahncke’s questions asked how the broadcasting system will work. The Council discussed what meetings and sessions will be broadcast.


It was moved by Councilmember Cero; seconded by Councilmember Grady to:

Broadcast City Council Meetings beginning July 21, 2008.


It was moved by Councilmember Grady; seconded by Councilmember Bassett to:

Amend the previous motion to include:

Approve the Operating Plan & Guidelines for Broadcasting City Council Meetings.

Motion passed 5-1 (Deputy Mayor Jahncke dissented).


Main motion passed 5-1 (Deputy Mayor Jahncke dissented).



(6)        AB 4316            Fire Apparatus Refurbishment (no presentation)


It was moved by Councilmember Cero; seconded by Deputy Mayor Jahncke to:

Authorize the Fire Department to purchase two used maxi pumpers and provide minor upgrades necessary for Mercer Island Fire Department operations.  The amount for each unit shall not exceed $130,000.

Motion passed 6-0.


Councilmember Cero presented a memo to the Council regarding concerns about accommodating future growth in the Town Center and possible savings in reducing the fleet from 3 to 4.  The memo will be attached the AB 4316 in the agenda packet for the July 7, 2008 Council meeting.


It was moved by Councilmember Cero; seconded by Councilmember Grady to:

Authorize the Fire Department to maintain the two existing midi pumpers for an additional eight years and not refurbish one of the existing midi pumpers as originally planned.  When the next mini pumper arrives in eight years, the Fire Department will then surplus both 1984 midi pumpers.

Motion passed 6-0.



(7)        AB 4329            2008 Water System Plan Adoption (no presentation)


It was moved by Councilmember Grady; seconded by Councilmember Bassett to:

Approve Resolution No. 1399, which adopts the 2008 City of Mercer Island Water System Plan.

Motion passed 6-0.



(8)        AB 4325            Parks Ballot Measure: Project Selection & Funding


Assistant City Manager/Parks & Recreation Director Pete Mayer, Communications Coordinator Joy Johnston and Finance Director Chip Corder presented a “tool kit” to assist Council in determining which parks projects and services to include in the ballot measure.


Public Comment:

Scott Milburn, 7488 81st Place SE, expressed concern about the proposal for improvements to the Couth Mercer Playfields and the lack of public involvement in the improvements.  The field gets a lot more use because of the upgrades and the noise, traffic and lights have become a nuisance.  He asked for additional funding to mitigate the neighborhood’s concerns.


Mayor Pearman stated the following assumptions and agreements of the Council:

1.       To set an upper limit of a $12 million bond for the capital projects portion of the package

2.       To set an overall net property tax $100 per average home.

3.       To include capital costs of $50,000 for Mary Wayte swimming pool funding.


It was moved by Councilmember Grausz; seconded by Councilmember Bassett to:

Lump the Luther Burbank Park capital projects together for a total amount of $6.25 million, lump playfield capital projects together for a set total amount for at $4.1 million and all other projects will remain the same as indicated in AB 4325.

Motion passed 4-2 (Councilmember Cero & Deputy Mayor Jahncke dissented).


It was moved by Councilmember Grausz; seconded by Deputy Mayor Jahncke to:

Prepare an Operations & Maintenance levy that reduces the Annual O&M for Capital Projects by $27,000, eliminates the Forest Steward to reduce the levy by $35,000 and reduce the Schools Financing enough to end up with net annual property tax on a $1 million home of $100. Set the Operations & Maintenance Levy at $900,000 per year for 15 years.

Motion passed 5-1 (Councilmember Cero dissented).


Staff will return at the August 4, 2008 Council Meeting with an ordinance to place a bond levy for capital parks projects and an ordinance for a 15-year levy lid lift for ongoing parks operations and maintenance for ballot measures on the November 4th General Election ballot.



(9)        AB 4327            2009-2014 Capital Improvement Program Preview


City Manager Rich Conrad provided an overview of the proposed 2009-2014 Capital Improvement Program.  He stated that the City of Mercer Island is in a good place as existing revenue streams are almost all in equilibrium with our capital infrastructure needs.


Deputy Finance Director Francie Lake provided a brief overview of the status of revenues (REET and projected utility rates).


Finance Director Chip Corder presented the new organization of the projects by funding status and walked the Council through the review of the proposed projects.


The Council asked questions of staff regarding specific projects and amended the following projects as listed below:

·         Open Space Vegetation Management: Can staff include an education component within the proposed project budget?

·         I-90 Park Improvements: Staff to provide more information on the Boat Launch before we launch into design.

·         Minor Park Improvements: Staff to provide details on expenditures for Groveland Beach Park in out years.

·         South Fire Station Replacement: Re-open Council discussions on replacement of the S. Fire Station (currently unfunded) in 2009.

·         Low Impact Development Demonstration Project: Council would like staff to look into other locations -- not interested in spending this much on City Hall.

·         Open Space Park Acquisitions: Delete this project and reallocate the funding to Open Space Vegetation Management.

·         Emergency Water Supply Well: Move construction of the Emergency Water Supply Well forward from 2010 to 2009.


Due to the late hour the discussion of the CIP staffing proposal was moved to a future meeting.



(10)       AB 4322            2007 Mercer Island Dashboard Report


This item was moved to a future agenda.





Councilmember Absences: 

Councilmember Litzow’s absence was excused.

Deputy Mayor Jahncke and Councilmember Grady will be absent July 21.


Planning Schedule: 

There were no changes.


Board Appointments:

There were no appointments.


Councilmember Reports:

Councilmember Cero spoke about reviewing the Council agenda packet online versus the paper copy.



Adjournment:           Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 12:07 pm

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