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Monday, August 04, 2008

Call To Order:

 

Mayor Jim Pearman called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.

 

 

Roll Call:

 

Councilmembers Bruce Bassett, Mike Grady, Dan Grausz, Steve Litzow, Deputy Mayor El Jahncke and Mayor Jim Pearman were present. Councilmember Mike Cero was absent.

 

 

Mayor Pearman announced that Human Resources Director Kryss Segle earned the designation as a Senior Professional in Human Resources from the Human Resource Institute.  He also mentioned that Mercer Island Marine Patrol was featured in the Washington Council of Police and Sherriff’s magazine.

 

Mayor Pearman explained that the City will have a public process regarding the Island Crest Way / Merrimount intersection.  At this point design work on the intersection will cease until the Council reconfirm the design or selects a different option.

 

 

SPECIAL BUSINESS:

 

Oral Report on Tent City:

 

Interim Deputy City Manager Linda Herzog provided an oral report to the Council on Tent City, as staff have been requested to do at each meeting during tent City’s stay or until the Council decides otherwise.  She stated that Tent City will move to the Mercer Island Methodist Church tomorrow, August 5th, and the Fire Marshal, Development Services representatives and a health inspector will check as the camp is being installed.  Staff held a meeting to assure that all City departments know their roles and their commitments to frequent site visits to the encampment.  She stated that staff will have ID badges or logo clothing to identify them as City employees.  Staff will summarize experiences and will report notable items and issues to Council throughout Tent City’s stay.  She spoke about the King County Superior Court Judge’s decision on July 28th to deny to the motion by the “Citizens for Fair Process” for an injunction to stop Tent City coming to Mercer Island.

 

Development Services Director Steve Lancaster stated that he will be working with staff and the Mercer Island United Methodist Church to ensure that the site layout and use requirements are met as they are laid out in the Temporary Use Agreement and the Mercer Island City Code.  He spoke about the arrangement of the camp on the site, and other items such as site obscuring screening, the 20 foot setback and vehicle parking.

 

Police Chief Ed Holmes spoke about seeing two strong positions regarding Tent City.  One that Tent City residents are criminals and the other that Tent City is a great way to help the homeless.  He reviewed the reports from the other police agencies that had Tent City encampments in their jurisdictions and he concluded that they see it as a “non-event”, in that the Tent City-related incidents represent only a small fraction of police calls.  But he stated that just because other police agencies have determined Tent City to be a “non-event”, does not mean this that Mercer Island has or will dismiss any concerns brought forward. He appreciates concerns of the neighborhood regarding safety and the research that has been done regarding Tent City. He assured the neighborhood that their concerns are taken seriously and that his officers will make First Hill one of their top priorities.  Chief Holmes presented the Mercer Island Police Department’s plan for Tent City 4’s stay on Mercer Island, which speaks to reviewing incidents, reporting to Council, daily walkthroughs and consistent communications.  He also noted that there will be a log of incidents regarding Tent City on the City’s website that will be updated daily.

 

 

 

The Council asked what happens when someone is turned away or ejected from Tent City.  Tent City Camp Advisor Bruce Thomas responded that Tent City security will escort the ejected individual to the bus stop and ensure that he or she boards the bus, or if there are no busses running a taxi will be called to take the individual off the Island.

 

 

Appearances:

 

Jason King, 4128 93rd Ave SE, spoke on behalf of the Mercer Island Farmers Market and thanked the Council and staff for their support in starting this tradition.  He invited everyone to the inaugural event on August 10th.

 

John O'Neill, resident of Kirkland, spoke about the “Congregation for the Homeless” program that helps to bring the homeless inside.  He believes that although money should be spent on the homeless, Tent City is exploitation of the homeless. He spoke about incidents at Redmond Tent City in Redmond. He believes that the homeless need structured and controlled services.

 

Tara Johnson, 2438 62nd Ave SE, stated that the lawsuit was not dismissed and that the City was served with a complaint that citing violations of City Code. She stated that the Temporary Use Agreement process took place without public input. She believes that the City moving forward without public process was a judgment call that shows that Tent City is above the law. She feels that the suggestion of creating an ordinance after the fact is negligent. She asked that the Council move Tent City to City Hall until an ordinance in enacted.

 

John Redifer, 2440 62nd Ave SE, Citizens for Fair Process, commented on the First Amendment of the US Constitution and how it pertains to Tent City (respecting an establishment of religion).  He asked the Council to enact and emergency ordinance that places Tent City of the City Hall property and to form a committee to create an ordinance for temporary encampments.

 

Mi Resident, 84th Ave SE, spoke about coming to the United States from China. She expressed frustration and discontent that she had no choice in the decision that Council made about Tent City coming to Mercer Island. She would like to know how to prevent Tent city coming back every year.  She asked the Council to move Tent City to the City Hall parking lot.

 

Bruce Thomas, Pam Roberts, Karisa Vaughn and Dean Blunk, residents of Tent City 4, came to thank the Council as well as invite Mercer Island citizens to come and visit.

 

Susie Redifer, 2440 62nd Ave SE, read an editorial from the Seattle Times from June 24th regarding Tent City. She asked the Council to create emergency ordinance to move Tent City to the City Hall parking lot.

 

Linus Toy, 5070 90th Ave SE, member of Mercer Island United Methodist Church, thanked the Council for taking a stand.  He is appalled at the abuse the Council has received from those apposed to Tent City.

 

Terry Pottmeyer, 6207 Island Crest Way, asked the Council to remove AB 4337 from the consent agenda and amend the motion to provide full funding by the City for school counseling so that MISD can use the freed-up funds for critical programming. The $185,000 would be used for priority educational needs and to help more fully support families and youth in educational setting.

 

Susan Kaplan, 6504 80th Ave SE, asked the Council to fully fund the counseling program in the Mercer Island School District.

 

Pat Braham, 7001 91st Ave SE, President of the Mercer Island School District Board, on behalf of MISD superintendent Gary Plano, spoke about the unfunded mandates from the State of Washington that affect local school districts.  She would like to talk about the possibility of the City fully funding the school-based counseling program as MISD must cut $800,000 from their budget. She asked the Council to move the item to a future Council meeting to allow for discussion.

 

Mannie Batra, 2227 71st Ave SE, is baffled at the Council’s consistent lack of appropriate response to the citizens that will be directly impacted Tent City. He asked the Council to move Tent City to City Hall.  He is concerned that the encampment will not abide by City Code and the Temporary Use Agreement.

 

 

Karen Morris, 15788 NE 4th Street, Bellevue, believes that there is factual data that contradicts the beliefs that Tent City is non-event.  She believes that Tent Cities can be connected to crimes that have been committed in the areas they have been in. She asked the Council to look at the information that has been provided.

 

Michelle Usef, 8412 NE 121st Place, Kirkland, is concerned that Tent City is not a non-event. She stated she has records from Redmond regarding incidents related to Tent City. She spoke about sex-offenders that attempted to check into the Redmond tent city and were turned away and left wandering around the neighborhood. She asked the Council to review the evidence she has put forward.

 

Christine Oaks, 2423 71st Ave SE, thanked the Police Chief for his work with the residents. She does not view Tent City as a “non-event”. She is concerned with the neighborhood children’s safety and the changes that residents must make because of Tent City. She spoke about her family and the work they have done to live in a safe community.

 

Shirley Aires, 8841 SE 59th Street, member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, thanked Mercer Island United Methodist Church for hosting Tent City.  She has confidence that Tent City residents will be honorable guests. She spoke about her experience with Tent city residents and she thanked the Council for allowing her to speak.

 

Karen Harvey, 2740 76th Ave SE, member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, thanked the Council for standing up for the rights of the Mercer Island United Methodist Church to host Tent City, the Mercer Island Clergy Association and those who are helping with meals. She feels that it’s a great opportunity for outreach on Mercer Island and to ease stereotypes.

 

Johnie Freatmen, 2278 71st Ave SE, stated that his comments are not meant to be attack on personal character. He is frustrated that the Temporary Use Agreement was finalized before the notices for the Council and neighborhood meetings were given to neighborhood. He stated his dislike that some people have referred to those again Tent City as "spoiled".  He feels that after looking at Police reports, any one who lives close to Tent City cannot take their safety for granted.

 

Kristin Jamerson, 2706 60th Ave SE, is in favor of Tent City coming to Mercer Island and she thanked the Council for having the courage to take this step. She stated that in looking at the meal schedule for Tent City, support for it on Mercer Island was evident. She visited Tent City in Issaquah to see what it is like and was impressed with eh camp as it was tidy and well-taken care of. She hopes that the Mercer Island community will visit Tent City.

 

Marty Gale, 9404 SE 54th Street, made an observation of the Council regarding approving the "fun" stuff easily. She stated that the Council does not show concern for the citizens who come to them asking for help. She asked if the Council can say that they had as much interaction and concern for Tent City as they have had for off-leash dog area.  She spoke about the many hours of work Bellevue did for an ordinance that controls homeless encampments.  She believes that the Council has just achieved their biggest failure.

 

Ira Appelman, 6213 83rd Ave SE, believes there is an increasing bias in staff reports, such as the ones for Tent City. He stated that the June 16, 2008 staff report mentioned no evidence of issues and called public safety a “non-event”. He believes the staff report on tasers was one-sided.  He feels that honest and open staff reports are needed to make honest and open decisions.

 

Steve Oaks, 2423 71st Ave SE, spoke about inconsistencies in the comments from staff and Council about listening to the neighborhood surrounding Tent City. He referred to Council emails that state a mistake was made in the way the process has been handled and that conversations have been going on for years to decide not to enact an ordinance.  He is concerned about a higher incidence of violence in this transient group from the reports that have been collected.

 

Trina Freatman, 2278 78th Avenue SE, asked about where the entrances and exits to Tent City will be.  She would prefer it to be between the sanctuary and fellowship off of SE 24th Street.

 

Andy Johnson, 2438 62nd Avenue SE, thanked Councilmember Litzow for asking what happens to those who are turned away from Tent City, but he feels that the response is vague. He doesn’t understand how putting someone in a cab would ensure that the person would leave Mercer Island. He feels there is anecdotal information regarding Tent City, but there are still real problems that need to be addressed. He feels that maybe citizens have been listened to, but he is frustrated there has not been a response.

MINUTES:

 

(1)        It was moved by Councilmember Litzow; seconded by Councilmember Grady to:

Approve the Revised Regular Meeting Minutes of July 21, 2008 as written.

Motion passed 6-0.

 

 

Consent Calendar:

 

Councilmember Grausz asked to move AB 4337: Interlocal with MISD for Counseling Services to regular business.

 

Councilmember Grady asked for a report on the City’s fuel and energy costs.

 

(2)        Payables: $1,176,492.66            Payroll: $617,168.98

 

(4)        AB 4342            Luther Burbank Park Shoreline Restoration and Off-Leash Area Renovation Contract Clarification

Motion: Clarify the contract with Pacific Earthworks, Inc. to be awarded at $1,024,164 which reflects three units (750 CY) of sand.

 

(5)        AB 4344            2008-2010 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Mercer Island Police Association

Motion: Authorize the City Manager to sign the collective bargaining agreement with the Mercer Island Police Association for the period of January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2010.

 

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

Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.

Motion passed 5-0-1 (Councilmember Grausz was out of the room).

 

 

Regular Business:

 

(6)        AB 4341            Commerce on Public Property in the Town Center Code Amendments (2nd Reading)

 

Development Services Director Steve Lancaster presented an ordinance for a second reading regarding amendments to Section 19.06.050 of the Mercer Island City Code that will revise the guidelines for the regulation of commerce on public property in the Town Center, and are specifically related to occasional, temporary commercial operations.

 

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

Adopt Ordinance No. 08C-06, amending Mercer Island City Code Section 19.06.050, Commerce on Public Property.

Motion passed 5-0-1 (Councilmember Grausz was out of the room).

 

 

(7)        AB 4334            Parks Ballot Measure: General Obligation Bond Levy and Operations & Maintenance Levy

 

Assistant City Manager/Parks & Recreation Director Pete Mayer and Communications Coordinator Joy Johnston presented the proposed general obligation bond and maintenance and operations levy lid lift ordinances for adoption in order to meet the King County Elections deadline of August 12th for inclusion on the November General Election Ballot.

 

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

Approve Ordinance No. 08-08 instructing King County Elections to place a $900,000 per year park maintenance and operations levy lid lift for a period of fifteen years on the November 4th, 2008, Mercer Island general election ballot.

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

 

 

 

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

Approve Ordinance No. 08-07 instructing King County Elections to place a $12.0 million General Obligation Bond to fund park capital improvements on the November 4th, 2008, Mercer Island general election ballot.

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

 

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

Clarify the intention of this City Council, that upon issuance of the Bonds, the proceeds will be spent in the following way: (a) not less than 50% of the proceeds of the Bonds to be applied for Park Improvements shall be applied for Park Improvements located at Luther Burbank Park, and (b) not less than 33% of the proceeds of the Bonds to be applied for Park Improvements shall be applied for Park Improvements located at either the South Mercer playfields or the Island Crest Park ballfields.

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

 

 

(8)        AB 4322            2007 Mercer Island Dashboard Report

 

Finance Director Chip Corder presented the new, city-wide performance model that:

1.       Identifies “dashboard” (i.e. top tier) indicators which capture the “state of the City” in terms of what matters most to the management team and the City Council;

2.       Collects meaningful information that impacts financial and human resource allocation decisions and ultimately organizational direction during the biennial budget and Capital Improvement Program process; and

3.       Selects a manageable group of measures that has minimal impact on productive staff time in terms of data gathering.

 

After questions about the performance measures being tracked and how the dashboard report compares to the reports in the past, the Council received the report.

 

 

(3)        AB 4337            Interlocal with MISD for Counseling Services

 

Councilmember Grausz proposed to direct staff to come back at the September 15th meeting with solutions to:

1.       Fully fund the cost for counseling services in the Mercer Island School District for the remainder of 2008

2.       present the costs of fully funding counseling services in the Mercer Island School District  for 2009 and into the future as part of the 2009-2010 biennial budget

The Council concurred.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS:

 

Councilmember Absences: 

Councilmember Cero’s absence was excused.

 

Planning Schedule: 

Add a Special Meeting on September 8th to discuss I-90.

 

Board Appointments:

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

Appoint Rob Brousseau to Position No. 1 (term expiring May 2009) on the Youth and Family Services Advisory Board.

Motion passed 6-0.

 

Councilmember Reports:

Mayor Pearman spoke about the upcoming 520 Tolling public meeting on August 13th at the Community Center at Mercer View at 6:00 pm.

 

Councilmember Bassett reported that the Utility Board is in contract discussions with Allied Waste.

Councilmember Grady reported on a meeting with Bainbridge Island city officials regarding sustainability.

Deputy Mayor Jahncke spoke about his involvement with the Mercer Island School District’s “Really Big Idea Committee”

 

 

Adjournment:           10:06 pm

 

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