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Monday, November 17, 2008

Call To Order:


Mayor Jim Pearman called the meeting to order at 6:06 pm in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 9611 SE 36th Street, Mercer Island, Washington.



Roll Call:


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





Mayor Jim Pearman added a 30-minute Executive Session to review the performance of a public employee pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(g) to the end of the meeting.


Mayor Pearman expressed his condolences to the family of Nan Hutchins who recently passed away.  Nan was on the City Council from 1985 to 1989.





Greg Steinhauer (Mercer Island), spoke about public works projects on Mercer Island.  He expressed concern regarding issues in terms of management and prosecution of the work.  He is disappointed that projects have been poorly managed in quality of work and speed of work.  He would like to see citizens get full value in tax dollars invested in projects.


Valerie Kay, 4741 Fernridge Lane, spoke on behalf on Jazzercise students.  She stated that there are 13 classes per week with 366 active participants at the Community Center at Mercer View. She expressed concern about the schedule change moving the class from the Mercer Room to the Dance Room.  She stated that Jazzercise is a high intensity fitness program that needs the space of the Mercer Room and the dance room is not large enough.  She asked the Council to get creative so community does not have to suffer.


Leslie Scott, 7406 92nd Place SE, Secretary of the Mercer Island Senior Foundation, spoke about the confusion regarding the continuation of the Senior Commission.  She also spoke about grants the MI Senior Foundation has given to senior City projects. 


Jack Warfield, state that the Senior Commission does not cost Council any money except for one person taking notes.  He thinks itís important for Council to understand what seniors go through in the last portion of their lives and that seniors are just as important as all other demographics especially since 35% of people on MI are seniors.


Elizabeth Hardisty, 2283 72nd Avenue SE, stated that if the Council should fail to establish as a separate senior commission would be a mistake.  She believes that with a high portion of the community as seniors, the commission would be an excellent body to use as a resource.  She urged Council to make use of investment by the members.


Jan OíCallahan, 9460 SE 47th Street, expressed support for Earthcorps restoration projects on Mercer Island for invasive species removal and restoration.  She believes it is an efficient use of volunteers and small Earthcorps staff.




Karen Nendell, 228 208th Ave NE, Sammamish, has been a Jazzersize visitor for last two years.  She believes that moving to smaller room will make it very difficult.  She spoke about how engaged the Mercer Island Jazzercise group is. 


Rachel Krefetz, Housing Development Consortium of Seattle, spoke about the proposed allocation for the ARCH Housing Trust Fund.  She asked the Council to consider increasing amount allocated.


Phil Flash, 3005 69th Avenue SE, expressed his support for the Senior Commission.  He sees the commission as a way to communicate the needs of seniors to Council. He stated that seniors are the largest growing segment on MI and they will need a strong sounding board for communication. 


David Jobe, 8401 SE 61st Street, former chair of the Senior Commission, stated that he put many hours into researching best practices and the needs of older adults on Mercer Island.  His appeal to the Council is for help for the increasing needs of older adults and to remain on Mercer Island.  He asked the Council not to disregard those who want to learn and grow as there are many older adults who are civic-minded and ready to be involved.


Susan Guralnick, 7109 East Mercer Way, member of the Senior Commission, stated that she believes that the current Senior Commission is seven members that make recommendations to YFS staff not to the Council. She thinks there are territorial issues. She would like to increase the number of members to nine. She agrees that the possibility of serving on YFS Advisory Board would be better to have more seniors.


Simea Staley, 3611 East Terrace Street, Seattle, believes Jazzercise provides health, fitness, overall well-being.  She stated there are a wide range of participants and it is a community experience not just a fitness class.  She encouraged the council to support it.


Kaye Marzullo, 8063 West Mercer Way, believes that the Jazzercise class is being moved so that the Mercer Room can be used for revenue generating rentals.  She believes that forcing Jazzercise to move to small room will reduce residentsí access to participate in a healthy lifestyle.


Ira Appelman, 6213 83rd Avenue SE, objects to Councilmembers being on Island Crest Way panel.  He believes that the chair is not independent as he is an employee of the City.  He thinks that allowing bicycles on Island Crest Way would require reducing the road to two lanes and that the Citizens Panel is to expensive and the current process is not fair.


Harriet Weiss, 2715 62nd Avenue SE, member of Senior Commission, stated that seniors constitute one-third of the Islandís population and most are highly educated older adults.  She recognized the good work that Parks and Recreation and Youth and Family Services has done, but stated that more is needed for seniors.  She spoke about the four areas the Commission has focused on over the last year.


Alanna Burdell, 3616 73rd Avenue SE, member of Senior Commission, spoke about results from the Senior Commission subcommittees. She suggested ways to make those who are new to the Island feel welcome and get them connected. She thanked staff and Council for support of the Senior Commission and appreciates the opportunity to serve the community.


Jim Horn, 9507 SE 61st Place, spoke about the 520 Tolling Implementation Committee Open House that took place earlier in the evening.  He believes that tolling on I-90 has become an increasing threat, but that more people are starting to get involved.


Eva Zemplenyi, 6188 92nd Avenue SE, presented petitions with 3100 signatures to the Council regarding no tolling on I-90.





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

Approve the Study Session and Regular Meeting Minutes of November 3, 2008 as written.

Motion passed 7-0.



Consent Calendar:


(2)        Payables: $904,949.74               Payroll: $591,369.75


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

Approve the Consent Calendar and the recommendations contained therein.

Motion passed 7-0.



Regular Business:


(3)        AB 4339            Review Trial Year of Mercer Island Senior Commission


Youth and Family Services Director Cindy Goodwin explained the history of the Senior Commission and presented options to the Council for continuing the commission or providing designated spaces on the Youth and Family Services Advisory Board for adults age 55 and older.


Commission Member Harriet Weiss spoke about the creation of five subcommittees: Transportation, Recreation and Social Involvement, Housing and Safety, Education and Culture and Communication and what those committees could do in the future.


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

Achieve greater senior representation on the Youth and Family Services Advisory Board by designating specific positions (i.e. one-third of the appointed seats - 8, 8 & 8) for persons age 55 and older and direct staff to amend applicable City policies, ordinances, resolutions and bylaws accordingly and develop a more inclusive name for board.

Motion failed 2-5 (Councilmember Cero and Deputy Mayor Jahncke proponents of motion).


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

Support the continued operations of the Mercer Island Senior Commission and direct staff to identify the financial and staff resources necessary from already budgeted senior related recreation and social/health services to support the Senior Commission in advising on existing senior programming offered by the City.

Motion passed 7-0.



(4)        AB 4372            Public Hearing: 2009-2010 Preliminary Budget Review and 2009 Property Tax Levy Options


Finance Director Chip Corder presented the agenda for the budget discussion to the Council.  Youth and Family Services Director Cindy Goodwin and Police Commander Dave Jokinen presented Police and YFSí approach to drug and alcohol issues and education on Mercer Island.  Director Corder and staff then reviewed the proposed 2009-2010 Operating Budget for the Parks and Recreation Department. 


The Mayor opened the Public Hearing at 9:17 pm.


Sandra Lindstrom, 6910 SE 96th Street, believes that Jazzercise provides a great service to Mercer Island residents and there are 200 members who attend.  She stated that the classes that are being moved are the evening classes, which are the ones that working adults can attend. She urged Council to go to Jazzercise and see how packed the Mercer Room is on the weekend. She would rather have her taxes go to the Community Center than to market corporate groups.


Sue Stewart, 3205 84th Avenue SE, spoke about the property tax levy.  She is surprised at the idea of sunsetting the 2003 levy and collecting $900,000 in 2009. She urged the Council to be mindful of capital projects that are at the top of the list, such as the LBP shoreline restoration, that are getting funds cut.


Joe Wallis, 8730 SE 48th Street, would like to assure that funding for annual park improvements are comparable to that established under the levy lid lift passed in 2003, including adequate protection for the shoreline.


Amanda Clark, 4319 86th Avenue SE, spoke about the options for rebalancing the budget (CIP).  She urged the Council to not choose options two or three.  She does not want the shoreline restoration project removed from any option.


The Mayor closed the Public Hearing at 9:28 pm.


Director Corder reviewed General Fund revenue estimates, proposed 2009 utility rates, recapped follow-up items & preliminary decisions and addressed follow-up items.  He then asked Council to finalize the approval of 2009-2010 Service Packages and adopt 2009 NORCOM Budget resolution.


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

Adopt Resolution No. 1403, which approves the Cityís 2009 NORCOM allocation.

Motion passed 7-0.


Council then discussed the property tax levy options as presented by staff and made the following motions:


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

Adopt Ordinance No. 08-12 (Exhibit 5), which appropriates funds and fixes the amount of property taxes to be levied for the year 2009.

Motion passed 7-0.


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

Adopt Ordinance No. 08-13 (Exhibit 6), which identifies the dollar amount and percentage increases of the regular property tax levy and the levy lid lift for the year 2009.

Motion passed 7-0.


Finally, Director Corder and Deputy Finance Director Francie Lake reviewed the summary of Council & staff changes to 2009-2010 CIP, the revised 2009-2010 REET forecast and the re-balancing options for 2009-2010 CIP Budget.


The remainder of the Budget Hearing schedule is as follows:

         December 8: Adopt 2009 Utility Rates, 2009 Fee Increases (if any) and 2009-2010 Budget Ordinance





Councilmember Absences:

There were no absences.


Planning Schedule: 

December 15th meeting is cancelled.


Board Appointments:

There were no appointments.


Councilmember Reports:

Councilmember Cero asked about the vacancy on the Island Crest Way Citizen Panel.





The Council adjourned to Executive Session at 11:01 pm to review the performance of a public employee pursuant to RCW 42.30.110(1)(g) and for approximately 30 minutes.



Adjournment:           11:15 pm


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