Week Ending April 28
Greetings from USA Today’s Top Small Town in the Northwest! Here are this week’s items:
- Olympic Housing Trust – I spoke with David Timmons, City Manager of Port Townsend, today about the Olympic Housing Trust. Mark Blatter, a former Housing Authority Director in Bainbridge Island, is volunteering his time towards helping to get a housing trust off the ground. The trust would look at providing revolving loans, and possibly grants, towards affordable housing projects in both Jefferson and Clallam Counties. Port Townsend has been active in this area, creating incentives and donating land for projects. David has a lot of experience with this issue, dating back to his work on the east coast. Jefferson County is looking at a housing levy that would help to fund activities there. The Olympic Housing Trust, while initially working in the area of more heavily subsidized housing, is also a potential vehicle for the development of workforce housing, which is targeted towards people close to buts still below the area median income. Peninsula Housing Authority, a developer of affordable housing in Clallam County, is directly involved. An organization called Homeward Bound had a number of affordable housing projects in the region but lost momentum. The goal of the Olympic Housing Trust is to “reboot” that organization, to collaborate regionally, and to build more units. Mark Blatter may attend our next Council meeting to share more details. There is annual/organizing meeting of the organization planned for 5/17. I plan to attend to learn more. The City of Sequim is listed as a potential member of the new organization. Should the Council wish to get quickly involved in affordable housing activities regionally, which is potentially in line with your affordable housing priority, this effort is likely our best option.
- Youth Summit – We hosted a youth summit last night. We had 10-15 high school students in attendance and got some great feedback/ideas! They are on butcher paper all over the walls in the Burkett Community Conference Room. Some of the highlights included having more/better/seasonal access to nature, having more special events outside of the normal special events in our community, getting a frozen yogurt stand/business in Sequim, and many others. Those in attendance recommended that we merge their group with our Youth Services Task Force. We’ll be looking at how to do that next week. The discussion formed a great way forward for all of the involved organizations in our task force (us, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Community Plus, North Olympic Library System, Sequim School District, etc.).
- Boys & Girls Club Summer Camp Support - The Parks Arbor and Recreation Board is going to partner with the Boys & Girls Club for a summer camp program. The program will consist of an adopt a park activity where children will maintain a city park. There will be guided history and naturalistic tours weekly. Also the Boys & Girls Club is looking to host Friday field days at the Albert Haller play fields and the softball fields at Carrie Blake Park. More information will be available soon as Joe and Susan Sparks Smith continue to work with Dave Miller of the Boys & Girls Club to smooth out the details.
- Little League – You may recall that we placed money in the budget for capital improvements at Dr. Standard Park. As a result of that investment and many volunteer hours, the fields and facilities are looking great for little league this year! A picture is attached.
- Lean Training Program for Sequim Businesses – The Clallam County EDC, the City of Sequim, and the Sequim Chamber of Commerce are partnering to bring Lean training to Clallam County businesses. Our inaugural series will start on May 25 and will occur weekly on the following dates: June 1; 8; 22; and 29. Each session will be from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Our role in the training will be to provide the Transit Center and we will also be speaking about our Kaizen Event work we completed on our single family residential permitting process. Our involvement in this training is consistent with our Economic Development Plan’s objectives.
- Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) Grant Proceeding – We met with the new owner of our eastern Economic Opportunity Area (EOA), on the northeast corner of 101 and Sequim Avenue. He plans to partner with us on the matching funds needed to support the grant application. We will be in Olympia on 5/18 presenting to the CERB Board. If successful, the grant will fund an economic feasibility study, define infrastructure needs, develop conceptual plans, and assist us with preparing zoning and a subarea plan for the eastern EOA.
- 2018 ServiceFest - We are working towards a big event in 2018 with our Neighborhoods Coalition that I’ve mentioned previously. It involves Habitat for Humanity’s Care-A-Vanners Program. These are folks who travel the nation in RVs doing builds for Habitat. We are requesting up to 100 of them to do a community make over event for two weeks in June 2018, where we’ll work with them on neighborhood revitalization projects. They would set up near or in Carrie Blake Park for that time period. This is likely to be a first of its kind event for Habitat nationally. We are still in the conceptual stage and our main task right now is to determine what, if anything, we need to put into our recommended budget for the City this fall. A small committee, including Habitat and First Federal Foundation, plus Joe and I, have been meeting 30 minutes a week to begin a planning process towards developing a budget. In a recent meeting, we determined that we would need an event this year to lead into what would happen next year. Also as a part of our neighborhoods Council priority, we have a team working to recommend boundaries for 7 city neighborhoods. We are trying to put lines on a map that have the possibility to relate to all of our service areas in the long-run. This is a significant interdepartmental discussion. The concept may eventually change our service delivery approaches. The objectives for the tentative 9/23 event this year are to generate naming ideas for the neighborhoods and to generate projects that could be completed during the June 2018 event. The 9/24 event is being planned at the Guy Cole Center and will be an open invitation to all city residents. We’ll organize by neighborhoods and we will have facilitation provided by our staff facilitators. We’ll have more for you, including a discussion of the draft neighborhood map, prior to 9/24. I also want to make sure that our entire Neighborhoods Coalition is committed to this effort before we begin. This isn’t going to be an event that the City can handle alone. It will require everyone working together. If done right, we think the results will be dramatic.
- Council Microphones – As you know, we’ve added some microphones to the dais and have some wires running across the floor in the Chambers. Information Technology staff have recommended that we deal with the wires as the same time that we implement video streaming of our meetings so that is our plan for the moment.
- Sales Tax for April – We received our sales tax report for April, which covers receipts from February. Unfortunately for the first time in a long time, monthly revenues came in at 94% of budget, or about $11,000 under our expectation. We are still at 102% of budget for the year. Hopefully this is just an anomaly but to make sure that is the case, we’ll be watching it extra closely the next few months.
- Sequim Retina Center Building Permit – Our Department of Community Development (DCD) issued a building permit for the new Sequim Retina Center. It will be located at 601 Garry Oak Drive, just west of the previous DCD/Public Works work location. The new building will be approximately 3,620 square feet in size and will have associated parking, landscaping, and on-site storm water control.
- Sequim School District Strategic Planning Team – I attended another meeting, as did Councilor Starr. We are making progress. We also both attended an impressive ceremony celebrating the cross laminate timber construction taking place at Greywolf Elementary.
- Adopt a Street - Volunteers were working hard this week on landscaping along Hendrickson Road from Sequim Avenue to 5th Avenue. Starbucks has adopted the section. A big thanks goes to Ty Brown for supporting the effort and to Roger and Baily for helping to set everything up. There were about 20 people pulling weeds and planting flowers. A photo is attached.
- Inclusive Sequim Discussions – Our steering committee met this week. We are planning three discussions between now and the end of the year. I’ll have more on this as I have time to work on it. The first discussion is planned for June.
Week Ending April 21
No City Manager Report
Week Ending April 14
Here are this week’s items:
- Youth Services Task Force – We had a meeting on Friday, April 7. The main topic of discussion was the Youth Summit - to be held on 4/27 from 6-8 PM at the Civic Center. We are expecting 25-30 youth at this event and you are welcome to attend also. The event is organized by 4 youth with support from three community coaches. Results from the youth summit will help to inform future projects and collaborations between the organizations serving youth in the community.
- Regional Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations – The City is involved in collaboration on an EV charger station grant. Sequim is considering joining other Hwy 101 loop jurisdictions on an application to get stations installed every 30 to 50 miles around the Peninsula. We will be approaching you with more information about this opportunity at the 4/24 and 5/8 meetings. If we submit a grant application, it is due May 12. We are actively participating in this effort but we are not serving as the lead agency.
- Off Dungeness Channel Reservoir Update - Our Floodplains by Design request is included in the State House budget, which asks for $52M for the total program. The State Senate did not include us on their list. For the Reservoir to receive funding this session, budget negotiators will need to provide additional funding. We’ll continue to monitor this situation and to encourage our legislators on this project.
- Governing Magazine Coverage - We got an email from Governing Magazine this afternoon regarding a story they are putting together on attracting the workforce of the future. They came to us at the recommendation of the Alliance for Innovation, having watched our Hall of Fame video on YouTube. Getting an interview with Governing is a bit like a musician getting an interview with Rolling Stone a few decades ago – it is a pretty cool thing and can launch your community to a different level. Joe was working on a presentation on this very topic for the upcoming Association of Washington Cities Labor Relations Conference, where he is presenting, so he called them back, also covering our employee engagement efforts. If we are quoted in the article, which is supposed to emerge next Wednesday, Joe will pass along a link.
- Serenity House Facilities Tour – Sergeant Madison and I toured Serenity House’s facilities in Port Angeles on Friday, April 7. Facilities featured included family housing, a low barrier shelter (where most people are admitted regardless of their condition), transitional housing, their housing resource center, and subsidized housing for people with disabilities. It was helpful for us to get a better understanding of what is offered by Serenity House as we delve into discussions about human services, homelessness, etc., and for our operations staff as they encounter people in our community.
- PenCom – The City of Port Angeles provides public safety dispatch services for our Police Department via interlocal agreement through a center called PenCom. Regional partners are considering moving PenCom from the City of Port Angeles into a stand-alone agency. Doing so could be a step towards further regionalization of public safety dispatch services between Clallam and Jefferson County. We met with Karl Hatton, Regional Emergency Communications Director for PenCom and for JeffCom (Jefferson County) to discuss the possibilities of this transition. We have invited Karl to be a part of a future Council meeting work session on this topic. If a transition were to occur, it would require a new interlocal agreement amongst the parties.
- Sequim School District Strategic Plan – Joe, Councilor Genaveve Starr, and I attended the Sequim School District strategic planning meeting this week. The group is making gradual progress on a vision and values statements.
- Walk to End Alzheimer’s Breakfast – I attended this breakfast on Thursday, hosted by 5th Avenue. The most amazing statistic for me was that people over 85 years of age have a 50% chance of getting this disease. I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to network with the Alzheimer’s Association in efforts to better serve our community. We will continue to do this as we get back to full staffing. This year’s Olympic Peninsula Walk will be on September 17th in Port Angeles.
- Sequim Dungeness Kiwanis Rechartering Banquet – I attended this banquet on behalf of the City on Sunday evening. Our local Kiwanis Club disbanded a couple of years ago and, due to the efforts of about 15 people, has come back. We are excited to get to work on serving youth in partnership with Kiwanis.
- Small Business Development Center Meeting with Kevin Hoult – Joe and I met with Kevin Hoult this week and received a report of Kevin’s services to Sequim businesses so far this year. Kevin will be coming to Council to provide a full briefing later this spring.
- Labor & Industries Moves Office to Sequim - A Tenant Improvement building permit has been issued for 542 W. Washington. This location is next door to Westside Pizza. Washington State Labor & Industries will be occupying this location. They are relocating from Port Angeles. Labor & Industries will occupy 3,000 square feet. Some exterior modifications to doors and windows will be made as well as interior modifications. The value of the project is $103,680.
- Whimsy Park – Whimsy Park, which is under construction on E. Washington Street on a vacant lot just east of Sequim Avenue, will have a May 5th formal opening at 5 pm. We are invited to attend and will receive some recognition for our involvement in the project. Whimsy Park is the City’s first pop-up park, inspired by Peter Kageyama’s visit here last year. It is being built entirely with donated materials and labor in an expression of love for Sequim. The park will have a stage, thanks to Thomas Building Center. The Malcolm Clark Trio, a local blues-rock group, has agreed to perform from 5 to 7 pm that evening. First Friday Art Walk, the first formal day of the Irrigation Festival, and Cinco de Mayo are all also occurring on 5/5 so it should be quite the evening! Community volunteer Ken Stringer has been an amazing catalyst behind this project, which is being constructed on a lot owned by Bill Littlejohn. If you haven’t seen it lately, go and check it out.
Kudos of the Week (Drum Roll)
- Detective Devin McBride Receives Recognition - Sequim Police Detective Devin McBride was awarded the annual Gratitude Award this week by Becca Korby of Healthy Families of Clallam County. The annual Gratitude Award is given to individuals or entities that have demonstrated a commitment to responding to domestic and sexual violence as well as child abuse and neglect. Recipients have worked above and beyond in services, treatment and compassion for victims of these heinous crimes. Please congratulate Devin if you see him and thank you City Council for supporting the equipment that Devin uses to do his work for within the Police Department.
- Rick Irish, Sequim Superhero - We received a call today from a woman wanting to express her gratitude to Rick Irish. This morning, on Blake Avenue, a gentlemen on a power scooter went off the sidewalk and overturned. The scooter was laying on top off him and he had minor injuries. The woman said she was not able to help him because of the weight of the machine and the man. At that point, she looked up and noticed the street sweeper coming down the road to the rescue. Rick wasted no time jumping into action. Rick picked the scooter up off the man and helped him up as well. He then used his first aid kit to provide initial first aid. The woman who called said it was a miracle. If you see Rick, please thank him for living our organizational values!
- Silberhorn Traffic Enforcement – The Police Department quickly adapted to a request on East Silberhorn Road last weekend. Initially, there was a traffic collision where a car ran off the road at the corner of 7th and E. Silberhorn Road. While officers responded, they were approached by two different people who live in the direct vicinity of the corner. Both residents reported a problem with speeders in the area, both day and night. One woman said that she was going to “Coffee with the Mayor” to express her concerns to city leaders. Later in the weekend, Sheriff’s Deputy Kitchen and Officer Rick Larson worked the area for traffic, arresting someone on a Department Of Corrections warrant and also obtaining some narcotics information. They left their emergency lights on for two hours while conducting a search warrant of the vehicle. This is a great example of the Police Department responding to the community’s needs in real time. It was a great job by everyone involved!
- Out Friday Afternoon & Next Week – I’ll be out of the office next week. Joe Irvin will be Acting City Manager from April 15-18 and Chief Sheri Crain will be Acting City Manager from April 19 through 22. There will not be a weekly update next week.
Week Ending April 7
Here are this week’s items:
- Olympic Affordable Housing Trust – There is an organizing group forming on this topic and I’ve been invited by David Timmons, the City Manager in Port Townsend, to be a part of it. I can’t make the first meeting, which is this afternoon. I’ve asked for more information so that I can properly brief you and seek your guidance, before I consider committing to a role. Right now, if I could attend, it would be only to observe.
- Highway 101 Improvements in East Sequim – We were recently informed by WSDOT that it is in the preliminary design phase of a fish passable bridge on US 101 at Johnson Creek, very close to the Happy Valley Road intersection discussed previously with us and for which we have a resolution and have engaged in legislative advocacy. WSDOT, with funding from the Peninsula Regional Transportation Planning Organization, is also performing an intersection operational analysis at Happy Valley Road and nearby Palo Alto Road, also within the Sequim City limits. In this same short stretch of federal highway is the US 101/Simdars Road interchange, which was only half constructed nearly 20 years ago when the bypass around Sequim was built. With so many issues in such a compressed area, we encouraged legislators and WSDOT this week to take a corridor approach to the highway and to consider make all of the needed improvements in one project.
- Emergency Management Committee – We had our monthly meeting this week and continued to make steady progress on all fronts.
- Lexipol Statement on ACLU Request – I’m attaching a statement by Lexipol, the organization that helps us to maintain our police department operating policies, that confirms our interpretation of the City’s policies being largely consistent with what the ACLU requested of us.
- NOLS Meeting – We had a meeting with Margaret Jakubcin, from North Olympic Library System, to get a brief idea of their plans regarding expanding the Sequim Library. They may go to the ballot with a bond in 2018. We have tentatively planned a work session for you to hear more about the need for a library expansion for late May or early June of this year. The City would ultimately need to pass a resolution to support a bond going onto the ballot. That would likely occur early in 2018.
- Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management Speaker - They are hosting a panel of Washington State experts on tsunami science, risk and preparedness on Friday, April 14 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Chimacum High School auditorium. This includes the world-renowned Brian Atwater, credited as the USGS scientist who proved the Cascadia Subduction Zone is much more deadly and dangerous than previously believed.
- New Assistant to the City Manager - Our new Assistant to the City Manager is Charisse Deschenes, effective 5/1/17. Charisse beat over 50 applicants from across the nation for the position. She brings an MBA, a background in parks, a background in planning, two years with us as our Senior Planner, 13 years of total local government experience, and a desire to further broaden her experience to the position. In the position, she will support Karen as our back up City Clerk and will take on general duties for the City Manager’s Office, similar to Joe’s previous role. Charisse will be gradually transitioning as we work to backfill for her in DCD and to fill the DCD Manager position. We expect a full transition by the end of summer. We are overlapping Charisse’s time with Bobbie Usselman in the first half of May to smooth her transition in supporting the City Clerk’s Office.
- Alliance for Innovation Ambassador Newsletter – Our effort to create the Hall of Fame Lip Dub is the lead story in this month’s international Alliance for Innovation publication. The Alliance Ambassador program works with staff within member organizations to educate about and help to foster innovation. This is their newsletter to the ambassadors. I’m attaching a copy so you check out our article and the rest of the contents.
- Annual Association of Washington Cities/RMSA Audit – We underwent our annual audit by our risk pool this week. We’ll know the results soon.
Kudo of the Week (Drum Roll)
- City of Sequim Employee Engagement at a World Class Level, And an Article for Context – We learned that our employee engagement rate is at 63% from our first employee engagement survey. This is at a world class level and we are confident we can push it even higher!!! Given that we’ll be discussing this more at Monday’s meeting, I thought that this article from the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) might help to provide some context for the typical engagement levels of government workers.