Week Ending September 22
Shared Services Meeting – We had a productive meeting with Clallam County and the City of Port Angeles this week. We’ll be convening a group of public works directors over the coming months to discuss opportunities in equipment sharing and service delivery. Items to be discussed include vehicle sharing, fleet maintenance, street maintenance, and project design services. In future discussions, we plan to delve more into potential employee health insurance partnerships, establishing a regional and integrated parks & recreation system, working more in shared services in law enforcement, and code enforcement. Our next big meeting will be in January and we should have an update for you on Public Works efforts by February.
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Sewer Connection – Negotiations continued today and are planned through the rest of this year. We are making steady progress. We expect to have a potential agreement before you in the first or second quarter of next year.
EDC’s Lean Training – We’ve signed up several of our employees to attend the Lean training the EDC is putting on in Sequim. The content looks great! A promotional email (PDF) and flier (PDF) are attached.
Potential Teacher Strike – I’ve been in touch with Gary Neal and have offered our support in helping to work through any impacts of a teacher strike. Namely, we would be working with youth services agencies to make sure that coordinated programs are offered for youth during a potential strike. We have a Youth Services Task Force meeting this Friday and will place this item on the agenda for discussion, so that we are ready in the event of a strike.
Initial Workshop on Inclusion – We’ll be hosting a workshop by Community Plus on this topic on Saturday, September 30, from 10:00 AM to noon in the Council Chambers. I will be out of the office during that time but Charisse has agreed to host the group. I’ll be filming a video welcome.
Amazon Alexa Partnership – We are teaming up with the City of Las Vegas (NV), the City of Bloomington (MN), the City of State College (PA), the City of Mesa (AZ), the City of Durham (NC), the City of Boulder (CO), Coconino County (AZ), the City of West Hollywood (CA), and the City of Decatur (GA) through the Alliance for Innovation to develop new skills that will benefit local government using the Alexa artificial intelligence system, commonly offered through the Amazon Echo device. We’ll all be presenting our projects at the 2018 Transforming Local Government Conference in Tacoma. Our initial concept is to work with our vendor for our Public Works work order system to create voice commands (called skills in Alexa language) for internal use that would improve our efficiency in using their system. We have some other ideas if that one falls through. The City of Las Vegas won the Alliance’s most prestigious award last year for their work with Alexa and will be mentoring all of us. Here is a bit more on the Las Vegas project, if you are curious.. In Sequim, we’ll also have a lifeline through my brother-in-law, whom happens to work at Amazon coding Alexa. If we are successful, it could be spur additional Alexa applications here at the City.
Planning Calendar – We do not have any updates from last week at this point so I’m not including it.
Out of the Office – I will be out of the office from Wednesday, 9/27 through Friday, 10/6. Joe Irvin will be Acting City Manager while I am away. There will not be weekly updates during this time.
Week Ending September 15
Peninsula Housing Authority Focus Group – I’ve been asked by Peninsula Housing Authority to attend a focus group they are conducting on 10/12 on affordable housing. I’ll be talking about our plans to study the issue in 2018, per our City Council priority. Funding is recommended in the 2018 budget to help us complete this work, with a likely policy discussion to follow it.
Shared Services – We have our first shared services meeting next week with Clallam County and the City of Port Angeles. I’ll keep you posted.
Planning Calendar – Attached (PDF). We may still have a City Council Work Session on the 25th to discuss the EDC Contract. I’ll be talking with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor next week about that possibility.
Discontinuing Weekly Update Videos – My viewership is down on YouTube for these so I’m going a bit choosier about when I put them out and they are likely to be more topic focused.
Employee Engagement Webinar – I presented this week in a one-hour webinar for the Government Performance Consortium and MRSC on our employee engagement efforts. We shared the stage with Spokane County and the webinar was well attended and received.
MRSC Meeting Tomorrow – Joe will Acting City Manager while I’m in Seattle during the day.
Week Ending September 8
Here are this week’s items:
- 9/9 Neighborhood Visioning Meeting – This is a reminder that we’ll be out at Guy Cole tomorrow from 4-6 PM for this event. I know that several of you are coming. We are ready and excited to see how it goes! We are posting the meeting for the Council out of caution, due to three Council attendees so far, so if you still want to go please feel free to attend.
- Monthly Emergency Management Meeting – Our regional committee met this week. We heard from Fire District 3 on their plan for training Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) in the city. They are working with our new area/neighborhood map to train a 20 person team in each area. We’ve recommended $10,000 in the 2018 budget to outfit the teams. Each team will significant aid our response and recovery efforts.
- Rally in the Alley – We’ve got two left for this year. The next one will be on 10/14, in the northwestern neighborhood. We’ll pass along more details as we have them.
- Washington Street Trees Meeting – We met with at least 10 businesses yesterday to discuss street trees on Washington. You’ll recall the petition that we received previously. Concerns expressed included the blockage of business signs, leaves, animals, whether they are the right trees for the area, pedestrian safety, and root intrusion. We are willing to work with property owners/renters to the degree that we can to address concerns. We agreed to have an arborist evaluate the trees, which should help to determine a more active pruning schedule, to clarify some questions about tree maintenance, to determine whether this particular type of tree is right for this purpose, and to clarify issues about the potential root damage from these trees. We are also going to consult with Fish & Wildlife regarding concerns about animals. Regarding maintenance, we have some equipment planned in the 2018 budget that will help us to better deal with leaves on sidewalks in the downtown and in other locations (this was already underway). We are also working on crossing flags for the downtown mid-block crosswalks (this was also already underway). Finally, we are willing to work with businesses regarding signage options. In some cases, our code allows options that businesses have not elected to use. I expressed that tree removal is a last option we’d want to consider and that it would be a very difficult community conversation. We are going to try to work with what we’ve got in place to see if we can balance issues for everyone’s gain.
- Autonomous Vehicles – I’m attaching an article on autonomous vehicles that provides some interesting notes regarding their expected impacts on city land use. Autonomous vehicles are expected to become the norm in the 10-20 year time horizon and represent an opportunity for communities like Sequim, with retirees who can potential continue their independence even after their driving days are over.
- August Sales Tax – Sales tax through August continued to be strong, at 104% of budget. A report is attached.
- Joe Joins Sequim Food Bank Board – Joe Irvin is now a member of the Sequim Food Bank Board of Directors. Congrats Joe!
- Sequim Chamber Lunch – Chief Sheri Crain will be the featured speaker at the Chamber of Commerce lunch next Tuesday, September 12, at Sunland (11:45 start time). Event details
- Council Planning Calendar – was attached
- ODT Video – David Garlington was one of the stars of this recent production about the ODT section between Blyn and Port Angeles. It includes great drone footage and background; it is worth a watch.
- Homeward Bound – I let the group working on Homeward Bound’s “reboot” know last night that I will not be serving on the new Board due to potential conflicts with future affordable housing discussions, and possible projects, in Sequim. It looks like the organization is going to be in place so it will provide us a potential partner down the road.
- MRSC Board Meeting – I’ve got one of my 4 annual MRSC Board meetings next Friday, in Seattle, so I’ll be out that day.