North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

City, Fire District 21 reach agreement


After considerable negotiations in the last year on funding disagreements, Fire District 21 commissioners approved a proposed solution with the city of Arlington at its Sept. 14 meeting, and Arlington City Council was scheduled to approve an inter-local agreement at this Monday’s council meeting that requires the district to pay a balance due to the city for services provided in 2015.

In the agreement, Arlington will continue to provide basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS) services through 2017 for 80 percent of the EMS tax levy receipts collected by the fire district.

Council was scheduled to approve this Monday two new members for the city’s Lodging Tax Advisory (LTAC) and to appoint council member Jesica Stickles as chairperson of the committee. Council member Chris Raezer served as council representative on the committee for several years and Stickles has been recommended by Mayor Barbara Tolbert as a replacement.

State law requires that the LTAC be comprised of an equal number of representatives from hotels that collect the tax and organizations that receive the grants.

Two members of the committee currently represent the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society and the Arlington Arts Council.

Two applications were received for the two vacant hotelier positions and now council is expected to approve the appointment of Matthew Rosenthal, from Best Western, and Thomas So, from the Medallion Hotel.

The juggle of leadership and committee members is occurring at the same time as the call for applications for 2017 grants, which are due Oct. 3.

Sarah Lopez, from the city’s recreation department, requested approval to apply for $19,000 from the lodging tax fund, including $6,000 for phase II of an Olympic Avenue Sound System, $5,200 to fund Arlington’s Stillaguamish Eagle Festival and $7,900 for the city’s summer entertainment, including music and movies in Terrace Park and entertainment at the street fair.

The consent agenda this Monday included a two-year lease of Station 48 facilities in west Arlington, an agreement with DNR for Urban Forestry restoration, and a contract award for the stabilization of Prairie Creek above Jensen Business Park.

Arlington has the opportunity to receive two months of labor from the forestry crew of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to work on tree maintenance and installation projects, a benefit of being a Tree City U.S.A.

The tree crew services are estimated to be worth $20,000 for one month.

“The value can be applied to our required match of $2 per capita to be spent on urban forestry management for the Tree City USA program,” said Bill Blake at last week’s workshop meeting.

An additional month will be provided in exchange for letting the DNR crew stage their truck at the city’s utility plant for a year, Blake said.

City staff is responsible for hauling off trimmed branches, to pay for any new trees and to implement a three-year monitoring plan.

The stabilization of Prairie Creek is part of a continuing effort to prevent flooding in Jensen Business Park. The project, which is intended to reduce the source of sediment in the creek, is listed in the city’s Stormwater Comprehensive Plan. According to a hydraulics permit from the Department of Ecology, all in-stream work must be completed by Sept. 30, i.e. the “fish window.”

The call for proposals from the small works roster received just one bid, from Environmental Remediation Resources Group Inc. for $49,577.

A two-year lease agreement with Son Investments for Station 48 in west Arlington can be renewed year by year, said City Administrator Paul Ellis, on behalf of Fire Chief Bruce Stedman.

Council is also expected to approve reducing the size of the city Planning Commission from seven to five, since they have struggled with maintaining a full membership in recent years.

Rapid turn-over rates have impacted the functioning of the Planning Commission, said Chris Young, director of economic and community development, because of the time wasted on the interview process, advertising positions and the learning curve for new members.

The seven-member board requires four members to be present for a quorum and if there is no quorum, then no action can be taken, causing delays to the customer, Young explained.

At this week’s Planning Commission meeting, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, a public hearing will be held on an update to the city’s code on impact fees to comply with Senate Bill 5923, which mandates that counties and cities adopt processes for the deferral of impact fees.

Arlington is creating a process for deferral of impact fees for single family residential construction, as required by the state law.

The city’s budget discussion was to continue this week with a presentation by Finance Director Kristin Garcia on special revenues, capital project- and enterprise funds.

On Aug. 22, Garcia presented information on general fund revenues for the 2017-2018 budget and on Sept. 12, general fund expenses were reviewed. Last week, Garcia explained discretionary and non discretionary buckets of funds, concluding that after all required expenses are paid, there will be about $124,000 new dollars in next year’s budget.

“It seems a small amount,” Garcia said. “But it’s a good sign.”

A special workshop meeting on the 2017-2018 budget is planned for Oct. 1.


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