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City Council considers variety of issues


At the Monday, July 24, workshop meeting, Arlington City Council was scheduled to honor Mike and Terri Schur with the Mayor's Volunteer Award and to hear a presentation from Stacy Anderson on the upcoming Day of Hope.

Council is also considering a recommendation from the Planning Commission to reject an exemption on taxes on multi-family housing in residentially deficient urban centers, as allowed by state law.

City staff proposed on the annual docket for changes to the city’s comprehensive plan, considering the exemption, but through the review process staff concluded that it could have negative impacts on future revenues while providing no incentive value at this time.

The staff report was presented to the Planning Commission at a public hearing on June 21 and the commission voted unanimously against the Urban Center/Multi-Family tax exemption.

Council was scheduled this Monday to discuss changes to water and sewer rates for multi-family and commercial accounts, after a utility billing analysis completed in 2015-16 by the Public Works Department. The study examined the cost of providing water and processing wastewater to three classes of customers: single family residences, multi-family residences and commercial entities. The goal of the analysis was to ensure equity to all of Arlington’s utility customers. Based on the analysis, Public Works is proposing modifying the billing structure for multi-family and commercial services, with no changes to single family residential rates.

Modifications including changing from metering each apartment to a single meter for apartment complexes, with a reduction by 77 percent of standard residential sewer charges.

For commercial users, also all water consumption would be metered through a single meter. The monthly sewer rate, which is based on water consumption, would remain unchanged.

In the ongoing efforts to prepare to construct the Arlington Valley Road from 188th Street to 204th Street, council is reviewing acquisition of a right-of-way from Vern Rengen. Public Works staff worked with Tierra ROW Associates and the state Department of Transportation to make an offer to the property owner, and in December 2016, a letter was issued. Parties have agreed to an alignment and purchase price for the ROW, on the south end of 74th Avenue NE, according to council documents.

Council is also considering a contract with Murraysmith Inc. (MSA) Engineers to prepare construction documents, including drawings, specifications and cost estimates, for water main replacement and pavement preservation work planned from 2018 to 2021. A estimate of $320,000 will cover the cost of preparing documents for improving aged and failing water-sewer-storm infrastructure and to resurface roads in the same streets, according to council documents from Public Works.

Funding for this work will be divided among water Capital Improvement Fund, Sewer CIP Fund, Storm CIP fund and the Transportation Benefit District funds.

“All this work has been budgeted,” said Public Works Director Jim Kelly in council documents.

To accommodate at the Hayden Park development on 91st Avenue NE, city staff is requesting approval to pay almost $78,000 for an upgrade from an 8-inch pipe to a 12-inch water main pipe, in preparation for future development. The area is within the city’s Water Service Area (WSA) but it extends past city limits. Staff analysis of water needs for the Hayden Park development shows that an 8-inch water main will serve its needs, however future growth in the area would require a 12-inch water main.

At this week’s workshop meeting, the city’s finance director was scheduled to present the June Financial Report, which shows that sales tax is 1 percent over projections and 6 percent up from what was collected in 2016, though telephone utility taxes continue to drop, following the trend since 2013.

Finance Director Kristin Garcia’s report in council documents also explained that marijuana excise tax revenues are at 30 percent of what she projected.

The EMS funds is down to $107,492 and the city is still waiting for a payment from Fire District 21 for advanced and basic life support services in the first half of 2017, Garcia reports in documents.

State auditors are expected to show up on Aug. 21 to conduct an accountability and financial statement audit of 2016, Garcia wrote in her financial report.


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