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May 23, 2016 Council Report Question of Recreational Marijuana Businesses in Town Continues to Strike Dread in Majority of Council Members

by Dixie A. Walter
June 8, 2016


Police Chief Brian Witt reported the department is in the process of closing up its evidence room and moving all items of evidence that may need to be accessed in the future to Pierce County’s evidence room where it will be stored and catalogued. Some of the evidence is up to 30 years old, and some evidence is being destroyed since it is no longer of any use.

The 2008 Dodge Charger police cruiser is being prepped for surplussing, and its radio transferred to the new, incoming vehicle that is now being outfitted.

Councilmember Abby Gribi reported the Finance Committee met last Tuesday. Deputy clerk Christina Dargan has been combining all the various fees into one, consolidated document. The committee is also looking at the social media platforms being created by other municipalities for ideas. (This last one was partly unintelligible.)

Councilmember Bob Thomas reported the Airport Committee has three interested persons who’ve said they would like to serve on the Airport Commission, with a couple of others who’ve also expressed an interest. The three are former councilman Brenden Pierce, airport manager Dan Mulkey and Rick Adams of Ashford. He also said a volunteer runway maintenance project was scheduled for Memorial Day, coordinated by Dan Mulkey of Trinity Aviation. The runway will be cleaned, sealed and its identifying insignia re-painted, followed by grilled hot dogs in front of the hangars.

The annual Memorial Day service in honor of deceased veterans was also announced. It will take place at 11 a.m. at the Eatonville Cemetery, arranged and coordinated by American Legion Post 148. The Eatonville Lady Lions will provide coffee, donuts and other baked treats following the service.

Councilmember Jennie Hannah reported on the Utilities Committee meeting  held May 17. The mayor gave a presentation on net metering and an incentive program for renewable energy. At least one town resident is planning to add solar power. Utility deposits on rental properties were discussed, and local landlords will be surveyed to see what they want to do. The committee also evaluated utility rates, making sure we’re on track for upgrades and repairs.

Mayor Mike Schaub reported the Washington Avenue right-of-way project is still in process, with adjustments being made to the engineer’s map originally provided. There will be two planning commission meetings in June, the first one has the Comp Plan on the agenda, and the second (on June 20), the rezone of the land the Community Center stands on.

Schaub also mentioned he has scheduled a free, demonstration set-up by a private company of  one of their bicycle and scooter “pump tracks” at Mill Pond Park on Friday, July 29, from 3 to 6 p.m.. He pointed out that since the skate park there is not designed for these types of wheeled-vehicles (They are prohibited at the skate park.), the town may want to consider in its long-range plan, adding such a track for its parks system. He said a poster’s been made that will hopefully stir up interest in the demo.

Schaub was part of the Timber Town Tales revue held at the high school on May 21 (dressed as an early logger). He’s looking forward to watching the DVD of the performance when it comes out. He said, “One of the items that have been lost over time is the history of Eatonville. It’s interesting to get that out for people to have access to.”

In new business, Ordinance 2016-9, on its first reading, will extend once again, the moratorium on recreational marijuana or marijuana-infused products. Schaub mentioned several bills were introduced in the latest legislative session, two of which he said had passed. Those had to do with the sale of marijuana to regulated co-ops, and the disposal of unsellable marijuana by licensed retail outlets. He said two other bills, which did not pass, aimed at taking the power away from cities and towns to prohibit marijuana businesses. [This issue is being argued in the courts.]

Councilmember James Schrimpsher commented on a bill passed that he said now allows  local governments to drop the length of their own buffer zones between marijuana businesses and schools, parks, etc. [originally set at 1,000 feet] down to as little as 100 feet. [This is incorrect. The option of reducing the size of the buffer zone does not apply to zones around elementary or secondary schools, or to public playgrounds.]

Schrimpsher asked the mayor if that law means our planning commission should look at the issue of the length of the buffer zone again, adding that he could foresee, if and when we have regulations in place, a marijuana business suing to allow them to establish their business in a location closer to the buffered institutions. He pointed to his fear of this happening as another example of the uncertainties that exist in this emerging industry, concluding, “This is definitely shaping up to be a fight between the state and local governments.”

Councilmember Bob Walter said, “One of the things passed on the state level was to allow some of the revenues generated in this new industry to go to local communities (that allow the businesses) for enforcement.” Schaub concurred, while Schrimpsher countered that we are still at the mercy of the state, as to whether those funds would actually materialize.

Schrimpsher then claimed the state was still issuing licenses to recreational marijuana  business applicants even in those areas where there are moratoria or other restrictions. Walter asked him if he thought Eatonville was at risk, then, of having the state issue a license even during its moratorium, to which Schrimpsher replied, “They can….They’re ignoring the moratoriums.” [According to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board’s (WSLCB) website section detailing the Retail License Application Process for marijuana businesses, “When the application is assigned to a licensing specialist they will send an electronic location confirmation form to the applicant giving the applicant two weeks to respond with an address they would like to move forward with.

When the licensing specialist receives the form back they will do all of the necessary vetting of that proposed location. If the location doesn’t qualify the application will be withdrawn and the applicant can re-apply once they find a new location. Applicants will not lose their assigned priority if the application is withdrawn.”]

Schrimpsher suggested the town consider conducting an advisory vote on whether or not citizens want to move forward and allow recreational marijuana, or prohibit it, just like Pierce County did recently, adding that, in the voting on I-502, citizens around Eatonville were against recreational marijuana businesses.

To which Walter replied, “We’ve had the advisory vote, it was Initiative 502, and it was passed by the voters of our state.” Schrimpsher countered, “But it wasn’t passed in Pierce County….It lost in Pierce County, and it lost badly.” He described the problem as other parts of the state trying to dictate to us what we should do here, and again suggested putting an advisory vote, just like the county council did, on the ballot.

Walter said he doesn’t care what the county council does in terms of expensive advisory votes that their citizens have to pay for. He cares about Eatonville, and what the people of Eatonville feel about the issue.

I see this moratorium as unnecessarily blocking new business and business revenues every time we extend this. Marijuana is available legally in enough nearby communities, that potential negative impacts, if any, are already present here in town. And we're not getting a rash of crimes being committed by marijuana users. There surely is illegal drug dealing going on, but as far as marijuana goes, that would actually decrease or go away if and when a legal business is allowed in town.

One 'Whereas' in the moratorium extensions particularly baffles me. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just a loophole those who are still against legalization, are using to resist it. That's the one that says the town could be at legal risk if it implemented provisions before the appeals courts rule on whether towns have the right to prohibit their implementation.

No matter which way the court rules on that issue, towns that have implemented I-502 won't  be affected! So I don't understand what the risk is there. The only risk I see is if we continue the ban and the courts rule to force towns to go with the state law. Then we would be forced to implement, rather than doing it on our own timeline and terms. So that makes no sense to me

I feel the same as a lot of my constituents feel: now that the state has  amended the  regulations providing allocations of marijuana revenues for local enforcement, there’s no reason not to embrace the will of Washington’s voters, and allow such businesses.

We’ve had plenty of time to study our own zoning and land use implications. I feel we should establish the necessary provisions and move on. These are the reasons why I will again vote no on the moratorium.” Walter then provided a copy of his statement to the clerk and asked that it be included in the record.

Schrimpsher: “I applaud you, for preparing a statement. But this isn’t about the use of marijuana. This is about the state telling local governments what they can and can’t do. We’re the ones on the front lines, who have to deal with the problems.”

Councilmember Abby Gribi moved to pass the ordinance in one reading. The motion passed, 4-1, with Walter voting against.

Councilmember Bob Thomas said he was still kind of neutral on the issue, and understood both perspectives just presented. He cited a poll taken in the Dispatch which he said leans in favor of the moratorium, 16-11. “I think at the state level, it’s money and politics, and that economic expediency sometimes outweighs common sense and good judgment…I like to have a spirited debate within the town, but at the same time, I’m not so concerned with what the state is doing.”

Mayor Schaub pointed out we have the results of the voters in Eatonville  on I-502 to use for gauging local sentiment, and added that adding an advisory vote to the upcoming EMS levy in August, which has already been titled, would not be possible, though the general election in November may be a possibility.

Walter said he voted against I-502 (legalizing recreational cannabis) because, he said, as written, it did not provide funds to go to local enforcement [that has since been corrected by the legislature], and he was concerned about negative impacts it could have on the medical marijuana industry, which has been in place and working for a dozen years or more. But he concluded by saying, it passed, so he thinks we should run with it.

Schrimpsher: “I want to be clear. I’m not against the use of marijuana. It’s legal, and that’s the law of the land. What I am against, is how the regulations are set up. They’re set up to put us on the front lines, with little to no backing…The quandaries they put local jurisdictions in: ‘Either sign up and collect our money, or be on your own and we’re going to force you.’…It’s bigger government; I’m totally against it…The state legislature needs to figure it out.”

Schaub concurred that some money has been legislated for local enforcement, and added that they’ve incorporated the medical marijuana system into the recreational. “The revenue sharing is what actually keeps getting dwindled back. So even having revenue sharing, may not be the revenue coming in to be able to handle…”

Schrimpsher interrupted the mayor to say, “Mike makes a great point. Again, putting it in the state’s hands, they don’t have a good track record. My question to the rest of the council, is anyone else up for an advisory vote in November? If so, Kathy, can you research it for the next reading? See how much it’s going to cost…That way, we’ll have a very clear direction on where we need to go.”

Councilmember Abby Gribi made a motion to pass in one reading, at which Kathy Linnemeyer pointed out that before the vote, a public hearing (which was on the agenda) needs to be conducted. Gribi said she was just moving to pass the ordinance in one reading, not moving on the moratorium vote. Nonetheless, her motion would have to wait while the public hearing was conducted.

There was only one speaker in the public hearing. That was Bill Lewis. He asked, “As it stands right now, how much revenue comes to the city?” He was told that none does, since it’s based on those communities who have allowed the businesses, and are generating the revenues. A clarification was given that any council action only pertains to marijuana businesses within the town limits, not those in the surrounding area. When Lewis asked if any marijuana business applicants have projected what they thought their revenues would be, he was told that there have been no applicants.

Of course there wouldn’t be any, since the town has a moratorium in place, and until that changes, no qualified applicants would try to establish here, nor would the state award a license for a business here. As explained above, applicants for a recreational marijuana business license apply to the WSLCB, and are not awarded a license unless the location qualifies based on local laws

Gribi reasserted her motion to pass the ordinance in one reading. It was seconded by Schrimpsher, and passed 4-1, with Walter voting against. The ordinance was then passed, also by 4-1, with Walter against.

Ordinance 2016-10 amends Eatonville’s Title 12 removing trails from the parks and creating new trail use regulations, including allowing equestrian use. The code wording was taken from the city of Wenatchee’s municipal code.

Schaub explained the changes were reviewed for content and additions  by the Parks/Cemetery Committee, and allow equestrian use on the trails, while still prohibiting horses in town parks and other public spaces, except on Mashell Avenue, and only there by permit.

Walter said this ordinance will be a great step toward making Eatonville a destination for multiple types of trail users, who sometimes stage distance events that include overnight arrangements. Gribi asked if parking for vehicles with horse trailers was addressed. Schaub said the Bud Blancher trailhead is about the only spot, though each trail access point has parking opportunities nearby.

The ordinance passed 5-0.

Resolution 2016-K sets new refuse and recycling collection rates, amounting to a direct pass-through of impending rate raises by the provider, LeMay. It passed 5-0.

In council comments, Schrimpsher mentioned the recent Timber Town Tales musical revue highlighting Eatonville history, and reading about it in a cover story in the News Tribune.

Walter pointed to the upcoming 4th of July holiday and commented about illegal fireworks that shock and terrify residents and their pets. He asked for suggestions from council, staff and citizens on how we all might work together better during this upcoming fireworks season, in reporting, citing and preventing these illegal discharges of explosives.

Walter also mentioned attending a recent presentation by Peter Kageyama, “For the Love of Cities,” stressing the importance of encouraging creative, fun, low-budget ideas from citizens to help people engage emotionally with their town.

Thomas said he abstained from the vote on the parks code change, and urged the council to look the ordinance wording over carefully so as to avoid ambiguous language that citizens might quibble about.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:48 pm.

 



April 25, 2016 Council Report
Reviving Airport Commission, Hiring
Public Works Manager and More

      by Dixie A. Walter
       May 1, 2016


     Councilmember Abby Gribi reported the Finance Committee met and talked about the  graduated pet license fees, kennel fees and a 20 percent discount on individual license fees for microchipping the animal. These recommendations will be brought forward.

     Councilmember Bob Thomas reported on the Airport Committee meeting held on April 22. They discussed an upcoming runway maintenance project, and reestablishing the Airport Commission. Airport manager Dan Mulkey, who attended, will put his name forward for appointment as chair of that 3-5 member commission. Length of appointments should be staggered so a new member can be appointed each year in a rotation.

    Airport security and reducing runway incursions, especially by humans, were also discussed. Councilmember Bob Walter added that encouraging economic development at the airport, such as aviation-related industry, was also discussed.

     Mayor Mike Schaub reported the application process for the meter reader position was to close on Wednesday, April 27. The Town will also be hiring a part-time, seasonal parks maintenance person for the summer months, and has posted an ad in the Dispatch. The Town’s request for an extension on the Washington Avenue project was granted, extending it until December 31.

     In new business, Resolution 2016-H confirmed the appointment of Angela Wohl to the planning commission, through June, 2018. It passed unanimously, 5-0.

     Resolution 2016-I approved a one-year subscription to the National Testing Network at $500, for pre-employment testing services for a new police officer. It passed unanimously, 5-0.

     Ordinance 2016-5, on its first reading, authorizes the continuation, for the next six years, of an additional regular property tax levy for emergency medical services originally passed by the voters in 2006. The levy is in an amount not to exceed fifty cents per thousand in assessed valuation.

    This will be put before the voters in an August 2, 2016 levy proposition. Gribi moved to approve the ordinance in one reading, and Councilmember James Schrimpsher seconded. The motion passed unanimously, as did the ordinance.

    Ordinance 2016-7 establishes and returns the position of Public Works Manager back into the town’s code. Mayor Schaub clarified that the actual filling of the position will have to be approved by council in the budget approval process.

    Walter asked him to provide information comparing the salary ranges for the Town Administrator – vacated abruptly a few months ago by Doug Beagle – and this new position, as well as the duties. Schaub explained the top end of the public works director position is about the same as the bottom of the salary range for town administrator.

     Planning, building, parks, cemetery and streets will all fall under public works, while some of the other administrative duties will be handled by the mayor and existing staff. Walter also asked how important it will be in the interview process for the applicant to express a commitment to move to Eatonville.

    Schaub said it hasn’t been a requirement, bu he, and Schrimpsher, Public Safety Committee chair, said it would be a consideration. Gribi again moved to approve the ordinance in one reading, which passed unanimously. The ordinance was then approved unanimously, 5-0.

    The meeting adjourned at 7:26 pm.



February 22 Council Report
Deep Discussion Regarding Animal Control
 Farmed Out of Local Jurisdiction
...

      by Dixie A. Walter
        February 27m, 2016

     Alana Smith, president of the Greater Eatonville Chamber of Commerce and director of the Eatonville Family Agency, spoke during citizen comments.  She thanked the town and council for their support of the family agency, and said it's important for the council to take the lead in supporting the chamber.

     She then turned to the subject of the Visitor Center. Staffing it with volunteers is a challenge. Many chamber members cannot leave their small businesses during the day, so other citizens must be counted on, but enlisting them has been difficult. Sixty to eighty people a day have been known to stop at the center during the summer. She proposed applying some of the tourism tax dollars toward staffing it, and asked the council and administration to be thinking about how it can support better visitor relations.

Vetting New Police Officer and Lowering
 Number of Planning Commissioners...

    Police Chief Brian Witt and council member James Schrimpsher discussed the progress of vetting candidates for the planned hiring of an additional officer. Schrimpsher said the process can take several months, and suggested the background check could be done in-house for expediency.

    Council member Abby Gribi reported the Finance Committee was reviewing the number of planning
commission members, which she said was initially nine people, then dropped to seven, and they are looking at what would need to be amended in the code to create a five-member commission.

Not Enough Applicants to Fill Empty Council Seat

    The committee also reviewed the applications that had been received by the February 10 deadline
for the vacant council position created by Andy Powell's resignation. Gribi said, "One application wasn't filled out in its entirety, and one very basically, so we decided to put that back out," adding that March 11 will be the new deadline.

    Gribi went on to say the recommendation to combine the treasurer's position, now vacant after Lori
Hollis-Smith's resignation, came from the Finance Committee. Walter asked why the council was hearing about the progress in accepting applications for the council position from Finance. Gribi replied this was because when the Legislative Committee was eliminated, its function was combined with the Finance Committee.

Important Animal Control Discussion...

    Walter said that after the Animal Control Committee's code amendments were forwarded to Mayor Schaub in December, he was then informed by the mayor that the Public Safety Committee would need to look at the content, language and intent of those recommendations.

    However, at the next council meeting it was reported they were being set aside while the town explores contracting its animal services out to an outside agency. He said that five years ago when the previous mayor proposed doing this, the idea was soundly criticized by the public, and the neglected animal holding facility was renovated by a volunteer effort, also as a result of that earlier proposal.

    Walter asked why the administration feels the town is in such good shape financially now that it can
afford to contract those services out, take away another part of the town's municipal autonomy, and pay a lot more for the services than has been spent over the past five years.

    Schrimpsher responded that, "It's a natural progression, that we provide better services for our
citizens...We made a decision with Fire, we made a decision with the Police department; it's like a natural progression as part of the goal of public safety, that we turn our attention toward animal control...

    "I don't think it's anything to do with what you have written, as much as it is with maybe this is the next step. We're just in the exploratory phase...It doesn't hurt to window shop a little bit and see
where we're at. Wouldn't you agree?"

    Walter responded, "I would, but part of the window shopping...are we including in that research,
what's the best option - giving some training to our local police officers, or even to one of them, to share with the others, so they could enforce those codes."

    Schrimpsher: "If we contract, we don't have to worry about constantly updating the code...sending
them for training...Also, there's a mechanism for licensing, and some of those concerns you've expressed about licensing [not being enforced] would be taken care of...Metro Animal Services has a non-profit attached to provide areas in those gaps, funding-wise and volunteer-wise, that could probably benefit the citizens of the town of Eatonville."

    Walter: "One of the complaints raised five years ago was the response time, from an agency that's
based in Tacoma or Puyallup, and has maybe a half-dozen officers serving an area as big as Pierce County...but I'm still wondering, though, why did you wait until after the work of the ad-hoc committee to suggest throwing out the recommendations?"

    Mayor Schaub then commented, "I will say, the options that came forward, some were part of the ad-
hoc, some were additions to the ad-hoc. I think from the animal control standpoint, we want to review what the two different outfits - and I think now it's a hybrid. I don't think we go away from having our officers take an animal off the street and put them into the kennel.

    "I still think that's something we would be doing...You're looking at a possible hybrid. You've done a great job of being able to work with the kennel, work with the animals, pick up the animals, bring them to the Humane  Society. But we're looking at one volunteer. If something happened to you, and you weren't able to do it, we may not have the volunteers to come forward to be able to continue operating it the way it is.

   "So we needed to look at, what would it look like if we had a hybrid. I don't think we  would have a full-fledge. I remember the argument back the last time it came forward, and you're right, the biggest argument was being able to get the animal off the street, to protect them, protect the citizens in a timely matter. And I still think that will be happening; it just may be how long we would be holding them for."

    Schrimpsher: "Can I give you an example? Where I work [Algona Police Department], I pay Metro
Animal Services for one day of dedicated patrol a week, and then as needed the rest of the week. That's how I started out in the contract where I work. So that still means that my officers - we have kennels at our public works just like here - that if they get called they take the dog there, and Metro animal control comes and picks them up.

    "But I also pay for dedicated patrol for one shift, two shifts a week. I've actually upped it to three shifts. But there's somebody in the town for those dedicated shifts. So when they sign that contract, they guarantee that they will have somebody there at least x-amount of hours a week, in the town on patrol. So you're not paying for a full-time.

    "Like the mayor said, it's a hybrid. We started out with eight hours. We've upped it based on input and feedback from the citizens. That's the type of model we were hoping to get from both agencies, to see what they could offer...It's the best of both worlds. We're not trying to take away anything you've done. You've done a great job; I've had personal experience with your work. We're just trying to move the ball forward."

    Walter: "I'm not taking it personally; I'm just trying to understand why we're  jumping in this
direction. A couple more things: The number of dogs that have been impounded over the past five years - 73 I think. That's not a lot. That's maybe one a month, roughly. And if we contracted anything like the previous proposal from Pierce County, we wouldn't get any of our $12,000 to $14,000 in license revenues. That would go to the contracting agency.

    "Right now we get- those licensing funds, pay for the contract work that I do, about $3,000 a year, plus what has to be allocated in terms of the police talking to the public about various issues occasionally - not very often. So we're definitely in the black as far as our licensing revenues and our animal control services go.

     "So I still don't see why we're not getting some training And it could be a couple of hours of training, for one officer, or a day at the state animal control conference, and coming back and sharing that information. Or Brian Boman, the chief animal control officer for Pierce County coming out and spending an hour or two, giving a seminar to our staff. I think there's definitely more things we can do, to see how we can keep this part of our own internal care and control for the animals in our town, and not contracting it out."

     Council member Bob Thomas: "I would like to hear what animal control services are actually
available in town, because I'm not aware of any."

     Mayor Schaub: "When an animal's called in, that's going to be the piece that they're being picked
up. And we have them picked up by the police department. If they're not available, we've had public works people that have picked them up and brought them to the kennel. Councilman Walter has been contacted before to be able to pick them up. If the police happened to see someone walking a dog without a leash, they would stop and contact them.

    "Anything that would be a code violation per an animal when they're out, that would be- a dog's out, a dangerous dog, I mean all those things would be addressed if it was called in with our officers, to be able to go talk to that citizen. We've had some different cases. When you start looking at a contract, again, we have one person; that one person has pretty much everything to do with bringing the animals down to the Humane Society.

    "Really what we have to look at, is going to be- what will- I mean it doesn't look good to have a police officer take x-amount of time of their day to run a dog down to the Humane Society and back. I don't think that's a good use of staff time. Again, we have one volunteer. I mean the volunteer- it's like everything that's volunteered through town. We don't have- that may work with it; if you weren't able to do it, it may not work.

    "So again, we need to look at what will be the options. No matter what, whatever comes forward will
have to come forward to council for their recommendation. And if there is other alternatives, that all will be looked at. It's revisiting something that was hit on, like you said, multiple years ago, that very well could be a change, and it may be feasible now.

    "I see it being a hybrid, as the only way that it would work. Of still being able to take an animal off the street, we hold them for a maximum of three days, with a contract. It may not be three days. It may be 24 hours. Unless we contacted the owner and we've been able to reunite them with their animal.

    "It's just, again, looking at what we do, how we do it, and can it be improved on, within what we're- because I'm not looking at taking away the animal licensing piece, it's exploring options. You would not give up your license fees, and pay for the service. That's not even a realistic model for us. Again, it's exploring options and being able to discuss and possibly bring forward. It may not pan out. We'll have to address it. If you decide that you step away from the volunteer work that you do with the kennel and the animals today-"

    Walter: "It's not really volunteer, it's by contract."

    Schaub: "Well no, it's a contract, with doing that. Sometimes it probably feels like a step above a
volunteer, but not much."

    Walter: "One other thing, in response to council member Thomas's question, cats have not been
handled by our police department at least since 2010 or thereabouts. If someone picks up a domestic cat, it probably belongs to somebody here in town. And they call town hall or the police, and they're instructed to transport it to the Humane Society, and then the Humane Society bills us $125 for [receiving] that cat.

    The owner may or may not be able to retrieve it from the Humane Society or even know that it's there. Whereas, if we were handling those cats, and transporting them to our holding facility where we have cat cages, just like we have dog kennels, we probably would be able to get that cat back to its home and save $125 per cat. There have probably been 10 or 15 cases of cats being picked up in the past few years, so there's money there to be saved, too, avoiding paying the receiving fee."

    Schaub: "Now, have you brought forward the idea of holding the cats, because I've never heard of
one."

   Walter: "Yes, that was discussed in 2010, quite a bit."

   Schaub: "So, before my time."

   Walter: "Chief Lewis at that time was saying, 'We won't be transporting cats.'"

    Schaub: "It's worth bringing forward. It's something that could be looked at, if it's feasible."

    Walter: "And of course one of the code recommendations was to increase the return rate for cats
picked up, by allowing a waiver of the license fee if they were microchipped and spayed or neutered."

    Thomas: "In talking about animal control, really all we're talking about is dogs, because as Bob said,
there's no service on cats, and there's no service on raccoons and opossums. That's my two cents. Getting a full time animal control officer would service the public there."

    Schaub: "I would say that's probably never feasible, to get to full time."

    Thomas: "Well, once a week, but it's self-service right now on that stuff."

    Schaub: "Well, as I say, I haven't seen too many scared cats that are easy to handle...(unintelligible).

    Chief Witt: "My concern is, I've been bit twice on the job, and if one of our three officers is not an
expert in handling an aggressive dog or a dangerous dog, and gets bit and put out of commission, that would be my biggest concern. Out of these 73 dogs that were impounded, were any of them dangerous or aggressive dogs?"

   Walter: "Yes, a few of them were frightened and thus could be fear-biters, or result in a bite if
approached improperly."

   Witt: "Both times I was bit were fear-biters. I think the dogs knew I was afraid they would bite. So
that's my concern."

   Walter: "And that's the type of training that I think we should look into for our officers."

   Council member Abby Gribi: "There's also a training that if you aren't using it often, it's...So how
often are- and if Shawna gets the training, and relays it to Kevin, but Kevin's never received the training and Kevin's the one that gets hurt and there's concerns there as well."

   Walter: "Well, if you're not having to apply that training very often, there's probably not much of a
chance the officer's going to get bit very often either."

New Business...   

    In new business, Cindy Dargan, librarian at the Eatonville Branch Library, announced the ninth annual launch of Pierce County Reads, saying for the first time the annual program is featuring an author rather than a specific book.

    When introducing Dargan, Mayor Schaub said he won't read the entire library flyer announcing the annual program, and will let Dargan explain it, saying he didn't want to bore people because he didn't have a real dramatic voice, to which Dargan replied that it's a deep voice. Schaub replied, "I know, it is deep and that's what puts people to sleep."

    This year's featured award-winning author, poet and filmmaker is Sherman Alexie, currently of Seattle. Alexie is a Spokane Indian with a humorous, sometimes heartbreaking look at reservation life. His movie, Smoke Signals, based on his book, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, will be shown at the library on March 18 at 1 .pm., and all are invited. He will speak about his life and his writing, and conduct a book-signing, on Friday, April 29 at the McGavick Conference Center at the Clover Park Technical College.

Grant for Changing Streetlights to LED...

   Resolution 2016-F approves the acceptance of a grant of $153,959 from the state's Transportation Improvement Board to replace the rest of the town's streetlights - mostly those on Washington Avenue - from high-pressure sodium to LED, providing a 60 percent savings per fixture. Schaub thanked the town staff for reworking the grant proposal last year after it was initially sent back to the town for being too high. It was passed unanimously, 4-0.

Combining Town Clerk and Treasurer Duties...

   Ordinance 2016-4, on its first reading, would combine the offices of the town clerk and the town treasurer. Mayor Schaub explained that town treasurer Lori Hollis-Smith's recent resignation has brought back to light, the question of whether an elected, paid treasurer position is necessary.

   When this was debated several years ago, concern was expressed by at least one  council member that there needs to be an extra set of eyes to monitor the accounts. Hollis-Smith has done this, along with providing cash reports for each council meeting, but has questioned the need for this before the Finance Committee, since the town clerk has the same basic duties.

   Also, he said he doesn't believe she's received any requests from council in her two  years  as
treasurer about account status or entries. So the committee has debated the issue of whether to advertise the position opening or to once again look at combining the two positions. The committee decided to bring forth this ordinance for a vote on combining the two.

   Finance Committee chair Gribi said the treasurer's duty of receiving money and placing receipts "is
gone," since, as the clerk confirmed, the treasurer does not handle any money. The same is true for the duty of paying out warrants, because they are no longer used. She added, "It just doesn't seem like a viable position anymore...is redundant in a way it doesn't need to be...and is not a position that we need any longer." On the first reading, the vote was 3-1 in favor, with Walter voting "No."

  The meeting was adjourned at 7:53 pm.
 



February 8, 2016 Council Report

       by Dixie A. Walter
       February 16, 2016

     Chief Witt – reviewing warrant process…saving on jail costs, Nisqually vs. PC jail…Jeep seen being driven on the trail…new sign prohibiting motorized vehicles to be posted at the access just south of Smallwood Park.

     Fire Chief Yount - Secured PILT money again this year, and trying to work out a better system, since District 23 is all-volunteer they do not advanced life support and paramedic service, so District 17/Eatonville is called to transport …Chief Bob Vellias has decided to push his retirement date out to October rather than April, because it will have less of a financial impact on the town.

    Council member Abby Gribi reported on the Public Safety Committee meeting, including upcoming CPR classes, union considerations in relation to upcoming levies, billing a person’s insurance company in the case of non-transport calls, making sure the vaporizer shop displays their permits, on-going negotiations in purchasing another police vehicle, reviewing conflicting references in the animal code about numbers of animals allowed, and discussions of semi trucks and trailers parking on Washington Avenue North.

Contracting Out Animal Control...

    Council member Bob Walter commented on the January 25th Public Safety Committee report given by Gribi, regarding her comment about again looking into giving animal control to an outside agency by contract. He offered some background, saying the town had an animal control officer/parks maintenance position for several years from about 2006 to 2010.

    When Mayor Ray Harper eliminated the position, and began to explore a contract with Pierce County Animal Control, there was a very vocal public response against this. He said two of the reasons given for considering this move were the condition of both the animal control van and the animal holding facility. The group Animal Care Eatonville was formed as a result and made the necessary repairs to the facility as its first project. Walter said he then proposed contracting with the town himself to care for stray animals, and said this arrangement has worked out very well.

    Walter continued, saying, “I think we’re in for another huge backlash from the public if we suggest now that we’re going into contracting for animal control services outside of town, without really doing a thorough review internally of what our options are. I haven’t seen anything about training for our officers. I don’t know if this idea to again look into contracting it out, is something coming from the department, or from administration or from the [Public Safety] committee, but I think we need to really look at it closely, and it’s just something I want to see happen before it goes any further.”

New Police Vehicle...

    In unfinished business, Ordinance 2016-3 on its second reading, authorized the acquisition of a police vehicle. Mayor Mike Schaub explained this is the required process in order to utilize the state treasurer’s office capital financing program, to purchase a new police vehicle for the fleet.

    Schaub said, “This will have everything in place for the treasurer’s  office to be  able to go out to market in March looking for the financing….We’ve gone through the credit process, been approved, and just need council approval.” Before the vote, Police Chief Brian Witt offered that he has three possible options to outfit the vehicle, which he is currently evaluating, saying he should have all the necessary info on what it will cost within a week. The ordinance passed unanimously (3-0).

New Business...

    In new business, Ordinance 2016-2, on its first reading, would amend the parking code, Section 10.16.015

    Council member Bob Thomas commented, saying he had questions from both a procedural standpoint as well as its impact on the community. Thomas said he feels the planning commission was not the appropriate body to consider the parking code because, “This is a policy decision; it’s not a land use decision.” He went on to say since this pertains to the heart of the business district, he would like to see Chamber of Commerce representatives here at the meeting saying they were happy with it.

    He said the information provided was anecdotal, and there was no data saying this would improve business. He then moved to table the ordinance, “indefinitely, until it was brought out in a more well-thought out and supported manner.” The motion was seconded by Walter and passed, 2-1, with Gribi voting “No.”

Appointing Civil Service Members...

     The next item, Resolution 2016-E, confirms the mayor’s appointment of civil service members. The commission is needed for the selection and hiring later this year of a new police officer. Mayor Schaub said the civil service commission has not been active since about 2010.

     Two people, Jennie Smith and Theresa Schrimpsher, have submitted their names. Smith is the owner of the Cruiser Café, and Schrimpsher is the wife of council member James Schrimpsher. One of the previous commission members, Brenden Maye, would still be current until June 1 of this year.

     However, the documentation of the previous council approval of Maye could not be found, so  his name is included in this resolution to formally approve the completion of his term. It’s a six year term, with the three members staggered so that Maye’s term ends June 1, another in two more years, and the third in four more years. The appointments were approved unanimously.

2015 Comprehensive Plan Update...

     The last item on the agenda was the call for a motion to approve the 2015 Comprehensive Plan update’s public participation timeline. A motion was made and seconded, and passed unanimously. Mayor Schaub said to expect more work on the update at the upcoming Planning Commission meetings. The schedule calls for public hearings and input before the commission in March, with advance notification from the town about the hearings through its website, online, postings, print media and email to all interested stakeholders

     In council member comments, Gribi announced the annual Dollars For Scholars Casino Night fundraiser will be held this year on March 12 at the Lions’ hall. Walter thanked the clerk staff for the utility billing insert reminding pet owners about 2016 licenses being due, saying it was much more noticeable and provided more information than the earlier mention on the utility bill itself. Thomas announced the American Legion’s annual lasagna dinner to be held at the Lions’ hall on Tuesday, February 9.

     The meeting was adjourned on 7:36 pm.

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