Category Archives: Finances

Puyallup May Lose Library

At the January 24, 2011 Library Board Meeting the Library Board voted 5-0 to explore the possibility of annexing the Puyallup Library into the Pierce County Library System.

This is just the first of many steps if the city ultimately decides to go down this road.  First, the city’s fire department annexed into Central Pierce.  Now, there is a chance that Puyallup could lose its library into Pierce County.

Here is the excerpt from the Library Board’s minutes:

EXPLORATION OF ANNEXATION TO PIERCE COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM 

Ms. Torgeson reported that she and City Manager Ralph Dannenberg met with the Pierce County Library System Director who indicated an interest in exploring the possibility of annexing the Puyallup Public Library operations to the district.  Board discussion included the following concerns:  whether there would be an Information Technology person dedicated to the library; that no staff would lose their jobs; that there would be a restoration of library hours or possibly more hours; and the ownership of the building.  She described the steps that need to occur which include:  approval by both library boards; recommendation to city council to explore the option; options proposed by both boards; a board recommendation to the council to annex; city council decision to place the annexation issue on the ballot or not; and if placed on the ballot, a vote on the issue by city residents.  She noted that there was an option that after three years the city could de-annex.  Ms. Torgeson admitted there would be some gains and some losses and that there are many issues to consider.   Mr. Kehm-Goins added that if there is a lot of opposition to annexation, the board should be prepared to advise the public what is needed from them to maintain the library under the city’s administration. 

Board Action:  A motion was made by Ms. Kastama, second by Ms. Henry, to direct staff to explore the matter of contracting with or annexation of the Puyallup Public Library operations to the Pierce County Library System.  The motion passed 5-0.

Filed under Finances

Audio: City Attorney, Public Works Director Recommend Stopping Negotiations With Property Owners on 9th/94th

Below is the audio from the May 25, 2010 City Council Meeting where five council members voted to approve this agreement.  This is the plan that almost cost the city $3.27 million and ended up costing the city more money than if they would have settled earlier.

Click here to listen to the audio.  There is a short gap of silence in the audio, continue to listening to hear the motion.  The whole segment is 2:30 minutes.

The city attorney clearly states that both herself and the Public Works Director are recommending this action, a costly recommendation to the citizens of Puyallup.

Filed under Audio, Finances

Puyallup Probably Saves Street Project Money

After the state’s Transportation Improvement Board threatened Puyallup with the loss of $3.27 million in project money, the city has backtracked and agreed to a settlement with 5 property owners along 9th/94th street.

In a 6-0 vote, Councilmember Hansen was absent, the City Council approved a settlement of $483,000 to the property owners for their land and damages to their property.

Originally, the neighbors were seeking $390,000 but city staff recommended ending negotiations because they felt that was too much to pay for the land and the project could be completed without the sidewalk.  But, when the state’s transportation board found out Puyallup changed the plan, they threatened to take back the funds if the city didn’t complete the project as submitted.

When the council voted to end the negotiations with the property owners in May, five council members voted in favor of stopping: Turner, Brouillet, Martineau, Malloy, Boyle.  This costed the city $93,000 plus the cost of attorney fees.  $111,000 was paid to the firm Foster Pepper earlier this month for TWO months of work!  One lawyer charged the city $490 an hour and the city ended up spending more money by listening to their advice.  (These fees pertain to a separate case, more details to follow in a later post.)

Land deal likely means Puyallup can keep $3.27 million [Tacoma News Tribune]

Filed under Finances, Making a Better Puyallup

Official Transportation Improvement Board Letter to City regarding 9th/94th Street Project

Here is a copy of the letter sent to city officials in response to the city changing the plans for the 9th/94th street improvement project that is funded with state funds.

It outlines what unauthorized changes the city made and why that will result in the loss of close to one million dollars in funding.

It gives a timeline of the communication between city officials and TIB members, showing exactly how the city got into this situation.

Click here to read the letter.

Filed under Finances

The McLean-Up Continues

The city of Puyallup is about to lose $976,000 in state money for the 9th St. SW project because it did not follow the plan they submitted to the state to get the money.  You can read the article from the News Tribune here.

The changes to this plan were in full-swing when former City Manager Gary McLean resigned in early April.  This left current city manager Ralph Dannenberg with a mess to clean up, or as it’s called in Puyallup ,McLean-up.

When negotiations with property owners failed and lawyers for the city recommended discontinuing the eminent domain proceedings and paying off the property owners for the vegetation removed and “rental” of their land, citizens and some council members warned about the problems this could cause.

You can view the video of this discussion by clicking here and going to the 01:19:50 time of the meeting.  It was asked point blank whether or not the city could lose funding for this change and the council was told it could not.  More questions were asked about how this change will look to the boards and committees who dool out state funds.  More concern surronded around how this change affects the property owners who have suffered through months of work in and around their property.

Dispite the concerns, council members Turner, Brouillet, Martineau, Malloy and Boyle voted to end the process and move forward with the changes to the plan.

Now, that vote could cost the city close to $1 million.

Road money given, taken away [Tacoma News Tribune]

Filed under Finances, Gary McLean