MLT City Council briefed on 3rd of July event; will hold public hearing on water plan June 4

Messy faces at the 2016 Third of July pie eating contest. (File photo by Natalie Covate)

A public hearing on the city’s Water Comprehensive Plan Ordinance and a Sound Transit update on the Lynnwood Link light rail extension project are among the items before the Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Monday, June 4 business meeting.

The council is also set to approve, as part of its consent agenda, a range of items that were discussed during its May 31 work/study session, including:

-Adoption of 2018-2020 City Council Goals

-Approval to surplus seized and abandoned firearms

-Approval of agreement for on-call construction material testing services

-Approval of a supplement to the KPG contract for the Main Street Project that calls for revising engineering plans at a cost of $38,000. Public Works Director Eric LaFrance explained that the change is a result of Sierra Construction moving faster than expected on its Terrace Station work, and as a result can take over some of the construction work that the city had originally anticipated covering. “It’s going to save us hundreds of thousands of dollars but is going to cost us a little bit,” he said.

– Adoption of a resolution setting a proposed $300 fee to be assessed for providing roadside memorial signs in remembrance of persons killed while traveling on Mountlake Terrace roadways.

Also on Thursday night, the council heard an update on the annual 3rd of July event set for 3-11 p.m. at Ballinger Park. Recreation and Parks Director Jeff Betz said that as in past years, the free event — organized by the Cheeseburger Babies Foundation — will include live music, games and fireworks. There will be a fee for some activities, including food, pony and train rides, and bouncy houses.

One major change from last year: The fireworks show will originate from the Lake Ballinger boat launch rather than from the park’s west side. As a result, Betz said, the fireworks will be “higher and up and over the lake.” The vendor will be able to use bigger size shells “so people will be able to see them from a long ways away, which will be really great,” he added.

The only drawback is that the show will cost the sponsor “a bit more for fireworks than last year,” Betz said. Event organizer Cheeseburger Babies Foundation is the charitable arm of Red Onion Burgers, which is owned by Councilmember Seaun Richards. At Thursday’s meeting, Richards said that the main  event sponsor is Sierra Construction, with support from many others.

Betz noted that Calvary Church will be staging several events southeast of the Mountlake Terrace Senior Center, including a pie eating contest and a three-legged race. The fireworks viewing area will be the same as last year, on the hillside at the park’s east side.

Parking by the Ballinger Park clubhouse will be limited to those needing ADA access, Betz said. As in past years, parking will be available nearby at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center, Nile Country Club and the former Creekside Church, with shuttle service provided from all those locations.

Mayor Jerry Smith asked Betz if there were concerns about fireworks landing on the lake’s island, site of a well-publicized peat bog fire in 2009 that was difficult to extinguish. Betz replied that South Snohomish Fire and Rescue will be patrolling the lake in a boat during the show and will monitor for that possibility.

The council also Thursday night discussed a proposal from the Mountlake Terrace Police Department to sell $10,000 worth of surplussed firearms to Lynnwood Guns. Deputy Chief Pete Caw explained that these are firearms that can’t be returned to the owners for a variety of reasons. State law says the guns can either be surplussed or destroyed.

Caw said that the money obtained from the gun sales will be used to fund police department initiatives, including training and ammunition purchases.

The police will not be selling surplussed assault weapons or a shotgun that has an illegal short barrel, Caw said, adding those weapons will be destroyed. “This is not the time and place to be selling assault weapons, in our view,” Caw said.

Lynnwood Gun has committed to reselling the guns out of the area, he said.

“My vote would be to destroy the guns,” said Councilmember Laura Sonmore, noting that the council recently passed a resolution supporting gun violence awareness. “With all the school shootings, I vote no.”

The majority of the council, however, agreed that the sale should proceed and that it should be placed on the June 4 consent agenda for approval.

Among the remaining items discussed Tuesday night, the council listened to Public Works Director Eric LaFrance review the city’s water system plan, which will be the subject of Monday night’s public hearing. State law requires the plan be updated every 10 years, and the city in 2016 hired Murray, Smith & Associates to conduct the update, with results reported at the council’s Jan. 11 meeting.

LaFrance’s update included a report on feedback from the state Department of Health, which is required to review the plan. Among the items the health department noted: the city needs to do a better job of promoting water conservation efforts to residents of city apartment buildings. This is a challenge, LaFrance said, because those residents don’t usually pay their own utility bill so aren’t aware of water usage.

The health department also noted that the city has “a lot of older water mains reaching their end of life and some of our water mains are undersized for fire flow, but not in the Town Center area,” he said.

In addition, the department in an analysis of city staffing said the city has enough administrative staff but falls short in the number maintenance and operations staff needed to maintain its water system according to “acceptable industry practice,” LaFrance said.

The city’s infrastructure is likely to deteriorate more quickly when regular maintenance isn’t performed, he added.

Assuming the council adopts the water plan following the June 4 public hearing, next steps are to conduct a water rate study and present those findings to the council in November, with possible implementation of new water rates in January 2019.

Finally, the council also discussed — and is scheduled to approve as part of its consent agenda — the following city council goals for 2018-20:

– Protect and enhance the city’s financial health and stability
while maintaining appropriate and essential public services in a
cost effective manner.
– Generate economic development throughout the community.
– Implement the Downtown “Main Street” Revitalization Project.
– Review, prioritize and implement capital infrastructure projects
to include the development of a strategy to address the city’s
aging public facilities.
– Implement the Civic Campus Plan to include financing options for voter consideration.
– Develop and implement effective communication and outreach
with the community.

The June 4 council busineses meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Interim City Hall Council Chambers, 6100 219th St. S.W., Suite 220. You can see the complete agenda here.

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