The Enumclaw City Council passed one somewhat controversial measure Monday night, but took a step back from another.
The council OK’d a measure that will allow the state to help with the processing of business licenses, but delayed a decision on user fees at the new Astroturf field at the Expo Center.
The business license measure discussion actually took up more time at the meeting.
Darrel Dickson, who is a candidate for City Council, asked the board during the public comment session to delay a decision on the business licensing to wait for more people in the business community to see it.
“Not everyone on the council has even read it,” he said. “Before we pass a code, I think we should have all the answers.”
That did not sit well with Council Member Glen Jensen.
“And people wonder why government takes so long,” he said.
The council has been looking at this measure and changing it for a number of weeks.
Council Member Kevin Mahelona said so many changes had been made he would like to see the measure in its final form before voting on it, especially since it won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2012 anyway. Board member Jim Hogan agreed.
Council Member Sean Krebs was against anymore delays. He said the changes are a more cost-effective way of doing things.
Community Development Director Erika Shook had said it would save 90 to 120 hours of staff time a year, and “It doesn’t change the way we do business.” She also said it’s not being done because it’s a huge money-maker, but to put all businesses on “equal footing,” whether they are based inside or outside of the city. “It will save us money
in the long run,” she added.
Council Member Jeff Beckwith said, “Most of our surrounding cities are doing this.”
The measure passed unanimously.
As for the Astroturf field decision, Dickson also spoke during the public comment period that as a member of the parks board they would like to see the council work out a long-term agreement so the school district would pay operating costs and replace the turf when it deteriorates in 10-12 years. To make this a time of celebration, that board also asked that the city not charge the district for use of the new field for the first 30 days.
The council discussed the fee schedule already in place, which was adopted last year. It charges $53 an hour for the field and $19 an hour for lights. Similar fields in the area charge between $35 and $100 an hour.
They also talked about how in the past the school district had not paid because it maintained the field.
Also discussed were possible charges for use of the concession stand, public address system, and getting a percentage of ticket sales, so that any profit would go to maintaining and replacing the field.
Most of the council seemed in agreement to come up with a use agreement now, and a lease agreement later.
“A lease agreement takes us out of the picture,” Beckwith said. “It gets us out of the field-running business.”
City Administrator Mike Thomas and City Attorney Mike Reynolds are meeting with school officials Wednesday to continue discussions.
“We need to tread cautiously,” Hogan said. “We want to follow the letter of the law” concerning grants the community received for the project, to make sure it could be eligible for similar grants in the future.
Shoreline Master Plan
Shook also talked to the council about the city’s Shoreline Master Plan. The state law has been in effect since 1971, but this is the first one for Enumclaw. The goal is to protect waters, give the public access and protect water usage.
She said it has cost $69,000 thus far for work on the plan, but $50,000 of that has come from a state Department of Ecology grant. She said there are only a few streams in the city that it even applies to. The plan has to include potential restoration projects, but the
city is not obligated to pay for them.
She will ask the council to approve the plan Sept. 12. It would then go to DOE for a review that could take up to a year.
Other agenda items
Schools superintendent Mike Nelson and student Conner Wells gave a presentation on Rachel’s Challenge. The program encourages kindness and compassion. People in the community will write down positive things when they see them. The paper used will be color-coded
depending on if it comes from a school, business or church.
The program starts Sept. 1 and will end March, 6, 2012. Organizers hope to collect two miles of positive comments linked together.
The council also learned that the state plans to start charging cities 25 percent of the cost to train police officers at the state academy.
And it also learned the city golf course is getting busier as the sun comes out this summer, providing us with much-needed revenue, Thomas said.