Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 4/23/2019

Three presentations were on the agenda this meeting, beginning with an update on Community Transit projects, presented by CEO Emmett Health, and June DeVoll, Manager of Regional Programs and Projects. One happy note was that, at the last update, plans were discussed for the Swift Green Line, which opened recently to great celebration. Upcoming, there are extensive plans for capital expansion projects to create a high-capacity integrated transportation network. I’m sure we all join Community Transit in hoping that traffic issues can be greatly improved by multiple approaches to smoother transportation in the region. Detailed information about the organization’s plans through 2030 are available here.

Next, in celebration of National Volunteer Week, members of several groups were recognized. Kristen Rasmussen presented, giving an overview of each organization, and introducing every member in attendance. Groups recognized were: the Art and Beautification Board; the Civil Service Commission; the Communication and Marketing Event Volunteers; the Design Review Board; the Park and Recreation Board; the Planning Commission; the Mill Creek Police Outreach Volunteers, and the Youth Advisory Board. As a contributor to MCPD support, and graduate of the Citizen’s Academy, I was pleased to be included.

Members of the Citizen’s Patrol were sworn in by Chief Greg Elwin, who gave an overview of the Patrol’s activities and history. This group is a special subset of the police volunteers who go through additional training and receive a limited commission that empowers them to respond to citizen’s issues such as vacation checks, lock outs, traffic control, parking issues, and other low-risk needs. Sally Dagna, George DeWitt, and Barbara Heidel were administered the oath, which is based on the one all officers take.

In New Business, members of the Public Works and Development Services presented a contract for services regarding the Mill Creek Blvd Corridor Study. This study was funded in the 2019/20 budget, to evaluate land use and infrastructure possibilities along the boulevard. The firm Otak has been selected, and a Scope of Service, Schedule, and Budget has been negotiated. The contract exceeds $50,000, so it must be approved by City Council before being enacted. An Advisory Committee of up to 15 people is proposed, with members drawn from a wide-variety of community stakeholders.

The contract, which was unanimously approved by Council as recommended by staff, can be seen here.

New members of the Planning Commission were appointed to fill three vacancies to three year terms expiring on April 30th, as well as one mid-term vacancy. The interview committee consisted of Councilmembers Holtclaw, Bond, and Steckler, who reported the results. From nine applicants, Brian Hyatt and Matthew Nolan, returning members, were reappointed to full-terms, as well as April Berg. Nicolas Marin will serve until 2020.

The first Study Session of the evening regarded a Bond Financing Recommendation, part of a plan to address the unexpected expenses for storm water management that occurred over the past year. From the Agenda Summary:

The City has engaged D.A. Davidson to serve as the underwriter for the City of Mill Creek on its proposed offering and issuance of bonds to fund the surface water program identified in the 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Plan. D.A. Davidson is recommending the City issue a Limited Tax General Obligation bond through private placement. Private placement is a competitive solicitation from the banking community. The City is expecting to receive net proceeds of $2.8 million to facilitate the surface water capital improvements. Based on current market conditions, there is a savings with a private placement to a bank over a public bond sale that D.A. Davidson will present to council during the study session.

This presentation did not seek action, but rather input from the Council on continuing to explore possibilities, culminating in a presentation of a bond financing ordinance on May 7, 2019.

A second Study Session, on Financial Management Policies, was presented by Peggy Lauerman, Director of Finance & Administration. Among Mill Creek’s stated goals is maintaining an excellent credit rating, and some financial challenges require strategic steps to meet that goal. The first, recommended by the bond underwriter, is to establish a set of formal financial policies. Proposed policies are 46 pages long, and available here.

The Consent Agenda, a set of items expected to be easily passed as housekeeping formalities, approved four checks, as well as payroll and benefit payments.

Each member of the Council, as well as the City Manager and Staff, have the opportunity to give reports. Mayor Pruitt, Mark Bond, Stephanie Viogel had no reports. John Steckler attended his first City of Commerce meeting, as well as a recent volunteer event at the Mill Creek Sports Arena, and was impressed with both. He also mentioned that the City and Kiwanis Club are co-creating an electronic recycling event at City Hall North the week after the annual city yard sale. Vince Cavaleri, reported that Senate Bill 1356 was signed off on in Olympia earlier in the day, which clarifies when professionals proxy to private or confidential information can be asked to divulge. Brian Holtzclaw and Mike Todd also appreciated the volunteer event mentioned by Steckler, with Mike Todd hoping that the event can be expanded with greater publicity next year.