Audience Communication was star-studded at this meeting, we heard from Chuck Wright, columnist for the Mill Creek Beacon, and Rep. John Lovick, speaker pro tem and representative of the 44th district in the Washington House of Representatives. Mr. Wright spoke in favor of this year’s Memorial Day Parade, saying he found it very respectful. He mentioned that there are some arguments in favor of changing to a Memorial Day service, and a parade on Armed Forces Day, but that he has been assured we will not do so. Rep. Lovick expressed admiration and gratitude for the Council’s ongoing work, and specifically praised the management of construction on 35th.
Moving on to New Business, both items related to the extensive repairs that must be done on Mill Creek’s surface water infrastructure. This project has actually been discussed in prior meetings (3/12/2019, 4/23/2019, 5/14/2019), but the specific votes to be taken qualified as “new business.”
First, Public Works Director Gina Hortillosa and Finance Director Peggy Lauerman gave an update on the project costs of pipe repairs. Where the previous conversations have been about planning and estimations, this discussion was a foray into execution and actual costs. The biggest change from the original budget comes from the surprisingly high bid for work that was approved at the May 15 meeting. A cash flow analysis projecting out to 2026 shows that, without intervention, our capital improvement reserves will drop below a safe amount. Options to increase revenue or redistribute funds will be evaluated as the project unfolds.
The council voted unanimously to approve contracts with two service providers to make repairs to large pipes with F grade issues. Working with J. Wiese Consulting, LLC, though only available part-time, is particularly useful, as they will be working with city staff to increase the in-house knowledge base. They also have particular expertise for working in residential areas. The staff summary and full contracts are available here.
Next, the conversation turned to the proposed Bond Ordinance to fund the repairs. Having sought bids from various financial institutions, including local banks, a clear winner came in with an offer of 2.44% interest, almost half a percent less interest than the next best bidder. This potential borrowing bargain instigated a conversation about adding 500k to the 2.8 million we had already determined will be necessary. The ordinance to move forward was passed with an amendment to make the change possible, without commitment. Deadlines will require further action at the June 25th meeting.