Bulletin Board: News from Tacoma and Beyond

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City Council approves ordinance for residential curbside recycling changes

The Tacoma City Council passed Ordinance No. 28623 on Tuesday, Oct. 29, approving changes to the City of Tacoma’s residential curbside recycling program.    

These changes include maintaining residential curbside commingled recycling service, with minor adjustments to the accepted curbside recycling list. A new recycling surcharge of $2.82 per month for all residential recycling customers, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Additionally, Solid Waste Management plans to replace curbside glass collection with five glass drop-off stations throughout the city. Curbside glass collection will continue until these locations are finalized in early 2020.   

Part of the monthly surcharge ($2.32) will cover the increased processing, marketing, and shipping of recyclables due to global recycling industry changes. This portion of the surcharge is set to be reexamined in December 2022. The remainder of the monthly surcharge ($0.50) will fund increased education and outreach for the City’s residential curbside recycling program. This portion is set to sunset on Dec. 31, 2023. 

“The global recycling industry has changed dramatically since China greatly reduced its recycling imports in 2018,” said Lewis Griffith, Solid Waste Management division manager. “The recycling program changes accepted by City Council were selected after extensive community input as well as evaluating the best strategies to keep our local recycling programs sustainable. As these changes get underway, Solid Waste Management will continue to monitor how they are affecting our customers and our programs.”

These changes will be identified on customers’ bills as “Recycle Reset Surcharge.” Customers who participate in the Tacoma Public Utilities and Environmental Services bill payment assistance programs will be waived from this surcharge.

For more information on these changes, visit TacomaRecycles.org/Changes or contact Solid Waste Management at (253) 502-2100.

$45 million spent on landmark rehabilitation in past two years

The City of Tacoma has reached a historic milestone in its Special Tax Valuation projects for historic rehabs last week when the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved eight applications bringing the total to approximately $45 million in rehabilitation or restoration work in the past 24 months.

The projects approved by the Landmarks Commission for incentives this year include the Elks Temple at 565 Broadway, which sat vacant and derelict for decades and whose fate hung in the balance for years while the City and property owner battled in court, as well as a series of historic renovations of industrial buildings adjacent to the University of Washington Tacoma Campus.

“This program is important to preserving Tacoma’s character, and to see the investments being made to rehabilitate Tacoma’s landmarks as more development and economic growth occurs shows the commitment our community has for historic preservation,” said Reuben McKnight, Historic Preservation Officer. “Seeing these projects come to completion is a win.”

The Special Tax Valuation Program is a tax incentive that allows property owners to subtract qualified expenses for rehabilitation projects of historic landmarks from the property assessment each year for ten years. Property taxes are still paid on the balance.

“We encourage property owners who think they have a qualifying project to apply,” McKnight added. “Buildings in historic districts are often eligible and if your building meets the criteria for the Tacoma Register of Historic Places and hasn’t yet been listed, you can submit a nomination to the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.”

More information about the City’s Historic Preservation Office is available at cityoftacoma.org/historicpreservation.

LWV of Washington provides tools for voters

On Nov. 5, Washington State voters will elect representatives to local governments and make decisions about three ballot measures. Voters will also weigh in on 12 advisory measures.

The League of Women Voters of Washington website at www.lwvwa.org has several tools to help voters make decisions:

·     Ballot Measure Summaries: These simplified summaries, available in English, Vietnamese, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Japanese, provide information on three statewide ballot measures and 12 advisory ballots. The ballot measures include Referendum 88, which asks voters whether to approve Initiative 1000 concerning affirmative action; Initiative 976, regarding motor vehicle taxes and fees; and Senate Joint Resolution 8200, updating text about legislative powers during an emergency.

·     How to Vote! video: This short video describes the process for completing and mailing a ballot in Washington.

·     Your Vote: This online tabloid, published in conjunction with the Spokesman-Review, provides historical and general information about elections and how our government works.

·     Vote411: This online voting information portal allows voters to register to vote, check their registration status, and learn about the choices on their specific ballot. Voters can also review candidate responses to questions from members of their community, and more.

“Voters across the state need simple, accessible tools to help them navigate the voting process before Election Day,” said Lunell Haught, League president. “The League of Women Voters aims to do that with these tools.”

EPA invites Tacoma to apply for $115 million for wastewater projects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting a total of 39 projects in 19 states to apply for Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. Together, the selected borrowers will apply for WIFIA loans totaling approximately $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments and create up to 190,000 jobs.

Major wastewater facilities in Tacoma and Seattle are among the eligible projects.

“Through WIFIA, EPA is playing an integral role in President Trump’s efforts to improve and upgrade our nation’s water infrastructure and ensure all Americans have access to clean and safe water,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This announcement highlights billions of dollars in needed water infrastructure investments to upgrade aging infrastructure, reduce exposure to lead and emerging contaminants and improve the lives of millions of Americans across the country – all while creating almost 200,000 jobs.”

“I know first-hand how important it is to find outside capital when a community needs critical infrastructure investments,” said EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick. “These wastewater projects in Washington are important public health investments, so we’re pleased that Tacoma and Seattle are included in this list of eligible communities.” 

“The City of Tacoma is grateful for the EPA’s invitation to apply for WIFIA funding to deliver critical improvements at Tacoma’s Central Wastewater Treatment Plant,” said Environmental Services Director Mike Slevin. “This facility treats over 7 billion gallons of wastewater annually, and any sustained loss of power could cause environmental damage. This project will improve reliability, increase redundancy, and reduce risks to the environment. We are committed to protecting the Puget Sound and appreciate the EPA’s support.”

EPA’s WIFIA loans will allow communities across the country to implement projects to address national water priorities – including providing for clean and safe drinking water by reducing exposure to lead and emerging contaminants, addressing aging water infrastructure and developing water recycling and reuse projects. EPA received 51 letters of interest from both public and private entities in response to the 2019 WIFIA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). After a robust, statutorily required review process, the WIFIA Selection Committee chose the Tacoma and Seattle wastewater treatment projects to be in the eligible pool of applicants:

  • City of Tacoma Sewer Utility Central Wastewater Treatment Plant Electrical Distribution System Replacement Project: $17 million. The Electrical Distribution System Replacement Project will repair, replace, and rehabilitate the entire electrical distribution system at the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. The purpose of the project is to improve the reliability and redundancy of the facility’s primary electrical power.
  • King County Ship Canal Water Quality Project: $98 million. The Ship Canal Water Quality Project will build an offline storage tunnel to reduce the number and volume of Combined Sewer Overflows that discharge into the Lake Washington Ship Canal from the Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, and north Queen Anne neighborhoods of the city. The purpose of the project is to fulfill the requirements in the consent decrees for both King County and the City of Seattle to control CSO discharges at six designated locations. The project is projected to reduce the volume of CSO discharges by about 90 percent and result in substantial water quality benefits.

To learn more about the 39 projects that are invited to apply, visit www.epa.gov/wifia/wifia-selected-projects.  

Tacoma Community College wins regional award for website

The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) District 7 recently awarded Tacoma Community College gold for best website. 

The awards, called the Medallion Awards, recognizes excellence in design and communication on a regional basis at community and technical colleges. TCC is a member of NCMPR District 7, which represents Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Yukon Territory.

“This award is special because this was reviewed and recognized by our own peers in NCMPR,” said TCC Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Tamyra Howser. “These are people who know our industry and do this kind of work every day. It is an honor to be recognized by our dedicated members.” 

This is the second award TCC has received for its website, which launched in July 2018. In January 2019, the Higher Education Marketing Report recognized TCC’s website with a gold award in the websites’ category of the publication’s Higher Education Digital Marketing Awards.  

Marcus Theatres comes to Tacoma Mall

NGC Constructors Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has been awarded the contract for the construction of the first Marcus Theatres in the Western United States, specifically in Tacoma. 

Construction is slated to begin in November 2019. The new theatre will be located at Tacoma Mall. The project will be led by Denise Molyneaux, project manager at NGC, who has 14 years of expertise in cinema construction.

NGC welcomes the Tacoma project as a foot in the door of the U.S. market. With specialization in cinema and a long-term vision to become the world leader in entertainment construction by building, maintaining and supplying entertainment facilities, the construction company plans to follow the successes of its Canadian sister company, north of the border. NGC’s US offices are headquartered in Dallas.

NGC has been involved in construction across the nation since 2003. For the past decade, NGC has focused on cinema construction for, among others, the largest theatre circuit in Canada from coast to coast.

Marcus Theatres is headquartered in Milwaukee. Its original theatre was purchased in Ripon, WI in 1935 and the chain has continued to expand ever since. Under the leadership of Rolando B. Rodriguez, it operates a total of 1,098 screens at 90 locations in 17 states. 

Together, the teams of NGC Constructors and Marcus Theatres look forward to creating a theatre experience that features innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction as the ‘reel’ benefits. 

Puget Sound Poetry Connection welcomes Bob Toohey

Bob Toohey is a poet, essayist, and blogger (Falling Forward – Into the Hidden Ground of Lifeat www.BobToohey.com) living in Federal Way. He is married with five children and six grandchildren.

A graduate from the University of Alabama with majors in both English and biology, Bob has won the “Write On the Sound” regional writing contest for both poetry and essay, and his poetry has been selected for inclusion in the WA 129 anthology. He has been a featured poet in regional poetry open mic groups. 

Toohey is a regular spiritual retreat facilitator, a national featured speaker for employee workplace safety, and is an avid mountaineer and long-distance runner. He was a finisher in the 2019 running of the Boston Marathon.

Toohey’s reading event will be held on Nov. 8, 7 p.m., at Immanuel Presbyterian, 901 N. J St., Tacoma, in the basement Fellowship Room – enter from the parking lot. An open mic follows the featured reader. All are welcome to sign up.

Petco to open at JBLM

Military pets, rejoice! The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is welcoming Petco to the Exchange family.

The pet specialty retailer is slated to open its first store on a military installation at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the spring.

“Pets help military members feel at home, wherever they are assigned,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “Having the services and convenience of Petco right on installation means healthier pets and happier pet owners.” 

The JBLM Petco will offer grooming services and a variety of pet supplies, food and toys. The company’s ten percent military discount will apply to all purchases, including services, at Exchange locations.  

Offering name brands in-store and online is a priority for the Exchange. Petco is the latest in a series of announcements concerning national-brand introductions at Army posts and Air Force bases around the world.  

“The Exchange is looking forward to expanding our partnership with Petco to serve more military communities,” Reyes said.

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