City Round-up: Councilors reject idea of more borrowed debt

Sequim Gazette staff

With a lengthy agenda on June 10, the Sequim City Council approved several key items of business regarding the proposed police station/city hall project. All council members were present, except Councilman Eric Erichsen, who had an excused absence, and all votes were unanimous.


• On the estimated $15 million police station/city hall project, staff originally recommended financing the utility costs portion through utility revenue bonds to be repaid over 20 years.


However, the council objected to additional borrowed debt. Instead, it was proposed and approved that $1.25 million in cash from both the sewer fund and the water fund be used to finance the utility costs of the project.


Elray Konkel, administrative services director, assured council member Genaveve Starr that enough will remain in both funds for emergencies. The water fund currently has $4.7 million and the sewer fund has $5.2 million.


• Also on the police station/city hall project, the council approved authorizing City Manager Steve Burkett to refine and publish requests for design firm qualifications; appointing Court Olson, the project’s consultant, as the city’s communications representative on the project; appointing Burkett, Mayor Ken Hays, Councilman Laura Dubois, Police Chief Bill Dickinson and Paul Haines, public works director, to the firm Selection Advisory Committee; authorizing $125,000 each to suitable design applicants for their spec plans; and authorizing Burkett to approve qualification and scoring criteria.

As set up, the advisory committee will not be subject to open meetings laws.


• D.A. Davidson & Co., Port Angeles, was selected to be the bond underwriter for the police station/city hall project.


• At the urging of Fire Marshal Ann Hall and Fire Chief Steve Vogel, Sequim’s building code was amended to require standpipes in all new buildings three floors or higher.

Vogel said, “A huge safety issue got approved and this is a very progressive thing to do.” A standpipe is a type of water piping that firefighters can connect their hoses to in buildings with multiple floors and long halls. In structures without sprinkler systems, they’ll now be required every 150 feet; with sprinkler systems, every 200 feet, giving firefighters shorter distances to run their hoses — and saving time and thus lives and property, according to Vogel.


• In other fire prevention-related business, the council defined sky lanterns and banned their use within the city. Vogel deemed them “uncontrolled fire floating around” and the council agreed.


• The city updated its sewer system master plan from 2003 and its water system master plan from 2008, both with 20-year strategies. The council authorized submitting the former to the state Department of Ecology and the latter to the state Department of Health for final approval.


The next city council meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, June 24, in the Transit Center.


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