Editor’s note: The following is a regular column from City of Sequim Manager Charlie Bush, gleaned from his weekly updates to the Sequim City Council and posted at the city’s website (www.sequimwa.gov/index.aspx?NID=748). The updates include various topics that Bush and the City Manager’s Office personnel are involved with week to week. — MD
Week ending April 7
Highway 101 Improvements in East Sequim
We were recently informed by WSDOT that it is in the preliminary design phase of a fish passable bridge on US 101 at Johnson Creek, very close to the Happy Valley Road intersection discussed previously with us and for which we have a resolution and have engaged in legislative advocacy. WSDOT, with funding from the Peninsula Regional Transportation Planning Organization, also is performing an intersection operational analysis at Happy Valley Road and nearby Palo Alto Road, also within the Sequim city limits.
In this same short stretch of federal highway is the US 101/Simdars Road interchange, which was only half constructed nearly 20 years ago when the bypass around Sequim was built. With so many issues in such a compressed area, we encouraged legislators and WSDOT this week to take a corridor approach to the highway and to consider make all of the needed improvements in one project.
Meeting with NOLS officials
We had a meeting with Margaret Jakubcin, from North Olympic Library System, to get a brief idea of their plans regarding expanding the Sequim Library. They may go to the ballot with a bond in 2018. We have tentatively planned a work session for you to hear more about the need for a library expansion for late May or early June of this year. The City would ultimately need to pass a resolution to support a bond going onto the ballot. That would likely occur early in 2018.
New Assistant to the City Manager
Our new Assistant to the City Manager is Charisse Deschenes, effective May 1. Charisse beat more than 50 applicants from across the nation for the position. She brings an MBA, a background in parks, a background in planning, two years with us as our Senior Planner, 13 years of total local government experience and a desire to further broaden her experience to the position.
In the position, she will support Karen as our back up City Clerk and will take on general duties for the City Manager’s Office, similar to Joe’s previous role.
Week ending April 14
Labor &Industries Moves Office to Sequim
A Tenant Improvement building permit has been issued for 542 W. Washington St. This location is next door to Westside Pizza. Washington State Labor &Industries will be occupying this location. They are relocating from Port Angeles. Labor &Industries will occupy 3,000 square feet. Some exterior modifications to doors and windows will be made as well as interior modifications. The value of the project is $103,680.
Regional Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations
The City is involved in collaboration on an EV charger station grant. Sequim is considering joining other Hwy 101 loop jurisdictions on an application to get stations installed every 30 to 50 miles around the peninsula. We will be approaching the city council with more information about this opportunity at the April 24 and May 8 meetings. If we submit a grant application, it is due May 12. We are actively participating in this effort but we are not serving as the lead agency.
Off Dungeness Channel Reservoir Update
Our Floodplains by Design request is included in the State House budget, which asks for $52 million for the total program. The Senate did not include us on their list. For the reservoir to receive funding this session, budget negotiators will need to provide additional funding. We’ll continue to monitor this situation and to encourage our legislators on this project.
The City of Port Angeles provides public safety dispatch services for our police department via interlocal agreement through a center called PenCom. Regional partners are considering moving PenCom from the City of Port Angeles into a stand-alone agency.
Doing so could be a step toward further regionalization of public safety dispatch services between Clallam and Jefferson County.
We met with Karl Hatton, Regional Emergency Communications director for PenCom and for JeffCom (Jefferson County) to discuss the possibilities of this transition.
Walk to End Alzheimer’s Breakfast
I attended this recent breakfast, hosted by the Fifth Avenue. The most amazing statistic for me was that people over 85 years of age have a 50 percent chance of getting this disease.
I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to network with the Alzheimer’s Association in efforts to better serve our community. We will continue to do this as we get back to full staffing. This year’s Olympic Peninsula Walk will be on Sept. 17 in Port Angeles.
Sequim Dungeness Kiwanis Rechartering Banquet
I attended this banquet recently on behalf of the City on Sunday. Our local Kiwanis Club disbanded a couple of years ago and, due to the efforts of about 15 people, has come back.
We are excited to get to work on serving youth in partnership with Kiwanis.
Charlie Bush is city manager for the City of Sequim. Reach him at 681-3440 or email@example.com.