On Monday, January 8 (the second Monday of the month, due to the New Year’s Day holiday), the Area Council held its regular monthly meeting. Special Guest Speakers were our new Sheriff’s Precinct 3 Commander, Major Daniel Pingrey, and Tahoma School District Superintendent, Rob Morrow. Also, new candidates for membership on the GMVUAC were interviewed and elected; and Area Council Officers for 2018 were elected.
Area Council Officer Elections
At its first monthly meeting of the year the Area Council conducts internal elections for its Officers. The positions and duties are: Chair: Maintain Council operations and interfaces and preside at all meetings; Vice-Chair: Serve in the absence of the Chair and Chair the Public Relations Committee which manages Area Council member elections; Recording Secretary: Prepare and distribute Council meeting minutes; Corresponding Secretary: Prepare and transmit all Council correspondence, author articles on activities, and control web site content; and Treasurer: Receive and be accountable for all Council funds, maintain accounts, and pay all obligations.
For 2018 the Area Council elected Steve Hiester as Chair; Rhys Sterling as Vice-Chair; Adam Sterling as Recording Secretary; Peter Rimbos as Corresponding Secretary; and Sue Neuner as Treasurer. All officers immediately assumed their duties for the new year.
Sheriff’s Precinct 3
New Precinct 3 Commander, Major Daniel Pingrey, has been with the Sheriff’s Office for 30 years. He recently was Chief of Patrol Operations.
The Precinct has only eight officers per shift. They cover a geographical area of approximately 700 sq. miles, I-90 is the northern boundary, and the cities of Renton, Kent, and Auburn border the western side. The eastern boundary extends into the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and the southern boundary ends at the Pierce County line.
The cities of Covington, Maple Valley and Newcastle, the Town of Beaux Arts Village, and the Muckleshoot Tribal Police hold contracts for police services with the King County Sheriff’s Office. Precinct 3 provides school resource officers to the Auburn, Issaquah, Renton, and Tahoma school districts and the Muckleshoot Tribal School.
The Area Council welcomes the new Commander.
Tahoma School District
District Superintendent, Rob Morrow, discussed the upcoming February 13 Levy vote. There will be three measures. A Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy for four years, beginning in 2019. It would cost property owners an estimated $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This is half the rate of the current levy that ends in 2018. A Replacement Technology Levy for four years beginning in 2019. It would cost property owners an estimated 39 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value the first year, and less each year thereafter. The current technology levy has a rate of 46 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value and expires in 2018. Finally, a new Bus Levy to purchase buses needed to enlarge and modernize the fleet—for two years, at a rate of 14 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation the first year and 13 cents per $1,000 the second year.
Superintendent Morrow also discussed ramifications of the McCleary State Supreme Court case and subsequent (and possible) State Legislature actions. In general, Superintendent Morrow believes the District will see a modest gain when the State institutes a new property tax to replace some levies currently run by school districts. However, one concern is that it could be tougher to retain teachers as the pay gap may widen with nearby districts.
Franchise Compensation Rule
Last November, the King County Council passed an Ordinance requiring utility providers (electric, gas, water, and sewer utilities) to compensate the County in return for using County road rights-of-way (ROWs) to provide utility service in unincorporated King County. The Ordinance assigns the responsibility for creating a process for the determination of franchise compensation to the Facilities Management Division (FMD), which completed a draft process in October 2017. FMD notified utility providers using King County road ROWs in unincorporated King County of the proposed rule and is receiving their comments.
A general estimate is being developed that is intended to be a starting point for discussions/negotiation between the County and utility provider. KC Code 6.27.080.D guarantees utility providers a “reasonable opportunity to suggest amendments to the estimate in order to reach agreement with King County as to the amount and type of franchise compensation.” The actual amount and type of franchise compensation is subject to negotiation and agreement between King County and the utility.
The proposed rule authorizes FMD to apply a financial-impact-protection cap to the estimate before it is provided to the utility provider. If the estimate shows a financial impact of more than a designated cap amount per month to residential utility customers in unincorporated areas, a formula will be applied to cap the estimate the County provides to each affected utility. However, the financial-impact protection for residential customers was meant to operate as a cap on the estimate the County will provide to each affected utility, and does not operate as a requirement about what amount the utility provider charges its customers.
The designated cap amount is currently set at $5 per month, and would apply to each affected utility. If the estimate shows a financial impact less than $5 per month per residential customer in unincorporated King County, the estimate will be provided to the utility without further adjustment.
The Area Council will continue to follow the implementation of this rule.
Through the Area Council’s Citizens’ Survey five members of the community applied for membership: LarKen Buchanan, Luke Hansen, Ellie Hooman, Celia Parker, and Paul Schultz. Each gave a brief personal history and described why they are interested in serving the community by becoming members of the Area Council. After private deliberations the Area Council accepted all as new members to be sworn in and take their seats at the February 5 monthly meeting.
Also, Marcia Knadle expressed an interest in serving on the Area Council’s Environment Committee, due to her years of Environmental Protection Agency experience in site cleanup and impacts. The Area Council accepted her offer and welcomes her expertise to help serve our local community.
The Area Council thanks all those who have stepped up to serve.
Biennial Citizens’ Survey
In November and December of 2017, the Area Council conducted its Biennial Rural Area Citizens’ Survey online at www.gmvuac.org. It addressed many issues that affect members of the Public, including planning, zoning, development, traffic, economics, water, and sewage.
In the coming weeks a summary of the results from the 282 respondents to our Survey will be published in this newspaper and on our website (under Citizen Surveys). Thank you to all who participated!
GMVUAC Monthly Meeting—Monday, February 12, (we normally meet the first Monday of the month, but due to a scheduling conflict at the Fire Station, we will be meeting the second Monday for this month only) from 7 – 9:30 PM, at the Fire Station located at the SE corner of SE 231st St & SR-169 intersection across from the Police Precinct. All members of the Public are welcome to attend. Each meeting begins with an open Public Comment period.
Your Area Council serves as an all-volunteer, locally elected advisory body to King County on behalf of all rural unincorporated area residents living in the Tahoma School District. For more information, please visit: www.gmvuac.org