November 18, 2011
U.P. residents will pay a bit more for garbage service under a proposal being considered by the University Place City Council.
UP Refuse is requesting approval of a 2.24% CPI increase as well as a pass through “tipping fee” as allowed under the current franchise agreement.
Since the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton CPI increased by 3.2% from June 2010 to June 2011, the company is allowed to collect 70% of the increase (2.24%) to the base rates under the agreement. This is the first CPI increase proposed under the franchise agreement since 2009 as there was no increase in the CPI in either of the previous two years. The company is also requesting a “pass through” tipping fee increase imposed by Pierce County to take effect next March which increases disposal fees from $123.29 per ton to $130.35.
For the average customer with a 64 gallon toter with recycling every other week, the changes would increase bills by approximately $1 per month from $22.19 to $23.19. Rates for commercial customers, however, will be slightly higher based upon the bin size to reflect the pass through disposal fee which is based on weight. A public hearing on these proposals is scheduled for December 5. For more information, please contact Steve Buter
Traffic Impact Fees (TIF) - New and expanding businesses will experience major reductions in traffic impact fees, thanks to innovative recommendations from the City’s ad hoc Traffic Impact Fee Committee. This week, the City Council unanimously adopted several changes to encourage economic development and reduce financial burdens faced by certain businesses. Highlights include:
*Reducing peak hour trip calculations for certain retail and restaurant uses to encourage additional retail/restaurant selections within our community;
*Extending the vacancy rate credit to ten years to allow businesses to receive credit for traffic associated with previous non-residential uses;
*Sales Tax Credit for most retail and restaurants to reflect the “recapturing” of sales tax dollars that our residents now spend elsewhere;
- Creating options to defer payments over a five year time period; all revisions will go into effect this month. For more information, contact City Engineer Jack Ecklund
Property Tax Levy – Property taxes are ALWAYS a hot topic. However, the reality is that our City is dependent upon this source of revenue to help provide services to our citizens. If you examine your property tax bill, you will see that the City only receives a small portion of the property taxes that are paid. In fact, the City only receives 8 cents out of every $1 paid, or approximately $350 a year from the average U.P. homeowner. Most of your property taxes go to Pierce County, the state, the Port of Tacoma and the school, fire and library districts.
Each year, cities have the authority to increase the amount collected in property taxes by 1%. For our City, this would result in an additional $33,188. For the average U.P. homeowner, this 1% increase will add approximately $3.50 to their annual property tax bill. Many of the larger increases in property tax bills are due to voter approved measures to help pay for schools and other items.
Last year, the City Council dedicated all property tax revenue to public safety. During this year’s budget discussions, Councilmembers stressed the importance of providing adequate funding to maintain police protection for our community. (Many other City revenues are restricted and cannot be used for other purposes). Other Councilmembers also added that the City has never received additional funding from voters to supplement the revenues we rely on to provide City services, including police. As a result, the Council unanimously approved the 1% measure which will go into effect on 2012 property tax bills.
*Town Center Planned Action Ordinance – Several years ago, the City adopted a “Planned Action” ordinance for the Town Center Area which essentially identified the maximum impacts that could occur from potential projects utilizing the maximum height and density limits along with projected traffic growth. The ordinance also identified required environmental mitigation measures for future development projects. This action was taken to encourage economic development by providing certainty about permit requirements along with decreasing administrative hurdles. This week’s Council action merely reaffirmed the continued validity of the findings along with extending it to December 2013.
This week’s study session items included:
*Countywide Policy Amendments including a long awaited Regional Growth Center designation for University Place along with manufacturing/industrial center designations for identified areas within the cities of Tacoma, Sumner and Pacific.
The proposed 465 acre area within University Place includes existing commercial and multi-family zones along Mildred between 19th and 27th Streets, along 27th between Mildred and Grandview, and along Bridgeport Way between Olympus Drive W and the 5200 block. Existing City policies and regulations which encourage greater infill of housing and jobs within the designated areas already meet regional center criteria. Our location on a major transit route along with the federally funded parking facility also addresses “regional center” criteria to reduce congestion. If regional center designation is obtained, our City will also receive greater priority for future grants.
*Town Center Flag Pole – After discussing several options, Council directed staff to bring back information and cost estimates for future options to place a flagpole either directly in front of the Civic Building or near Market Square along Bridgeport Way.
*The final Fall Arts & Concerts Series
featuring Guitarist Andrew Sherbrooke and Gourd Artists Stacy Annon and Sally Favors
is scheduled on Friday, November 18 from 7 - 8:30 p.m. in the Civic/Library Building Atrium. Admission is free; however, donations are appreciated. Sponsored by UP for Art – more information is available at www.upforart.org
*Thanksgiving Day Dinner - Join fellow neighbors and residents in a community Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, November 24, from noon to 2 p.m. at University Place Primary (27th and Grandview). Sponsored by UP Refuse, this annual FREE event offers an opportunity to share a great meal with friends and neighbors. Donations are appreciated.
*Holiday Helpers Needed!
Help decorate Homestead Park, Windmill Village and Market Square for the holidays. Able bodied helpers are especially needed on Wednesday, Nov. 30, to help transform Homestead Park into a winter wonderland. Volunteers are also needed for the Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday, December 3.
Please contact the U.P. Volunteer Center at 253.223.0039 for more information or www.upvolunteers.org
*Santa Paws Pet Photos –
On Dasher, On Fluffy, on Fido and Holly…..get a great photo of your pet and Santa at the annual “Santa Paws”
Pet photos on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m
in Windmill Village (3715 Bridgeport Way West). Photos are $10 with proceeds going to the future off leash dog park. You can also pick up a 2012 SUNDogs Calendar (free with SUNDogs membership or $5 each). For more information, visit www.up-dogpark.org
*Annual Christmas Tree Lighting – Saturday, December 3 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Visits with Santa, silent auctions, train rides, musical entertainment, Get Local booths and our inaugural Tree Lighting Ceremony in Market Square are among the events slated for this year’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Visit www.CityofUP.com
for a detailed list of events.
*Duck the Halls and help the Food Bank!
There is still time to register for the 1st
annual “Duck the Halls” Caroling Competition on Friday, December 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Market Square.
Anyone can form a team to participate in this benefit for the UP Food Bank. Entry forms and contest rules are available at www.upforart.org
. Please note that the registration deadline has been extended to Tuesday, November 29.
Teams must prepare at least two holiday songs (maximum time limit eight minutes) and will be judged on musical ability, enthusiasm and creativity. Costumes are optional. Registration is free; however, teams and audience members are asked to bring nonperishable food items for the U.P. Food Bank.
Mayor, City of University Place