After a minor disagreement over a proposed new administrative receptionist position for next year, the Gig Harbor City Council Monday night unanimously passed a budget for 2013.
The total city budget for next year is nearly $57.45 million, a $1.82 million increase from the 2012 budget. The increase is largely due to increases in capital outlays ($4.9 million) and personnel costs ($1.1 million); and corresponding decreases in professional services ($1.6 million) and interfund transfers ($1.2 million).
The 2013 budget includes the proposed hiring of an administrative receptionist.
City Administrator Denny Richards said the position was necessary.
“I think a face-to-face person out there (Gig Harbor Civic Center) is very important,” he said, noting the person hired for the job would perform 21 other duties besides answering the phone. “That’s my pitch. I think this is a critical position we need to fill.”
He cited the time taken away from personnel in other departments providing basic customer service and the poor signage in the Civic Center as reasons a full-time administrative receptionist is needed.
“The signage just isn’t clear,” he said.
Mayor Chuck Hunter chimed in in support of Richards, saying the city administrator’s experience indicates he knows what he’s doing and calling for the city council to defer to him.
Some members of the council weren’t so sure.
Council member Derek Young said he wanted more detailed information on the position, stating he had a hard time with the pay scale for the position, especially during a down economy when public employee salaries are scrutinized by the public.
According to a document labeled Attachment A with positions and pay ranges for 2013, the administrative assistant would earn between $3,491 and $4,363 per month.
Young said he was not inclined to support the position at its current pay level.
“I’ll go ahead and support this reluctantly,” said council member Tim Payne.
Council member Steve Eckberg said he doesn’t normally like adding new positions to the city budget because its practically impossible to get rid of them, but conceded he thinks hiring a full-time administrative receptionist would be to the city’s advantage.
In other business, the council:
* held a public hearing on and unanimously adopted an amendment to a development agreement with Harbor Hill LLC. In 2010, the council approved a development agreement between Gig Harbor and Harbor Hill which allowed deviations in the development standards for property owned by Harbor Hill in the Gig Harbor North area and allowed 20 years of vesting for the preliminary plat within the area.
In September, Harbor Hill applied for an amendment to the development agreement in order to: enlarge parcel M2, just south of Borgen Boulevard, east of the wetland trail system; allow retirement uses in the enlarged portion of the M2 parcel; update the phasing plan; allow modification of the approved preliminary plat and the planned residential development without submitting a new plat and PRD applications; and allowing development of the M2 parcel to receive site plan and design review approval prior to the final plat of the M2 parcel.
* held a public hearing on and unanimously approved adopting the 2013-2018 Six-Year Improvement Plan that is required to be submitted annually to the state Secretary of Transportation.
The criteria for receiving state and federal transportation project funding requires an approved TIP.
Charles Nicodemus, vice president of the Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club, addressed the council, telling them that a map of the plan showing a trail running right through the club’s land was unacceptable to him and his members.
His fears were assuaged somewhat when council member Payne indicated the city was not committed to the trail as depicted on the map, even though it was shown as such.
Richards said there are plans to go around the Gig Harbor Sportsman’s Club that had already been discussed with club leadership.
“We’d be glad to try to work with you,” Nicodemus said.
* unanimously approved the “Cushman Trail Cottages” annexing 5 acres located west of Canterwood Blvd. NW and 400 feet south of 122nd Street NW, and within the city’s Urban Growth Area, subject to acceptance of the proposed boundary, requirement of the simultaneous adoption of a proposed zoning code with the property being zoned R-1 (suburban, rural density setting) upon annexation and a requirement of the assumption of proportionate indebtedness of the city.
* held a first reading of ordinance amending the Gig Harbor Municipal Code to address use of the new Maritime Pier.
Currently, Chapter 8.28 Public Docks identifies Jerisich Dock only. With the completion of the new Maritime Pier, an amendment is necessary. Chapter 8.28 Public Docks will require a title change and apply to Jerisich Park only. A proposed ordinance adopting a new Chapter 2.29 will apply to the new Maritime Pier only.
The ordinance will be brought back for approval at a second reading at the next city council meeting.
* unanimously approved an ordinance amending the 2012 budget.
The Hotel/Motel fund will increase by $8,795 from $366,205 to $375,000. This is due to increase activities such as online and outdoor advertising, a cable media buy and technical upgrades. The funding source for the additional budget is provided by a higher than budgeted/anticipated beginning fund balance for 2012.
The Park Development fund will increase by $1.68 million, from $3,037,881 to $4,717,881.
This is due to the purchase of the Rainier Yacht parcels located on Harborview Drive. Funds were provided through a transfer from the Civic Center Debt Reserve fund.
Reporter Brett Davis can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @gateway_brett.