Gateway: News

Commission recommends salary increase for Gig Harbor City Council, mayor

Salaries for Gig Harbor City Council members and Gig Harbor’s mayor will be raised for the first time since 2013 at the recommendation of the Salary Commission.

The independent commission was formed in 2008 to review and adjust the salaries of the council and mayor in accordance with Washington state law.

The recommendation for the salary increase was presented to Mayor Jill Guernsey and the Council during Monday’s meeting by City Clerk Molly Towslee.

“Every even year the Salary Commission is required to get together to discuss the salary of the council and the mayor,” Towslee said. “They looked at all these facts and the complexity … and have decided to recommend an increase in salary to be implemented in January of 2017.”

The commission recommended the salary for Council members increase to $650 from $600 monthly and an increase in the mayor’s salary to $1,600 from $1,500.

Salary Commissions are established by Washington state law and are not subject to council approval or oversight.

“It’s left up to the commission to make their own decisions and make it a fair and transparent group,” Towslee said.

Swearing in

Gig Harbor’s newest addition to the police department stole the show again during Monday’s meeting.

Violet Spataro was sworn in to her position as honorary Chief for a Day of the Gig Harbor Police Department by Guernsey.

Officers and staff from the police department were in attendance during the meeting as Violet was introduced by Police Chief Kelly Busey.

“Violet is our honorary Chief for a Day and she’s going to be with us for awhile doing lots of fun stuff,” Busey said.

Busey also mentioned that officer Chet Dennis is functioning as the department’s in-house coordinator for Violet’s Chief for a Day activities and that funds are being raised through the Jaycox Benevolent Fund to provide more activities for Violet with the department.

The Chief for a Day program is statewide and allows a police department to adopt a child from the local community who had overcome a significant challenge as a department representative for special events.

Ancich Waterfront Park update

Katrina Knutson, AICP Parks project administrator, presented an update on the final draft of the revised concept for Ancich Waterfront Park released June 3.

New to the design is a slightly smaller building footprint, between 2,700 and 2,800 square feet, and a larger staircase providing a better view of the water and the historic netshed.

Additionally, changes to the design to allow a reinforced vegetation slope, instead of a bulkhead, improved water views and decreased the overall budget by $100,000.

Knutson mentioned feedback from several public meetings held May 13 and May 16, along with a June 7 listening session with 32 Millville residents and 19 non-Millville residents.

Primary concerns for the design continue to remain centered around parking, traffic, building size and height and views through the railing on the street level viewing platform on top of the structure.

A lack of green space and vegetation in the park has prompted staff to include more plants and landscaping in the viewing plaza.

Knutson further clarified the height of the building, which would reach 12 feet from the ground to the street level inside the park, without blocking views of the harbor from the street.

The next steps in the project will be to finalize the design concept and present the design to the Design Review Board, Knutson said.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea