By Mellow DeTray

Homelessness, the end of the COVID-19 proclamation, license plate cameras and more were discussed at Thursday night’s (Oct. 20, 2022) Des Moines City Council.

Public Comments
Comments tonight included the need for a children’s playground. Plans for a play structure at Cecil Powell park have been underway since 2016, but have been held up. This community member also wanted to know if the community has a say in the playground design.

Felicia Wilson, regional manager for the King County Library System, spoke about the services KCLS offers at local libraries, including family story times on Thursdays and a teen chill time on first and last Wednesdays at the Des Moines branch, as well as a Maker Space at the Federal Way branch.

Another community member asked for help from the City in reducing incidents of dangerous driving in Redondo Beach.

2023 SKHHP Budget Approved
The South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP) executive manager, Angela San Filippo, presented on the work of her organization. SKHHP works with 10 cities to share resources and create a unified voice for the needs of King County residents, in order to increase and maintain the stock of available affordable housing. The cost of the program to the City of Des Moines is increasing from $8,625 in 2022, to $9,919 in 2023.

COVID-19 Proclamation of Emergency Rescinded
Governor Inslee announced the end of the statewide State of Emergency by October 31st, two and a half years after emergency was declared at federal, state, and local levels. The City is now in a position to end its state of emergency as well. City government has largely returned to normal operations.

License Plate Recognition Cameras to Act as Force Multipliers
Assistant Police Chief Patti Richards spoke to Council about the Flock camera system, which has the ability to run license plates in real time, in order to locate cars that are wanted in relation to crimes. These cameras do not have facial recognition, and they remove the human bias from crime solving while also being able to process many more license plates than an officer could. The camera system alerts officers within minutes of wanted vehicle sightings. They are not used for traffic enforcement, and data from the cameras is deleted after 30 days.

The city will have 16 strategically placed Flock cameras, in a coordinated effort with Tukwila & Kent to maximize camera coverage area. The cost to the City will be $48,000 for the first year and $42,000 each year thereafter. Final Council approval of the installation of these cameras will take place during the first meeting in November, and construction will begin in 2023.

Honors & Proclamations
City Attorney Tim George was honored for serving the city for 15 years, receiving a warm applause from the gathered community.

Council recognized October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer awareness and screening increases early detection, thus decreasing late stage diagnosis and increasing survival rates.

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors Theatre, and Hot Feet Fitness. After working for ten years at Burien Community Center, she moved on to teaching fitness classes and to work the front desk of a Burien yoga studio. For many years Mellow kept a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.