By Mellow DeTray
Here’s our recap of the Des Moines City Council meeting held on Thursday night, Oct. 26, 2023:
One commenter who said he represented the Redondo Community Association spoke in support of controlled paid parking at both the Des Moines and Redondo marinas, and requested installation as soon as possible to reduce crime in both parking areas at night. He mentioned that Coffee with a Cop at the MaST Center was a very successful, positive event for the community, with a great turnout. Another person said that state assistance should be sought for a potential public/private partnership to preserve the endangered Masonic Home of Washington (aka Landmark on the Sound) as a historic building.
2024 City Budget: First Public Hearing
In the face of higher costs in several major areas, including SCORE service fees, police vehicles, and insurance coverage, Des Moines City Manager Michael Matthias and staff presented some budgetary changes for 2024. The proposed budget will turn Events & Facility Rentals into an Enterprise Fund. This means events & facility rentals will be run more like a private business, with all expenditures covered by revenue from rentals, rather than city funds. To start this enterprise out, the plan is to take a $750,000 loan from the surface water management fund. This loan would be paid back over three years, at a 3% interest rate. The marina is another entity that runs in this self-sufficient way, with no city taxes going to its operation.
ARPA money that hasn’t been spent includes $400,000 intended for the passenger ferry, $300,000 tagged for emergency transitional housing, and several other categories for a total of $1.2 million in unspent funds. The new budget reallocates this $1.2 million to bolster the general fund. The budget also plans for one year of property taxes to go to the general fund to help cover the increased city costs.
Councilmember Gene Achziger took issue with communication not being a priority in the new budget. He said the community has made it clear that they need and expect better communication from the government, and he felt that the budget should show that priority. Councilmember JC Harris expressed concern for one-time funds being used to pay for ongoing projects, and wanted to see more detailed projections of revenue and expenditures.
In answer to these concerns, City Manager Michael Matthias said the budget can always be amended when communication expenses become necessary. He also said that new revenue sources are coming online in the immediate future; as an example he mentioned the Redondo speed cameras. Mayor Matt Mahoney also explained that Covid and inflation have changed everything, economically, but that exciting things are happening in Des Moines, like the long-awaited Marina Steps. The first round of voting on the budget passed unanimously, and will have a second hearing on Nov. 9.
Vacation of Public Road Easement, New Trail Connection
The Port of Seattle requested a vacation of a public road easement that is currently on their property north of 216th, because the easement is in the way of development. The Port is the only adjacent property owner of this easement, so no other property owners needed to consent. As part of the deal, the Port will be paving a portion of the Barnes Creek Trail, connecting it to the Des Moines Creek Trail, and adding lighting to the area. Mayor Mahoney said this lighting will help address safety concerns at the trail. This motion passed unanimously.
Des Moines & Redondo Marina Parking Gates
Another unanimous approval by council was to contract with a local vendor to install gates at the entrances to the marina parking lots. These lots have been a popular gathering place in the evenings since the old parking gates stopped functioning. Many community members have been disturbed by noise and crime from these gatherings. In addition, the city should see income from the paid parking, with a recoup of costs within 2-3 years.
The goods & service agreement for the parking gates will cost just over $580 thousand, and has a two year warranty on parts & service. Because this company is local (in Bellevue), it is expected that they will be better about servicing malfunctions than the previous company was. They are hoping for installment of parking lot gates within 60-90 days at the Des Moines Marina. No time estimate could be given for the Redondo parking gates.
Trick or Treat Events
Deputy Mayor Traci Buxton mentioned two trick or treating events for kids. On Monday, Oct. 30 from 5-7 p.m., there is a “trunk or treat” event at Steven J Underwood. On Tuesday, Oct, 31, there will be a trick or treat path through downtown along Marine View Drive from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
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 10 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.