By Mellow DeTray

Here’s our recap of the Des Moines City Council meeting held on Thursday night, Aug. 3, 2023:

Water District Update

Councilmember Vic Pennington updated council on the recent water quality issue. He said a post-incident analysis has been conducted, and he has had several meetings with people from the water district. They should be ready to make a detailed report to council at the August 17th meeting. The water district has been helpful and cooperative, he said, throughout this process.

Northwest Laborers United Training Center Approved

Multiple community members spoke during public comments in favor of this bond item, which allows for the construction of a training facility at 22205 Pacific Highway South. The facility will receive all its funds from Washington Economic Development Finance Authority, and the city will not pay for any of it. Councilmember Jeremy Nutting spoke strongly in favor of this facility, which will help to prepare future workers, and it passed unanimously with the consent agenda.

Redondo Neighborhood Upset Over Racing

Several Redondo residents spoke during public comments about how frustrated they are over the delay in implementing the speed cameras. Officers are unable to pursue any but suspected violent offenders, according to state legislation. The speed cameras seem to be the community’s only hope for deterring the dangerous racing happening nightly in Redondo.

Several projected completion dates for the speed cameras have come and gone, and the newest estimate is that the cameras will be operational by the end of the year. City Attorney Tim George explained that even with this delay, Des Moines will still be the first city in Washington to have these speed cameras operational near parks. One person said the delay was crushing, and called the escalating nightly activities “neighborhood terrorism.”

Residents asked that police have more of a presence in Redondo between 8-11 p.m., but as the police explained, current legislation ties their hands if anyone decides to “flip them off and drive away.” They cannot pursue; only a change in state legislation will allow it. Until then, these racers are seeing very little in the way of ramifications for their conduct.

Des Moines Marina Safety Issues

A recent shooting at the marina had some community members asking when the gates at the parking lots will be functional. Working gates, it is hoped, will keep the marina quieter and safer at night. There should be a bid on the fully funded project of reinstalling functional, outdoor-grade gates “soon.” Camera installation at the marina is now complete.

Staffing Shortage at St. Anne Hospital

Council heard a presentation on St. Anne, formerly Highline Hospital. Like many employers and especially in the medical field, the hospital has struggled to overcome staffing challenges since Covid. They have been working with colleges to provide a pipeline of future nurses and the like, and councilmembers suggested other ways they could do outreach in the community.

Other changes at St. Anne are that all rooms will soon be wired with cardiac monitoring, and some older departments are being rebuilt. According to the presentation, three quarters of St. Anne’s patients are on Medicare or Medicaid, and the hospital operates in a net negative margin, not making loads of money as many people imagine.

Compost Procurement Policy Passed 7–0

State law requires diversion of organic materials away from landfills, and cities over 25,000 in population size are required to pass a “Compost Procurement Ordinance”. According to this ordinance, compost must be used for city projects, when applicable. The ordinance also requires public outreach promoting the use and benefits of compost.

Flock Cameras Successful

According to Mayor Matt Mahoney, the Flock camera system that Des Moines and a few neighboring cities have adopted has already been used to track suspected criminals. Mayor Mahoney wants to draft a letter along with these partnering cities, asking that neighboring cities that don’t have Flock cameras consider them. The system works much better when the cameras can continuously track the locations of sought-after vehicles, rather than having a gap in coverage when they cross city lines.

Farmers Market Needs Volunteers

The Saturday Farmers Market is having a robust season, and is in need of Volunteers, according to Deputy Mayor Traci Buxton. Volunteer information can be found here.

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. 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.