PORT ANGELES — The city of Port Angeles has renewed a lease with Atlas Trucking Co. to house the light operations division until the nomadic city department moves into a permanent home.
The City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday to approve a two-year, $184,000 lease with Atlas for a 5-acre site in west Port Angeles.
The action will allow light operations to continue to use the temporary facility until the city constructs a $6.4 million light operations building at the public works equipment storage yard near the corner of West Lauridsen Boulevard and the Tumwater Truck Route.
On schedule, budget
“We are at 30 percent design,” Port Angeles Public Works and Utilities Director Thomas Hunter said of the new building Tuesday.
“We are on schedule and we are on budget.”
The new light operations building is scheduled to be completed before 2022.
“I do think it’s worth reiterating we have been anticipating this and putting money in reserves for this and that it does meet the council directive of no new debt,” Mayor Kate Dexter said.
Port Angeles light operations, a division of the public works and utilities, has been housed in several locations since the 1980s.
The former Port Angeles City Light building at 240 W. Front St. was declared surplus in 1987 for a higher and better use that complemented the downtown corridor, city officials said.
In 2007, the Front Street building was sold to Family Medicine of Port Angeles, now North Olympic Healthcare Network, for $775,000.
After the sale of the downtown building, City Light moved to a Port of Port Angeles-owned building near William R. Fairchild Memorial Airport.
In November 2017, the port told the city to vacate the leased site to make room for an expanding commercial business by May 31, 2018, according to city documents.
The City Council in March 2018 agreed to lease the 5-acre site owned by Atlas Trucking at 1734 W. U.S. Highway 101 for about $90,000 per year.
“It’s a great price for that property,” said first-year City Council member Charlie McCaughan, a Clallam County Public Utility District procurement and facilities supervisor.
“Being a former employee of the light op, I understand the history and what’s gone on there.”
Hunter said he would update the City Council on the new building when it is 65-percent designed.
He added that the new light ops building would be about 6,000 square feet smaller than the temporary facility but designed with proper ingress and egress for light operations.
The Atlas site has about 16,000 square feet of enclosed space and about 9,200 square feet of covered space, Hunter said in a memo.
The new light operations building will have about 18,777 square feet of enclosed space.
“It’s a great project,” Hunter told the council.
In other public works news, the council awarded a $278,055 contract to Dutton Electric Company, Inc. of Lynnwood for electrical switchgear upgrades at the Laurel Substation.
”The contents of this project are relatively technical,” Hunter told the council.
”I think it’s important to note that this is one of five substations that we need to replace the switchgear at.”
Hunter said the awarded contract was well under the $500,000 budgeted for the project.
“That is an opportunity for us to give tremendous kudos to the engineering division in light operations because they really worked with some efficiencies, opened up that substation, had people come in and present alternatives as to how we can do things a little bit more efficiently,” Hunter said.
“Ultimately, we got a better project price because we went through that process.”
City Finance Director Sarina Carrizosa said the savings will be applied to other projects in the capital facilities plan.
“I really appreciate what I see as some very significant shifts in creative problem solving in public works,” Dexter said, “and I think the city is going to be significantly better off for that.”
In other discussion, the council reviewed its 2019-2020 strategic plan and voted to make minor modifications in a February work session.
The existing strategic plan has three main objectives:
• Preserve long-term economic, ecological and social well being while demonstrating innovative and desirable urban design principles.
• Build financial capacity to provide consistent, quality municipal services and infrastructure improvements.
• Exemplify excellence in government and community leadership.
“This strategic plan sits as a two-year action plan for the comprehensive plan,” Council member Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin said.
“We spent some time with the objectives goals and strategies last year. If those are something that work well for the new council members, then that’s a really good sign.”
Four new members joined the seven-member council this month: McCaughan, Navarra Carr, Brendan Meyer and LaTrisha Suggs.
“I just want to warn the council this is a big project and I’m ready for it, but it’s going to require us to get down to details very quickly,” council member Mike French said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].