Port Townsend to apply for outfall funding

Council also approves early relocation funds for manager

PORT TOWNSEND — The city of Port Townsend will seek a loan and grants to help fund a $3.5 million sewer outfall project.

The City Council authorized interim City Manager Nora Mitchell on Monday to submit applications to the state Department of Ecology through its water quality financial assistance program to fund the final design and construction of the required off-shore outfall project.

The council also passed an amendment to its nuisance ordinance, encouraging residents to not feed wildlife, and it authorized an advance on the relocation expenses for incoming City Manager John Mauro, who will begin work Nov. 1 once he arrives from New Zealand.

In addition, council members extended interim light standards for a second straight year that will allow staff to replace high-pressure sodium lights when they expire with LEDs.

The city will continue to work on its lighting design program, said engineer David Peterson, who added he plans to bring the program before the council next year.

Peterson also briefed council members on the sewer outfall, saying the application is due Oct. 14. The city might be eligible for grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it also might qualify for hardship funding, he said.

Consultant Jacobs Engineering recently updated the cost of the project, Peterson said.

“It’s a little lower than we thought it was going to be, which is good news, provided the outfall doesn’t change through the design process,” Peterson said.

The city already has spent about $600,000, he said. The $3.5 million estimate covers the final design and construction phase.

The city’s national pollutant discharge elimination system permit requires the replacement of the sewer outfall from the wastewater treatment plant by 2020, and the city has requested a one-year extension, documents state.

The city already has applied for the necessary permits, Peterson said. He expects the state Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process to wrap up soon so he can bring a Facilities Plan amendment forward in early November to approve the design.

Wildlife ordinance

Council members passed the wildlife amendment to the nuisance ordinance 6-1, with Bob Gray dissenting as he did during the first reading Sept. 16.

City attorney Heidi Greenwood said the language of the ordinance didn’t change from last month, but she added information to clarify the nuisance would need to rise to a level of reason.

“There was concern this could be overly broad in terms of eliminating people’s backyard bird feeders, and that is not the intent,” she said.

Gray objected, saying deer are much more of a citywide issue than other types of wildlife.

“I really think the deer are such a problem that it should have a separate ordinance for those,” he said.

“Having it buried under this kind of thing with all these other nuisances is a mistake.”

Council member Michelle Sandoval countered by saying it was an appropriate first step and that a more broad policy on how to deal with deer will be discussed at a later date.

Mayor Deborah Stinson said the deer issue will be moved to the city’s inbox, an area that is revisited once per quarter.

Gray wasn’t happy about that, either.

“We’ve been dealing with the deer as long as I’ve been on the City Council, and putting it in the inbox isn’t the right solution,” he said.

“This is just going to be buried, just like it’s been buried for 10 years or longer. I can list 10 things that have been in that inbox for years and never gotten done.”

Mauro on the way

Mitchell said she’s had three formal transition meetings with Mauro and reported he has resigned his position in New Zealand and preparing to move his family back to the states.

She presented a resolution to move up his $20,000 relocation allowance prior to his arrival, and council passed it unanimously.

None of the other details in Mauro’s contract were amended, Mitchell said.

Mauro’s salary will be $156,000, and his contract calls for him to prorate the relocation allowance back to the city over a two-year period if either party terminates the contract in the first 24 months.

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Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].

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