Aug 01

Mayor's Update - August 1, 2019

Posted on August 1, 2019 at 5:13 PM by Joshua Stecker

This Friday, August 2nd, is our last Family Fun Movie Night. We will be featuring “Sgt. Stubby” at dusk, approximately 8:30pm. The evening is pet friendly. We will also be presenting a certificate of appreciation to Mud Bay for providing waste pick up bags at 24 locations throughout Gig Harbor. This is a generous donation of over $3,456 that provides bag service to our community that helps keep Gig Harbor safe and sanitary.
They supply over 120 bags per month at 24 locations. Thank-you, Mud Bay!

We have had great bands down at Skansie Park and Tuesday the 6th is National Night Out. Join us for this community block party starting at 5:00. At 6:30 the band Funaddicts will play until 8pm. The street will be blocked off at 3 p.m. for the event so we are allowing people to set up their chairs on the lawn at 1:00 instead of the usual 3:00. Please come and celebrate with our community. The Police Department is sponsoring this event to promote crime prevention awareness.

Moving forward onto city business, the council has approved an agreement in which we have accepted the resignation of Mr. Farris as City Administrator. On behalf of the City, I want to thank Mr. Farris for his service and dedication. This agreement is in the best interest of the City of Gig Harbor and Mr. Farris with no fault by either party.

Over the next few months, we will be conducting a search to find a new City Administrator. During this transition period, it is our priority to find the best individual to lead while still maintaining a stable and effective City administration.

I would like to welcome some new employees to our city and some promotions:

  • •Brienn Ellis – Engr Tech P.W. Stormwater. She is coming from the Dept. of Ecology
  • David Boyer – Building Inspector who moved from California to join us.
  • Kimberly Mahoney - Associate Planner who came from the Port of Tacoma
  • Michael Simmons - GIS Coordinator who was local prior to joining us.
  • Matthew Bonsib was appointed as the City’s newest Police Officer this month.
  • Officer Jeff Martineau received a promotion to Sergeant.
  • Chuck Roy was promoted to Senior Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator after Norine Alvarado retired. Thank you, Norine, for all your years of service.

At our July 8th Council Meeting, Council approved a contract with Guy Capoeman to design and install an Honor Symbol at Austin Estuary Park. The sculpture, titled “Our Fisherman, Our Guardian,” will stand at the edge of the park overlooking the estuary as a tribute to the native Puyallup Tribe of Indians. Thanks to the Gig Harbor Kiwanis for their generous donation to make this project happen.

The Council and citizens have been reviewing all the options for the intersection at Harborview and Stinson. This week they met and directed staff to prepare a resolution to put in a pole-mounted traffic light at the intersection. They will vote to make this the official plan at the August 12th Council meeting so that staff can meet the grant application deadline.

Council and staff will be working to develop an Arts Element for the City’s Comprehensive Plan. This will help give the City direction to making Gig Harbor a destination for artists and arts supporters. Supporting the arts is also a great way to boost the City’s economy.

At our Council Meeting on July 22nd Council passed a Resolution requiring City staff to request that all union negotiations happen in public to the greatest extent feasible and allowable by law. Gig Harbor is the first Washington City to pass a resolution like this. The unions do not have to agree to this request and if they don’t want to, negotiations will happen in private like they always have.

Also, at this Council Meeting there was much discussion about the kayaker’s storage in Skansie Park. Some council and mayor wished to have the amount of storage raised. It was decided by council to give the kayak team notice to comply with the 1000sq. ft. of the lease or be given 90 days’ notice. Also, an ad hoc committee made up of mayor and three council members was established to try to work towards a solution for the floating dock which is in the plans to be built at Ancich Park.

This coming Tuesday the 6th of August will be Coffee with Kit at Kimball Coffeehouse at 7am. Please join me to find out more about our city or have a chance to ask me questions.

Enjoy your August.


Jul 05

Mayor's Update - July 5, 2019

Posted on July 5, 2019 at 3:17 PM by Joshua Stecker

The City has recently received several inquiries about the City Administrator being placed on administrative leave. We understand our citizens would like more information regarding the circumstances, but at this time we need to make sure we are following the proper process. We are not trying to withhold information from anyone and we are willing to disclose all the information we can, but we must respect Mr. Farris’ rights in this matter. 

Jun 28

Mayor's Update - June 28, 2019

Posted on June 28, 2019 at 4:19 PM by Joshua Stecker

Welcome to Our Long Summer Days!

Summer Sounds started this week. Our first band was Mark Hurwitz and Gin Creek. It was well attended. Our citizens were very respectful and waited till 3 pm to put their chairs out allowing children and citizens use of the park up to three hours prior to the concert. We had great feedback on Facebook showing thanks and appreciation.  Please feel free to bring your items earlier than 3:00 and leave them behind the Skanise House Visitor Center if needed. The City will not be responsible for any lost or stolen items.

South Sound Magazine has named Gig Harbor the “Best City in the South Sound” for 2019! Here is what they had to say about our town: “From a historic waterfront with stunning views to its wide variety of shopping and dining experiences, Gig Harbor has been voted the Best City in the South Sound for the second year in a row.” You all play a major role in making our City the best! Great job everyone!

At our last two council meetings several items passed. We renewed several leases and have a basic Professional Service Contract to study what it would take to bring our Masonic Temple building up to compliance for future use.  We are also moving towards partnering with the Kiwanis and our Native Americans to have an Honor Symbol at Austin Estuary. Council also adopted an Ordinance on May 28th making it illegal for pet stores in the city to sell dogs, cats, or rabbits. This ordinance had a lot of support from residents and people from as far away as Puyallup and Bremerton. We hope this ordinance will help discourage puppy mills and the inhumane practices they use. We also passed phase 1 of our Public Works Operational Center contract to prepare the site for our new Public Works Building at a cost of $2,140,615. That will happen in 2020.

Though we had several good applicants for our in-house attorney we have decided to wait until January of 2020 to proceed with this. As a result, we renewed our contract with Ogden Murphy Wallace through December 2019. We did negotiate a lower hourly rate by extending the contract. We will probably start the process again to look for an in-house attorney in late September.

We are working hard to negotiate agreements with the Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Club and the commercial fishermen to finish the floats at Ancich Waterfront Park. This process will take time and we are working with both groups to discuss their needs and the needs of the community.  Council and I have put in a lot of time working toward getting this done with both parties wishes in mind and we want to be sure we take the time to do what is best for our community as a whole.

The City of Gig Harbor had invested a large amount ten years ago towards the building of the Boys and Girls Club. This money was for our Senior Citizen program that was at the club. The Boys and Girls Club has sold their building to the school district and just yesterday gave back $100,000 to our city. The city will donate this money towards the Senior Citizen program. Council, with input from our seniors, will later determine if the money will be used for ongoing maintenance or possibly towards a new facility or a combination of the two.

On June 26th, the City will begin accepting applications for funding from our Lodging Tax fund for 2020. This is a chance for groups that are planning events for next year to apply for funding to help with their marketing costs. The goal is to bring in more visitors to Gig Harbor from places 50 miles or 2 hours away or more. Our Lodging Tax Advisory Committee will review all the applications in October and make recommendations to Council to award funding. Look for the funding application on our website next week.

We are working to add two more volleyball courts at Crescent Creek Park. Since the Sports Recreation Center did not have a plan for them, we felt this was a great alternative for the community. They would be just north of the present two courts and would not have the trees to the north removed. The drainage should be better than the present BMX trail at the top. This would also allow us to work towards a new Pump Track as the BMX is in bad shape. The Park Commission has supported this plan and we are currently working through permitting. The volleyball group is paying for most of it and the City’s financial responsibility will be around $12,000 to $15,000.

Work will start on Stinson Avenue starting July 8th. The water main will be replaced along Grandview between Pioneer and Stinson, and on Stinson from Pioneer down to Rosedale. These streets will be intermittently closed to one lane and there could be delays through these busy intersections. We will be posting regular updates online, so please be sure to plan ahead and think about alternate routes if needed. On the night of the Beatniks concert at Skansie Park the construction will stop at 2pm to allow access to the concert from many roads.

We awarded TSI a consultant contract for a conceptual design for intersection improvements at Stinson and Harborview. The options that will be considered will be either a roundabout, a traffic light or a hybrid of what is there with improvements of some sort. All options will be considered. Council will hold study sessions on July 15th and 29th to discuss these options. There will also be an Open House on July 22nd at 4:30 to answer your questions and take your comments on these options.

Next week on Tuesday the 2nd of July is “Coffee with Kit” at 7 am at Kimball Expresso. This is for citizens to be able to ask me questions about the city.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July.