29 Jul Commission Meeting Minutes 6-24-19
PORT COMMISSION OF THE PORT OF EDMONDS MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING June 24, 2019
Steve Johnston, President. Bruce Faires, David Preston.
Jim Orvis, Vice President (excused). Angela Harris, Secretary (excused)
Bob McChesney, Executive Director. Marla Kempf, Deputy Director.
Bradford Cattle, Port Attorney. Karin Noyes, Recorder.
CALL TO ORDER
President Johnson called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
All those in attendance participated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
COMMISSIONER FAIRES MOVED THAT THE CONSENT AGENDA BE APPROVED TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:
A. APPROVAL OF AGENDA
B. APPROVAL OF JUNE 10, 2019 MEETING MINUTES
C. APPROVAL OF PAYMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $117,599.74.
COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Dave Teitzel, Edmonds City Council, personally and publicly thanked Commissioner Orvis for his leadership in co-chairing with Councilmember Mike Nelson the Edmonds Waterfront Access Task Force. He commented that the year-and-a-half process involved the public and representatives from Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Washington State Ferries, Sound Transit, Community Transit, the Port and City. The task force carefully assessed over 50 different alternatives for providing efficient, first-responder access to the waterfront and concluded that the Edmonds Street Connector Site was the best option.
Council Member Teitzel advised that, in co-chairing the task force, Commissioner Orvis invested countless hours of his personal time and showed great leadership and perseverance in working with the task force and public to winnow down the wide range of potential alternatives to a preferred waterfront access option. Although the City Council voted to discontinue assessment of the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Option due primarily to environmental concerns, this in no way diminishes Commissioner Orvis’ excellent leadership in the task force process. He thanked him for his service and advised that he and his fellow Council Members look forward to working with the Port to further explore solutions to the problem of efficient waterfront access.
Commissioner Faires asked if Council Member Teitzel was aware of any specific activity that would actually find some way to solve the problem of access to the waterfront over the railroad tracks. Council Member Teitzel reiterated that the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Option is off the table, and the Council intends to reengage the public to review all of the options that were considered and figure out a Plan B. He summarized that the problem does exist, and they need to solve it somehow.
Commissioner Faires reviewed that over 50 options were considered, most of which were impractical and/or unfeasible. When the multimodal facility went unfunded six or seven years ago, he didn’t think there would be another alternative. The Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Option appeared to be the best solution, and he is not sure there is another option. Council Member Teitzel responded that Dayton Street is another option, but it will be more costly to go over the tracks and back down. The intent is to reassess and seek additional feedback from the public.
TERMINATION OF FUNDING FOR THE EDMONDS STREET WATERFRONT CONNECTOR PROJECT
Commissioner Preston observed that, based on the action of the City Council on June 18, 2019 to terminate further funding of the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Project, it is apparent that the Port’s prior financial commitment to support the City project is no longer necessary or required. He pointed out that the Port’s pledge was contingent upon the City obtaining full funding, design and permitting, and the project being ready for construction.
COMMISSIONER PRESTON MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION RESCIND THE PORT’S PRIOR PLEDGE OF $1.5 MILLION, WHICH WAS TO BE COMBINED WITH OTHER PARTIES SHARING THE COST OF CONSTRUCTION OF THE CONNECTOR PROJECT. COMMISSIONER FAIRES SECONDED THE MOTION.
Commissioner Faires said he would be willing to entertain a discussion about future support if and when an “acceptable” alternative is found. However, at this time, rescinding the pledge makes sense.
THE MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
APPROVAL OF WIRE TRANSFER FOR WIGGINS FORKLIFT
Mr. McChesney reviewed that on March 11, the Commission authorized Port staff to proceed with the purchase of a Wiggins Marina Bull Forklift and initiating a wire transfer of $95,188.20 as a down payment with the order. As per the contract, a 30% deposit was required with the order, 50% is required before the machine is shipped and 20% is required when the machine arrives.
Mr. McChesney advised that the Port’s Facilities Maintenance Manager visited the factory the week of June 17th to inspect the forklift, accept it, and authorize shipment. He accepted the forklift on June 19th. The factory disassembled the forklift for shipment and will reassemble it on site at the Port upon delivery, which is expected later this week or early next week. The factory will also send a technician to train staff on how to operate the machine.
Mr. McChesney advised that the 50% wire transfer payment will be made tomorrow if authorized by the Commission. The remaining 20% payment will be made upon final acceptance by the Facilities Maintenance Manager if authorized by the Commission tonight. He reminded the Commission that the new forklift was included in the 2019 budget at an estimated cost of $300,000. The purchase was authorized not to exceed $365,000. The total cost of the machine, including shipping and sales tax will be $360,218.
Mr. McChesney summarized that the purchase meets the Port’s mission to provide a high level of customer service consistent with the values of the clients and to ensure the Port facilities are attractive, safe, clean, user-friendly and readily-accessible. He recommended the Commission authorize staff to initiate the remaining two wire transfers totaling an amount not to exceed $275,000 upon acceptance of the forklift by the Facilities Maintenance Manager.
COMMISSIONER FAIRES MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION AUTHORIZE PORT STAFF TO INITIATE TWO WIRE TRANSFERS TOTALING AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $275,000 FOR THE REMAINING 70% OF THE FORKLIFT PURCHASE PRICE UPON ACCEPTANCE OF THE FORKLIFT BY THE FACILITIES MAINTENANCE MANAGER. COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON SECONDED THE MOTION.
Commissioner Faires asked about the value of the current Hoist forklift. Mr. McChesney answered that its value is still unknown. The intent is to go through the surplus process to sell it, as it will no longer be useful to the Port for spare parts and they do not want to carry it on their inventory. It will likely be auctioned off, but he doesn’t know how much they will get for it.
Commissioner Preston asked about the $6,000 expense for cameras, which seems like a lot. Ms. Kempf explained that the cameras were options that the Port chose not to include.
THE MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
APPROVAL OF HARBOR SQUARE ASPHALT REPAIR CONTRACT NO. 2019-319
Mr. McChesney reviewed that the Commission was formerly briefed on Harbor Square maintenance issues in 2016, 2017 and 2018, including the state of pavement disrepair in several locations throughout the Harbor Square Business Complex. He reminded them that $50,000 was budgeted in 2019 for asphalt repairs. He advised that staff identified one area of priority for repair and published a formal bid invitation on June 5th, which was sent to appropriate Municipal Research Service Center (MRSC) Roster vendors. A pre-bid walkthrough of the project was conducted on June 12th with 9 attendees. Staff received and reviewed 7 qualified bids on June 20th and the low bidder was Emerald Paving, Inc. for base bid of $26,484.00. He pointed out that, because the project qualifies as a public road construction project, Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 458-20-171 applies, exempting the project from sales tax. He commented that work would be completed by September 27th, and staff will work with the contractor to minimize the disruptions to tenants during installation.
Mr. McChesney recommended the Commission authorize him to enter into a contract with Emerald Paving, Inc. in the amount of $26,484 plus tax for the base bid for the Harbor Square Asphalt Repair 2019 Contract #2019-319. He referred to the bid tabulation and noted the wide spread between the bids.
Commissioner Faires asked why the bid from Emerald Paving, Inc. is so much lower than the other bids. Mr. McChesney said he cannot say specifically, but it may depend on who does and does not have work. The price for materials should be the same. He said Port staff verified the numbers with Emerald Paving, Inc. and no errors were identified in their calculations and staff was assured they can do quality work for that price. Staff also checked references and received good reports. He advised that, as per the contract, the project must be finished in two days.
Commissioner Faires asked if the Port would be required to pay for the project immediately upon completion. Mr. McChesney responded that the Port would hold back the retainage until the close-out process is completed. It usually takes about two weeks to close out a contract, and the Commission will be formally asked to accept the contract as complete.
COMMISSIONER PRESTON MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION AUTHORIZE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT WITH EMERALD PAVING, INC. IN THE AMOUNT OF $26,484.00 FOR THE BASE BID FOR THE HARBOR SQUARE ASPHALT REPAIR 2019-319 CONTRACT. COMMISSIONER FAIRES SECONDED THE MOTION, WHICH CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
PND ENGINEERS, INC. MID-MARINA BREAKWATER CONDITION ASSESSMENT
Mr. McChesney reviewed that, as discussed at the last Commission meeting, staff recently observed decayed wooden components and some missing pieces on the central portion of the Mid-Marina Breakwater. A baseline condition survey by a qualified professional engineer was recommended to evaluate the integrity of the sea wall, perform a life span analysis and recommend repair alternatives. He recommended the Commission authorize him to enter into a Professional Services Agreement with PND Engineers to perform a baseline condition survey on the central portion of the Mid-Marina Breakwater in the amount of $18,200.00. He pointed out that the condition assessment is the first step to address the problem, recognizing it will take some time to get through engineering, design and permitting.
Commissioner Preston asked how many permits will be required. Mr. McChesney answered that a Corps of Engineers permit will be required, and the work will all need to occur during the fish window. If the Port qualifies for a Nationwide Permit, the processing time for the Corps permit will be reduced to approximately three months. In addition, the project will require a Hydraulic Permit from the Department of Ecology (DOE) that could take two to three months and a Shoreline Permit from the City of Edmonds that will likely take between six and nine months. Commissioner Faires asked if the permits can run parallel, and Mr. McChesney answered affirmatively.
Commissioner Faires asked if PND anticipates having to move the riprap. Mr. McChesney said that when the actual work is done, a few feet of the riprap will be pealed back on both sides and they may find things that PND didn’t find. He anticipates the contractor will bring in a floating derrick to move the large rocks. At this point, it hasn’t been determined yet whether the existing timbers will be replaced with precast concrete or steel. However, if they go to the trouble of pealing back the riprap and getting all of the required permits, he felt they should consider a more robust solution than replacing wood with wood.
Commissioner Johnston asked if there is a geophysical process that will allow for some exploration without moving rocks. Mr. McChesney said he doubts that will be possible. The decay is more obvious in the intertidal zone, not necessarily from wave action, but from exposure to air and water. What is below the waterline may be okay. PND’s report should be available by the end of August.
COMMISSIONER FAIRES MOVED THAT THE COMMISSION AUTHORIZE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO ENTER INTO A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGEREMENT WITH PND ENGINEERS IN THE AMOUNT OF $18,200 TO PERFORM A BASELINE CONDITION SURVEY ON THE MID-MARINA BREAKWATER. COMMISSIONER JOHNSTON SECONDED THE MOTION.
Commissioner Faires commented that, based on the previous activity on the Mid-Marina Breakwater and the resulting lawsuit, the more they can learn about the existing conditions, the better.
THE MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Commissioner Preston observed that the current situation with the Mid-Marina Breakwater has to do with wear and tear and what is necessary to maintain the marina in great shape so it remains a clean, safe place for boaters.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Mr. McChesney reported that he attended the Edmonds Economic Development Commission Meeting on June 19th as a substitute for Commissioner Faires. The Edmonds Downtown Business Improvement District made a presentation.
Mr. McChesney reported that the Port’s booth at the Edmonds Arts Festival was successful, and they received a number of nice comments from people who stopped by. People were particularly interested in Sea Jazz and the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Project. He felt it was worthwhile for the Port to have a presence at the festival to talk with community members and get the word out about what the Port does.
Commissioner Faires asked if staff was able to solicit any additional input regarding potential promenade improvements. Mr. McChesney answered that they were able to collect an additional 50 to 60 surveys, and they have a very good representation of what people like and do not like. They can now prepare a report and move forward with the actual plan. Commissioner Faires said he has approached a number of people who were using the promenade for feedback. Generally, all of the negative thoughts people might have about what could be improved get swamped out by the positive experience. People seem to like the promenade as it is, and they have to dig hard to come up with ideas about how to make it better. To a certain extent, the Commission and staff need to have input into the process because they have probably thought about it more deeply than the people who are using the walkway.
Mr. McChesney explained that the promenade and all of its features are perfectly serviceable now, but they are getting shop worn. The idea is to identify what can be done in the future to upgrade and improve the promenade. The ideas include railings, gates, trash and recycling enclosures, etc. The intent is to start with improvements that are most cost effective, recognizing that gate replacement will be costly and require a lot of discussion. For the most part, they are not talking about reconfiguring the promenade, but simply modernizing what is already there. Commissioner Faires pointed out the differences between the south and north marinas. For him, the most noticeable are the trash and recycling enclosures and ramps that extend out into the walkway in the north marina. Commissioner Johnston said he received similar feedback. People are generally positive about their experience, but they can always make it better for the community. Mr. McChesney said the intent is to develop a plan for improvements, recognizing that it will take several years to implement.
Mr. McChesney reported that the Port has had a spate of equipment problems in recent weeks. They have talked with the Commission about the forklift at Dry Storage and staff is looking forward to the new Wiggins forklift coming on line. In addition, the public launch seems to be working better, but is still subject to unexpected failures. The equipment that is giving staff the most problems now is the Travelift, which is approaching the end of its useful life and is being pushed to its limits. One day last week Port staff, K.C. Martin and Everett Engineering were all working on the machine at the same time. He recalled that the engine was replaced a few yeas ago and already has 1,500 hours on it. They found a short in a wiring harness that was burning up a number of components, but in the meantime the wheel hub assembly is leaking and they have no choice but to order parts to fix it at a cost of about $12,000. The Capital Budget identifies funding for Travelift replacement in 2021, and staff is suggesting the Commission consider moving the purchase up to 2020. The machine is becoming ever more unreliable and when it breaks down it causes numerous operational problems. He summarized that it is an old, tired machine that is on the dark side of the maintenance curve. They will continue to repair it and keep it operational, but replacement in 2020 will be a topic of discussion in the upcoming budget process. He estimates replacement will cost between $450,000 and $550,000.
Commissioner Preston suggested that a new machine should be purchased next winter so it is ready for the busy season next summer. Mr. McChesney advised that staff is preparing a report to present to the Commission that will provide more specific information for their consideration.
Mr. McChesney advised that Port staff has received some comments and helpful suggestions from their neighbors on the hill regarding the noise from the forklifts in Dry Storage, particularly from the engines and backup alarms. However, he is concerned about turning down the backup alarms below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) minimum requirement. Doing so may result in liability issues for the Port. He said he has asked Greenbusch Group, an acoustical consulting firm, to evaluate the backup alarms and engine noise to make sure they are carefully calibrated and comply with OSHA regulations. The Greenbusch Group has provided a scope of work and budget of $8,500 and he believes the work is necessary to demonstrate to the neighbors on the hill that the Port is listening to their concerns and trying to mitigate the noise affects.
Commissioner Faires recalled that the neighbors made a nice presentation a number of years ago, and the Port replaced its backup alarms with an alternative that seemed to satisfy everyone. He agreed that OSHA minimums and liability are important issues for the Port to consider. Commissioner Johnston voiced support for hiring a third-party consultant to do an evaluation. Mr. McChesney pointed out that the new forklift will have backup alarms that will need to be calibrated, as well. This will allow the consultant to address both situations at the same time.
COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS
Commissioner Faires referred to the Commission’s previous action to suspend the Port’s financial commitment to the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Project. He said it is important to send the message to the City Council that at least part of the Commission is willing to entertain Port support for a rational solution for access over the tracks should they be blocked by a train. The issue has been important for a long time, and will remain important. Should a solution arise that is practical, he would support it, but at this point, he favors rescinding the Port’s financial support.
Commissioner Johnston reminded the Commissioners and those present in the audience that the July 8th Commission meeting has been cancelled and the next meeting will be July 29th at 9:00 a.m.
Commissioner Johnston announced that he would be providing an update on the Orca Recovery Task Force efforts at the Hood River Pacific Northwest Waterway Association meeting on June 26th. He reported that the task force is reasonably pleased with the legislation that was passed to protect the orcas. More needs to be done, but money is tight. The task force is currently looking for more ways to have influence. Lastly, Commissioner Johnston announced that he would attend the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County (EASC) Port Report and Summer Cruise on July 11th and the Washington Public Port Association’s (WPPA) Commissioners Seminar on July 22nd through 24th.
Commissioner Johnston commended the City staff and City Council for their hard work getting to the point of taking action on the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Project. He said he looks forward to working with them to help frame and inform the next steps. Mr. McChesney suggested that, in consideration of the Commission’s action to rescind the Port’s prior commitment to support the project, perhaps it would be appropriate to send a letter to Mayor Earling to document the action. The Commissioners agreed that would be appropriate.
Commissioner Preston requested an update on the fishing situation. Ms. Kempf reviewed that, normally, the King Salmon season opens on July 16th. However, the Area 9 season has been reduced to just four days and will not open until July 25th. The season will be open for 2 weeks in Area 10. Area 8 will not be open during the Everett Coho Derby, which is usually two weeks after the Edmonds Coho Derby, so the plan is to have a weigh station in Edmonds to serve the Everett event. She said she has invited Ron Garner from Puget Sound Anglers to the last meeting in August to share his thoughts and the Puget Sound Angler’s point of view regarding Salmon issues . Mr. Garner is an advocate for recreational fishing and she felt it would be helpful for him to share information with the Commission.
Commissioner Preston reported that he also attended the Edmonds Arts Festival and participated in the Port’s booth.
Commissioner Preston suggested that the Port should submit a photo op of the staff members who worked on the SR-104/Dayton Street Project to My Edmonds News (MEN). Mr. McChesney commented that they haven’t done so yet because there have been some discussions with the City about some requirements that may require modifications to some elements of the project. He said the intent is to modify the existing monument sign that says “Harbor Square” by placing a cap that says “Port of Edmonds.” This will require a sign permit. Once the sign has been modified, he agreed that a photo op would be appropriate. However, he isn’t sure how long it will take to obtain the permits. He summarized that staff is very proud of the project and happy with how it turned out as the gateway to the City. Four members of the maintenance staff worked for five weeks to complete the project, and they should be commended for their work. He said he hopes the remaining issues can be resolved quickly so they can celebrate this community partnership.
Commissioner Preston requested an update on the Groundskeeping Chemicals Pilot Project that was placed on hold while staff worked on the SR-104/Dayton Street Project. Mr. McChesney reported that staff is ready to move forward with the pilot project at Dry Storage. Commissioner Preston asked if staff has considered using a torch to burn the weeds away. Mr. McChesney answered that staff was not contemplating that approach as part of the pilot program because there are boats in the vicinity. He reviewed that the pilot program will test five different chemicals starting this week. The intent is to identify the most environmentally-safe and cost-effective solutions. The goal is to move away from Round Up. Commissioner Faires said it would be helpful to have more information about the chemical makeup of the products that are being tested so that better comparisons can be made.
Commissioner Preston said he attended the June 18th City Council meeting where there was a lot of public comment relative to the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Project. He observed that new information has come forward since the Port made its commitment to support the project. This new information should have been part of the study, but was not. For example, they learned about the marine sanctuary just prior to the meeting. He suggested that there was so much focus getting the project forward that they lost site of the surrounding environment. Thankfully, a number of citizens were able to provide informed comments that the City can learn from. He expressed his belief that the old way of local entities creating plans to take care of problems will no longer work. He suggested that social media is a good tool for engaging the public early in the process. We have a lot of intelligent people in the Port District. Rather than hiring a consulting firm to work with a task force that includes just a few token citizens, a better approach would be to put together a much larger group of citizens to work with the consulting firm. They need to let the citizens ask the tough questions that do not get asked by the governmental bodies. Getting people more involved upfront so they can feel like they are being heard, and to ideas that are needed.
Commissioner Faires agreed that the Commission should always try as hard as it can to involve as many people as possible early in the process. However, he is not optimistic that it will preclude a great force of people coming out at the last meeting to kill a project.
City Council Member Teitzel agreed with Commissioner Preston’s suggestion. He summarized that the City Council has heard from the public that it needs to do a better job of engaging the public via outreach, social media, etc.
Denise Miller, Edmonds, commented that the citizen angst related to the Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector Project erupted on Facebook when someone started engaging the public in the conversation. She expressed her belief that social media is the best way to get the public involved. She commented that there have been a number of topics of late where the community got engaged in the process by reading about it on Facebook or other social media sites. For example, the petition that now has around 10,000 signatures was sent out on Facebook.
Once again, Commissioner Faires said he is really interested in finding a solution for getting the public involved earlier in the process. However, it is not easy to understand all of the various sub issues related to a complex problem. He questioned whether the Facebook readers are going to read a relatively complicated dissertation or if they just want a short answer. Ms. Miller commented that people are paying attention and people who haven’t previously participated in the public process are stepping forward. She felt that social media can make a big difference in the public process, and it can also be a vehicle for providing links to additional information.
Commissioner Preston commented that people are coming together and they are ready to listen to ideas and throw out those that will not work. He suspects the process related to access over the railroad tracks will look more collaborative going forward, with more people involved. Commissioner Johnston agreed it is important that ideas for solving problems coms from the citizens, and the Port Commission has a responsibility to take a rational look at all of the alternatives and provide feedback on their potential impacts.
The Commission meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.
Angela Harris, Port Commission Secretary