General Government & Public Safety Committee
April 21, 2010
2:00 - 2:45 p.m.
Chair, Ron Lawson, Virgil Clarkson, Cynthia Pratt
Greg Cuoio, Scott Spence, Dave Schneider, Carol Litten
2009-2010 Emergency Cold Weather Shelter Program
Scott Spence, Assistant City Manager, reported on the status of the 2009-2010 Emergency Cold Weather Shelter Program.
The Emergency Cold Weather Program is a unique collaboration between Thurston County and the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, created in response to homelessness in the region. Single men in the county have access to designated public facilities, or overflow capacity within the Salvation Army Lodge, on a rotating basis when temperatures drop to 32 degrees or lower. The white house building located at Woodland Creek Community Park is Lacey’s designated shelter.
Currently, the jurisdictions contract with the Salvation Army to provide the supervision and transportation services necessary to care for single men accessing the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter Program. The shelter is available each winter beginning November 15 and ending March 15. Scott reported during the previous winter in 2009, 592 single men accessed the shelter during the cold weather period from November – March.
Scott remarked that the City’s insurance carrier, WCIA (Washington Cities Insurance Authority) has advised against allowing co-mingling of men, women and children due to safety and liability issues. He noted there are other options for women and children to stay at local area churches or receive vouchers for hotels. He noted that the community continues to explore all options to provide shelters for homeless families.
Scott stated that until 2008, funding was made possible by the four jurisdictions participating in the Human Services Review Council (HSRC). However, due to decreased budget contributions, this is no longer a viable funding mechanism. In 2009 and 2010, the Shelter Program received $20,000 in emergency funding from the HOME Consortium.
The Emergency Cold Weather Shelter Program is in its ninth consecutive year of operation. Each year, funding for the program is in doubt. Currently, a request to fund the Emergency Cold Weather Shelter Program on a permanent basis is being considered by the HOME Consortium. A final decision is expected this summer.
Staff will provide Committee members with a year-end report after the HOME Consortium meets in June.
Red Light Cameras: Results of Problem Intersection Analysis
Police Chief Dusty Pierpoint, presented the results of an analysis of the Red Light Camera Program to determine if additional cameras are needed at other intersections with traffic problems.
Dusty stated that when the program was first implemented in 2008, infractions were high at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Sleater-Kinney Road. However, the trend indicates that citations for accidents/injuries are continuing to decrease at this location with a 38% reduction in 2009.
In 2009, the City collected $350,000 in violation fees, and spent $150,000 in contract fees. The additional funding is applied towards safety-related issues, such as bike and pedestrian safety.
Dusty reported the City’s vendor recently conducted an analysis of four potential intersections with high accident data that could potentially benefit from red light camera surveillance. The locations were at Pacific Avenue/College Street, Lacey Blvd/College Street, Lacey Blvd/Ruddell Road, and Yelm Highway/College Street. The results of the analysis indicate that no additional cameras are needed at these intersections at this time.
Dusty stated the City is also considering red light camera surveillance at the intersection of Marvin Road and Martin Way/State Route 510. If a study determines there is a need, the City may move forward with another camera. The Committee will receive an update once the Marvin Road/Martin Way/SR 510 study is completed.
Disposal Site for Prescription Medications
Councilmember Pratt inquired about whether the City could provide drop boxes at its facilities for the disposal of unused and/or old prescription medications.
Police Chief Dusty Pierpoint stated that law enforcement agencies have been discussing this issue since last year, when concerns were raised about the harmful effects of medications being disposed into the region’s water systems. Since then, drop boxes have been installed by the Thurston County Sheriff, the Tumwater Police and the Department of Health.
Dusty stated the City is in the process of determining how the drugs should be disposed, where drop boxes would be located, how outdoor sites would be secured, and other details. Councilmember Lawson commented that if there are other sites in the City of Lacey, then a drop box would not be needed at City Hall.
Staff will provide an update as more information is developed.