General Government & Public Safety Committee
May 19, 2010
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Chair, Ron Lawson, Virgil Clarkson, Cynthia Pratt
Greg Cuoio, Ken Ahlf, John Suessman, Rick Walk, Carol Litten
Annexation of Woodland Creek Community Park
Ken Ahlf, City Attorney, briefed the Committee on a proposal to annex Woodland Creek Community Park into the City.
Ken stated that two of the City’s active park and recreation facilities, Woodland Creek Community Park and the Regional Athletic Complex are located outside of the City boundaries. Woodland Creek Community Park is located directly adjacent to the existing boundaries of the City. However, the RAC is not adjacent to the City boundaries. The City is allowed to approve by Ordinance the annexation of City properties located outside of its boundaries. However, the procedure differs depending upon whether the land to be annexed is adjacent to the City boundary. By limiting the proposal to the Woodland Creek Community Park only, the City cannot be required to include additional lands in such an annexation when adjacent property owners are not in favor of such action.
The annexation would address problems with police regulations and the question of jurisdictional authority. Currently, City park regulations are enforced by the Thurston County Sheriff’s department. Under annexation, the Lacey Police Department would enforce the law.
Greg Cuoio, City Manager, commented that one of the goals of the City Council was to annex Woodland Creek Community Park into the City. This annexation would accomplish that objective.
Deputy Mayor Clarkson moved to forward a recommendation to full Council to adopt an ordinance to annex Woodland Creek Community Park into the City. Councilmember Pratt seconded. Motion carried.
Prescription Drug Drop Off Program
Commander John Suessman provided an update on the Prescription Drug
Drop-off Program. He reported staff has met with the Department of Health (DOH) who initiated the program regionally. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Tumwater, and Group Health have implemented the program, which is a collaboration between DOH, Thurston County Solid Waste, Department of Ecology, and local jurisdictions.
In response to concerns about public health and public safety, the program was imitated to prevent old medications from being disposed of in the landfill or the wastewater system, and to reduce the number of teens addicted to prescription drugs. John noted that overdose by prescription drugs surpasses car accidents for cause of death in Washington State.
If the City participates in the program, a drop box provided by the Thurston County Solid Waste will be installed at Lacey City Hall. A camera would be located in the vicinity of the drop box and would only be viewed if the box were stolen. A Lacey Police Evidence Technician would empty the box on a regular basis and destroy contents during a scheduled evidence purge in compliance with state law. The City plans on using an incinerator in Aberdeen if their BTU’s comply with state law. John stated the cost of the program is approximately $500 per year to incinerate.
John noted staff is creating a procedure to secure the drugs, and transfer them to the incinerator for burning. Staff has discussed concerns about drug addicts stealing the box and/or what types of materials, i.e. guns, may be dropped in the box. John stated the location of the box at City Hall has not been determined yet.
Councilmember Ron Lawson asked if there is a liability to the City if a drop-off box is located on its property. Ken Ahlf, City Attorney, responded there is no liability to the City.
Committee members approved the proposal to install a prescription drug drop-off box outside the Police Department at Lacey City Hall, and suggested notifying the public of the program through the website, an insert in utility billings, and announcements at City Council meetings.
Staff will coordinate installation of the box with Thurston County Solid Waste.
Homeless Encampment Ordinance
Ken Ahlf, City Attorney, briefed the Committee on a proposed ordinance re-adopting Sections 16.06 and 16.64 of the Lacey Municipal Code related to the temporary homeless encampment.
Ken stated that Ordinance No. 1326 made several amendments and an addition to the previously adopted homeless shelter ordinance. Many of the modifications and addition were for purposes of allowing religious organizations to host temporary homeless encampments. Section 14 of that ordinance provided the ordinance would be in effect for one year and at that time, the Council could decide to review the experience of the City with such encampments and determine whether to continue the policies set forth in the adopted ordinance or to allow the terms of the ordinance to expire.
Pursuant to the terms of the City regulations, the temporary homeless encampment was hosted in the summer of 2009 by a religious organization located in the City with little or no reports of problems. However, if the code provisions enacted by Ordinance 1326 are not re-adopted, the encampment in the form hosted in 2009 would not be allowed.
Deputy Mayor Virgil Clarkson remarked that the County Commissioners are considering the development of a permanent homeless encampment site. If the Commissioners restrict homeless encampments to only one at a time, then a permanent encampment could eliminate the need for the City of Lacey’s ordinance. Councilmember Ron Lawson noted if the County does create a permanent encampment independently, then the City could amend its ordinance to be compatible with the County. Ken said the City would need to ensure it is compatible before repealing its own ordinance.
Councilmember Pratt moved to forward a recommendation to full Council to adopt an ordinance re-adopting sections of the Lacey Municipal Code related to temporary homeless encampments. Deputy Mayor Clarkson seconded. Motion carried.