City Council hears update on BoatShop marine railways project

Posted on October 26th, 2021 By:

Installation of the marine railways and carriage at the Gig Harbor BoatShop is nearly finished, according to BoatShop treasurer John McMillan. McMillan gave a progress report to the Gig Harbor City Council at Monday’s council meeting. He explained that the marine railways — ways, for short — are the primary way that boats are loaded into and out of the water, and that no boatyard is complete without them.

McMillan acknowledged the financial support provided by the city of Gig Harbor and the Port of Tacoma, plus hundreds of volunteer hours, that made the project possible.

“We started working on the ways back in 2012 and then completed them during the nighttime low tides in 2018. The volunteers were amazing” he said.

Earlier this year, the carriage that actually moves the boats to and from the water was installed. But, McMillan said, the BoatShop still needs help to tie up loose ends. Most of the boxes still to be checked are safety-related. There’s also approximately $12,000 still owed to the company that provided the crane used in the installation, he said.

Mayor Kit Kuhn said he supported the idea of the city helping to cover the remaining costs, and asked McMillan to provide a detailed list of outstanding items so they can be included in its 2022 budget.

In other business, interim City Administrator Tony Paisecki reported that the city was successful in convincing Pierce County to do a SEPA review of the Burnham Ridge housing development project located within the City’s Urban Growth Area (UGA). Earlier the county had ruled that a SEPA review wasn’t necessary.

“We objected to that decision, and we won,” Paisecki said.

The only old-business item on the meeting agenda was the repeal of an old plastic bag ban ordinance. Interim City Clerk Josh Stecker explained that the city ordinance was obsolete, since the state’s plastic bag ban went into effect on Oct. 1.

Two new business items were approved at the meeting. Ordinance 1471 established a new salary for the city’s municipal court judge. The ordinance increased the monthly base salary to $5,500 and the annual base salary to $66,000. The ordinance was passed with a unanimous vote. The second item authorized the mayor to sign a purchase agreement for a piece of park open space property that had been discussed in an Oct. 18 executive session.

The other new business items comprised first readings of several new ordinances, including one updating the city’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP) to include recommendations from the state Department of Ecology, as outlined in a 364-page review. The update is in compliance with a state requirement that every jurisdiction’s SMP must be reviewed every eight years. The ordinance will be brought back to council for further review and approval on Nov 8.

An ordinance related to the make-up of the city’s Design Review Board will also receive a second reading on Nov. 8. The new ordinance would change the qualifications for DRB membership by restricting the number of licensed architects to one (previously there was no limit), allowing for the appointment of up to two citizens with “interest and knowledge” of urban design (previously limited to one) and requiring residency within the greater Gig Harbor area bordered by the Purdy Bridge, the Narrows Bridge and the county line.

An ordinance updating the city’s 2021 budget will come back before the council on Nov. 8. Finance Director Dave Rodenbach reported that this year’s budget will need to be amended because of non-departmental and municipal court budget changes.

The non-departmental budget amendment will allow the city to distribute $500,000 in American Recovery Plan Act funds the city received in July 2021. The funds will be used to support FISH foodbank’s capital campaign to construct a new building.

The municipal court budget amendment is needed to provide expenditure authority through the end of the year because salaries were under-budgeted by $27,000 due to a transposition error, Rodenbach said.

Paisecki gave a quarterly status report on the 2021 budget objectives, as required by city code.

The next council meeting will take place Nov. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the civic center. This will be an in-person meeting with limited public seating. Masks are required in the civic center. The meeting will also be accessible via Zoom.