October 24, 2022 Study Session – The Suburban Times
Town of Lakewood announcement.
The Lakewood City Council study session began with a review of third quarter police data with Lakewood Police Chief Mike Zaro.
Zaro highlighted progress in areas such as reducing property crime and motor vehicle theft. Both of these areas saw declines from previous quarterly reports.
- Motor vehicle thefts are down 46% overall in 2022, with a 17% reduction from the second quarter.
- Theft is down 14% from the second quarter.
- Property crimes have also seen a significant decline over the past year. The reported total for the third quarter of 2022 returned to levels closer to what the city typically runs.
- The city has seen an 11% reduction in crimes against people year-to-date compared to 2021. Those are crimes against other people. Comparing the third quarter of 2022 to previous third quarters from a year-over-year perspective, the total for the third quarter of 2022 is the lowest in six years.
Financial analysis: Council received an overview and update on the 2023 property tax, reviewed the year-end budget adjustment, and reviewed the City’s financial forecast for the next six years.
State law allows cities to raise property taxes up to 1% per year.
The City will hold a public hearing on this proposed 1% increase at its regular City Council meeting on November 7, 2022 beginning at 7:00 p.m. Final review of the Tax Levy Order is scheduled for November 21, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.
Review of the protection and preservation of public spaces: City Attorney Heidi Wachter reviewed legislation in other cities aimed at preventing people from camping or occupying public spaces. This use of these spaces impinges on public access.
A recent court case, Martin v. Boise, made it illegal to arrest people for camping in public places when there is no available space in a shelter.
In Lakewood, city code prohibits people from camping or erecting, maintaining, using, or occupying a tent or temporary shelter in city parks. Violators can be issued a civil offense. The erection or installation of objects within the city right-of-way is also a civil offence.
Lakewood Police do not arrest people for “camping,” but regularly clean up illegal dumps and fix trespassing issues at the request of owners. These problems are not as common on public city properties. In addition, the department’s community service agents regularly contact homeless people and offer to find them services. This is in addition to the work of the city’s Behavioral Health Contact Team.
A draft order was provided for Council’s consideration and discussion which proposed to allow the removal of illegal camps and campers, provided that available shelter space was confirmed before action was taken. The Board will address the discussion of this draft ordinance and the procedure to be followed at a future meeting.
Name Colonial Plaza: The Council concluded their meeting with a conversation about renaming Festival Street to Motor Avenue, commonly known as Colonial Plaza. The city revamped this streetscape in 2019, adding elements of public space as well as curbs and gutters, sidewalks, on-street parking, street lighting, landscaping and benches on Motor Avenue in front of the Lakewood Theater and the Best Western Lakewood.
More information will be shared as the Board advises on how it wishes to proceed.
What’s on the bridge: Lakewood City Council does not meet on Monday, October 31 as it is a fifth Monday. Its next meeting is a regular meeting on November 7, 2022 at 7 p.m. Provisional agenda items include:
- Issued a proclamation declaring November 11, 2022 Veterans Day and November 2022 Veterans Appreciation Month.
- Publication of a proclamation recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Korean Women’s Association (KWA).
- Lakewood Youth Council and Clover Park School District Reports
- Public hearings on:
- The 2023 property tax project
- The end-of-year budget adjustment (2022)
- The draft biennial budget 2023-2024
- Final review of Ordinance No. 775 relating to tree preservation code updates (this was continued from the regular October 17 meeting of Council).
- Final consideration of a resolution deeming the Garry Oak as the official tree of the town.
- City Manager’s Reports: Review of 2023 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Package.