Richland City Council to Interview Three Women for Open Seat

Mayor Ryan Lukson emerged from a one-hour executive session of the Richland City Council to announce that three women would be interviewed to fill Councilmember Brad Anderson’s seat.

Anderson resigned on August 18 stating that health issues required lifestyle changes that were not possible while holding down a full-time job plus serving on the Council.  

The council will interview the following women:

Marianne Boring, the spouse of a staff member of the City of Richland Development Office has served longer on Richland Boards and Commissions than any other current member. When her terms are up, she will have been on the Planning Commission for 18 years and the Board of Adjustment for 20 years. She chairs the Board of Adjustment.

When the Council voted to end term limits for boards and commissions on September 1, Lukson said, “We use these people like employees to a certain extent.”

Maria Gutierrez has served on the Parks and Recreation Commission since 2007.  She currently chairs that committee.

Theresa Richardson retired as director of Habitat for Humanity.

Lukson said that the Council planned to pick someone before their October 6 meeting.

Randy’s Notes: the Rundown on Tuesday’s Richland City Council Agenda

(Disclosure: Randy Slovic, author of TriCities Observer, has applied to fill former Councilmember Brad Anderson’s seat on the Richland City Council.)

Here is the Richland City Council Agenda for September 15, 2020

The 157-page packet of information that I have summarized below.

If you want to comment, you need to click the yellow “here” on the agenda before 4:00 p.m. on September 15.

  1. City Manager Cindy Reents fills you in on COVID

PUBLIC HEARING if you clicked the yellow “here” as mentioned above before 4:00 p.m., you can comment for 3 minutes on this:

2.  The developers of Park Place Apartments at 650 George Washington Way moved the utilities and wants the city to give them the now unused utility easement for $10.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD if you clicked the yellow “here” and submitted your request before 4:00 p.m.  you have 2 minutes to say whatever you want.  However, be warned, you are NOT allowed to ask a question.

CONSENT CALENDAR – this means the council can go through these with little to no comment and vote for them all at once.

Approval of the September 1, 2020 City Council Regular Meeting Minutes

First Reading on these so they have to be voted on again at the next meeting in order to pass:

Ordinance 29-20   The City can exercise more control over misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors rather than refer them to the Benton County Prosecutor if the council amends the code to include:  cyberstalking, criminal mistreatment of children or dependent persons, unlawful possession of prescription drugs (legend drugs), purchase and consumption of alcohol by an intoxicated person.

Ordinance 30-20   Allowing industrial driveways to be 40 feet for one way and 100 feet for two ways.

Ordinance 31-20   Oops, the city did not amend the municipal code in 2012 when they raised the ambulance rates.  They will fix that with this.

Second Reading on these so they pass with this vote:

  1. Ordinance 27-20  The Richland police department receives $275,250 from the Seattle Police Department for a forensic van.  Seattle is the lead agency for the state and funding is for investigation and prosecution of internet crimes against children.
  2. Ordinance 28-20 You will need a permit to work in city Right-of-Ways.

Resolutions – Adoptions

  1. Resolution 124-20   the easement at 650 George Washington Way discussed above in No. 2 is here for a vote.
  2. Resolution 131-20   It will cost $4 million to extend the city sewer to North Horn Rapids.  To  pay for it, the City will receive $3.2 million dollars from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Covid Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The Port of Benton will provide $400,000 and the City of Richland will provide $400,000.  City funding was budgeted in the Industrial Development Fund.
  3. Resolution 132-20   Visit Tri-Cities Signage.  Booth and Sons submitted the lowest bid for the signs, $452,888.66
  4.  Resolution 133-20   Maintenance agreement with Friends of Badger Mountain for extending the trail system onto Little Badger Mountain.

Items Approval:

  1. Appointing Steve Lorence to the Personnel Committee until 2023.  He has been on the committee since 2018
  2. Appointing Brad Bricker, Ken Spencer, Theresa Richardson, and Kim Knight to the Economic Development Committee until 2023.  Bricker has served since 2013.
  3. Appointing Lindsay Lightner to the Library Board until 2025.  Lightner has served since 2019.
  4. Appointing Deborah Titus and Michele Levenite to the Americans with Disability Citizen Review Committee until 2023. Levenite has served since 2014.
  5. Appointing Lara Watkins and Andrew Lucero-Montano to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee until 2022.  Lucero-Montano has serviced on the committee since 2018.

Expenditures – Approval

  1. $28,384,167.33 of checks for the month of August for salaries, pensions and other expenditures. The check list goes from page 90 to 132 in the packet.

ITEMS OF BUSINESS

  1. Ordinance no 21-20 to restrict parking on Hains Avenue to one side of the street.  The Council will vote on this ordinance since it is not on the consent calendar.

Councilmembers will now comment

EXECUTIVE (SECRET) SESSION

20 minutes to discuss potential litigation

60 minutes to discuss the qualifications of a candidate for appointment to elective office [60 minutes for “a” candidate out of 33 who applied].

Term Limits for Richland Boards and Commissions Eliminated after Councilmember Sandra Kent Reconsiders

(Disclosure: Randy Slovic, author of TriCities Observer, has applied to fill former Councilmember Brad Anderson’s seat on the Richland City Council.)

An unusual set of circumstances resurrected for the fourth time a motion to eliminate term limits for members of Richland boards and commissions, and this time it passed.

Last month, when the council considered the motion for the third time, city attorney Heather Kintzley explained that the city charter required that a majority of the council, not just a majority of those present, had to vote for approval of the term-limit change. Only four council members out of six were present at the Aug. 18 council meeting, so the vote failed when only Councilmember Sandra Kent voted no.

For the motion to be brought up again, the side that prevailed — in this unusual case, just Kent — had to move to reconsider it. 

That meant Kent had the power to table the motion when it came under consideration last week for the fourth time. She did not.

Kent said Sept. 1 that she was offering the motion to reconsider “for transparency and to give all the members a chance to vote on the measure.” Her motion to reconsider passed 6-0.

On the next vote, which was to eliminate the term limits, Kent again voted no saying that “council could re-appoint a person ad infinitum.”

Councilmember Terry Christensen supported the change. “Council shouldn’t have their hands tied,” he said.

Mayor Ryan Lukson agreed with Christensen. “Every once in a while, a unicorn comes in,” he said. “But very rarely does someone want to serve longer than 16 years. We use these people like employees to a certain extent.”

The final vote was 5- 1, with Kent voting no again. Five of 70 people who currently serve on the Richland Boards and Commissions have been appointed for at least 14 years.