MATT DRISCOLL: NOTES FROM THE TOP >>>
Even though Pappi Swarner decided to hit the booze and links this fine Friday afternoon, and Suzy Stump left the Weekly Volcanoâ€™s Best Of Tacoma party last night with some guy with a ponytail and hasnâ€™t been seen at the office since, Iâ€™m still here â€" diligently working away at my desk for you, the South Sound blogosphere (in between glances at the latest Brett Favre update).
As much fun as the boss is probably having taking it easy this afternoon, I had even more with City Manager Eric Anderson. Tacomaâ€™s main brain returned from a two week Friday press briefing hiatus today, and with the Tacoma Weeklyâ€™s John Larson on vacation and the TNTâ€™s new city government newshound Nikki Sullivan not in attendance (sheâ€™s not new, really, just making a switch from covering state politics to the city stuff with the Tribâ€™s Jason Hagey), I basically had Eric all to myself.
It was good for me. No word on whether Anderson enjoyed it.
- This Tuesday (Aug 5) the Council and Anderson are set to receive a â€œfinancial and economic status report for both the General Fund and Capital Projects Fund through June 2008.â€ The report will recap Tacomaâ€™s finances since the beginning of the year, and provide a forecast of economics to come from the Tacomaâ€™s Budget Officer Amy Palmer. Citing a 59% drop in tax revenue from real estate in the last 8 months, not to mention a drop in gas tax income, Anderson expects the report and forecast to be similar to economic bad news earlier this year, when the City Manager said a reduction in capital projects might be necessary. â€œThatâ€™s still true,â€ Anderson said of his earlier forecast.
â€œWe were at an extraordinarily high level before,â€ said Anderson in regard to revenue Tacoma was receiving from real estate taxes during the boom of yesteryear. â€œNow weâ€™ve dropped back down.â€
Anderson said a continued reduction in capital projects may be necessary for Tacomaâ€™s budget to adjust to the new level of tax income.
- According to a City of Tacoma news advisory, thereâ€™s an open house from 4-6 p.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building on Wednesday (Aug 6) designed to â€œprovide details on the upcoming Pacific Avenue improvement project and the impact it will have on the immediate area.â€ The Pacific Avenue improvement project will â€œrun on Pacifica Avenue between South 17th and South 25th streets and South 25th Street from Pacific Avenue to C Street.â€
According to Anderson, events like Wednesdayâ€™s open house (one of many open houses the city has held in regard to the Pacific Avenue improvement project) are beneficial for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it helps establish a â€œfeedback loopâ€ between citizens (business owners in particular) and the city. Anderson says the city has received a lot of feedback on the coming improvement project, and much of it has been critical.
â€œA lot of people donâ€™t understand why weâ€™re going in again,â€ said Anderson. â€œA lot of people want to know why this wasnâ€™t done the first time.â€
â€œItâ€™s a good question,â€ Anderson admits.
â€œHopefully we can all work together. A lot of businesses rely on Pacific Avenue,â€ says Anderson. Open houses â€œget our people thinking about other peopleâ€™s lives.â€
Though he said the City of Tacoma is doing everything it can to minimize the impact on Pacific Avenue businesses (many of the same businesses that were affected during Link construction), Anderson realizes not everyone will be happy.
â€œItâ€™s impossible to say we can do that 100%.â€
Those attend Wednesdayâ€™s open house can expect information specifically on the traffic implications of the Pacific Avenue improvement project â€" mainly where the interruptions will occur and where the detours will be.
- Showcase Tacoma is quickly approaching, and the Weekly Volcano isnâ€™t the only one excited. Though something tells me Eric Anderson isnâ€™t, necessarily, a big fan of the Helio Sequence (who will blow Tollefson Plazaâ€™s mind on Friday, Aug 8), the City Manager is a fan of the positive impacts an event like Showcase Tacoma has on our fair city.
â€œIt builds community,â€ Anderson said of Showcase Tacoma, which the city has taken a large part in producing along with Metro Parks and Tacoma School of the Arts.
Anderson said the benefits go beyond community building, and into the realm of PR.
â€œA lot of people come from outside the city,â€ says Anderson. â€œA lot of them say â€˜Holy smokes, this place has changed.â€™â€
- Finally, City Council members will consider a resolution on Tuesday that would cut the Museum of Glass a check for $100,000 to aid in the purchase of a forklift and specialized truck intended for â€œhousing and transporting the mobile hot shop for art outreach services.â€ Apparently, at least according to Anderson, the mobile hot shop is very much like the stationary hot shop inside the Museum of Glass â€" only movable. Itâ€™s designed to be taken around to schools and communities to show kids how obsessed Tacoma is with glass art, not to mention provide just a little more PR for Tacoma. Anderson said the purpose of the mobile hot shop is threefold: education, art, and marketing â€" noting that the hot shop on wheels will be taken to communities outside of Tacoma. â€œOutside the city, it publicizes Tacoma,â€ says Anderson.
â€œThe city is very much a partner with the Museum of Glass.â€
Thatâ€™s all for this week. Eric Anderson is off to the triple digit heat of Denver to visit his son, and Iâ€™m off to the coast for a family reunion of sorts with my in-laws.
Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll both be sweating.
Have a wonderful weekend, Tacoma.