By Dawn Masko, City Administrator, City of DuPont
1. Rain or Shine – It’s Trick or Treat Time. DuPont Parks & Recreation and the DuPont Business Association are hosting Trick or Treating in downtown DuPont on Wednesday, October 31. Little ghosts and goblins are invited to visit our local businesses to trick or treat between the hours of 3:00 – 5:00 PM. Kids of all ages are welcome to participate. Parents are reminded that all children must be accompanied by an adult. Families are encouraged to pick up a Trick or Treat passport at participating businesses and once it is complete, kids can redeem it for a complimentary gelato at Forza. Many thanks to Forza and the DuPont business district for partnering to help make Halloween in DuPont safe, fun and family friendly! Don’t miss out – it is going to be a scream!
2. Proposition 1 FAQs
The DuPont City Council has placed a measure on the November 6th ballot – Proposition 1 – asking voters whether to approve a temporary increase in the City’s property tax levy. This ballot proposition, known as a “levy lid lift”, is needed to provide revenue to make the required debt service payments on the Fire Station, Police Station and City Hall, as well as maintain public safety services at current levels by retaining three firefighters currently funded by a SAFER grant that expires in March 2013.
An updated Frequently Asked Questions sheet is now posted on the City’s website at www.ci.dupont.wa.us. This fact sheet is purposely non-technical, has been reviewed by the City Attorney and the City’s Bond Counsel and is intended to provide accurate, factual responses to many questions which we have received.
3. Point Defiance Rail Bypass Project
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are seeking public comment on the Environmental Assessment report for the proposed Point Defiance Bypass Project. The information is available online and is available in local libraries. The FRA will consider comments through the end of the comment period ending November 9, 2012.
4. Fall Food Drive
There is still time to donate to the Fall Food Drive. Bring your canned goods or non-perishable items to the DuPont Fire Department (1780 Civic Drive) by October 31st to support this worthy cause. We received generous donations during the Fall Safety Fair but still have a ways to go to fill our fire engine. Please help us feed some of our local families in need this coming holiday season!
5. Aphid Tree Spraying
Information is available on the City’s website regarding an option to help control aphids on street trees. A local resident has worked with a tree service to provide a discounted rate for treatment. Interested homeowners need to contact the tree company no later than October 31st to participate in the program.
6. Upcoming Meetings – Week of October 29th – November 2nd
- City Council Budget Workshop
Tuesday, October 30th at 6:00 PM
- Sequalitchew Creek Restoration Plan Meeting Thursday, November 1st at 1:00 PM
7. 2013 Budget Update
Mayor Michael Grayum presented his 2013 Proposed Budget to the City Council at the October 9th Council meeting. In addition to his proposed budget, he also laid out his proposal for a “Plan B” budget. The initial proposed budget assumes the temporary property tax levy lid lift is supported in November. In addition to preserving the current staffing levels of police officers and firefighters, the budget also includes business license revenue reforms and a rental property fee which will be used to fund a position to assist with streamlining the permitting process, higher contributions to rebuild the equipment replacement reserves, hiring three positions currently held vacant in Finance and Public Works, and begins repaying the reserves borrowed from other funds for debt service payments in 2011 and 2012.
The alternate budget proposal – “Plan B” – is predicated on the temporary property tax measure not passing in November. This budget proposes to fulfill the City’s financial obligations by reducing irrigation to parks, greenways and facilities, closing the Museum, eliminating TruGreen maintenance contracts for PowderWorks Park and Wilmington Drive, and reducing essential public safety services by eliminating the three firefighters currently funded by a SAFER grant, eliminating the West Pierce Fire and Rescue contract (which provides fire support and administration services and personnel), eliminating an additional firefighter and a police officer, and increasing taxes and fees.
The City Council held budget workshops on October 16th and 23rd to review information on revenue projections and personnel, and received overviews of the Capital Projects Fund, Equipment Replacement Fund, and Police Department and Fire Department budgets. Council will continue their budget deliberations at workshops and Council meetings held throughout the next few months.
The Mayor’s Proposed 2013 Budget can be found on the City’s website.
8. Community Development Update
- Emergency Communications Tower – First reading of the ordinance to amend the DuPont Municipal Code to allow public wireless communication facilities in all zones throughout DuPont will be held at the November 13thCity Council meeting. The staff report and proposed ordinance are posted on the City’s website.
- Sign Code Update –At their October 22nd meeting the Planning Agency deliberated and recommended the proposed sign code ordinance be revised and forwarded to the City Council for adoption. City Council first reading is scheduled for November 27th. The staff report and draft sign code are posted on the City’swebsite.
- Sequalitchew Creek Restoration Plan – The next Core Group meeting will be held on Thursday, November 1stfrom 1:00 – 4:00 PM at DuPont City Hall.
9. Fire Department Sponsors Regional Class
The DuPont Fire Department sponsored a two day, health and safety class for fire departments from across the Puget Sound region this past week. The focus of the class was to address the physical health of firefighters and the use of personal protective equipment. A national instructor from Philadelphia mediated the class and coordinated the exchange of information from all departments in attendance. 31 firefighters attended the two day event, including 4 DuPont firefighters.
10. Parks & Recreation
Please call (253) 912-5245 or go to the City’s website at www.ci.dupont.wa.us for registration information, questions on Parks & Recreation activities, or for volunteer opportunities. Want to know more? Like us on Facebook at “City of DuPont Events, Recreation & Tourism”.
- Get Sweet on Parks & Rec – With the holiday season just around the corner, Parks and Recreation is excited to report some sweet news! The “Get Sweet on Parks & Rec” Caramel Apple sale runs through December 5th. Holiday caramel apples will be available for pre-sale for $5.00 each. Apples will be delivered the week of December 17th. You can also purchase the apples at the Holiday Bazaar on November 17th at Pioneer Middle School. The apples are beautifully wrapped and ready for gift giving. All proceeds benefit events and recreation programs. Thanks in advance for supporting Parks & Recreation!
- Holiday Bazaar – The Parks Agency and volunteers are hard at work preparing for the 7th Annual Winter Wonderland Holiday Bazaar scheduled for Saturday, November 17th at Pioneer Middle School.
Come early and bid on our silent auction items to support Parks & Recreation. Gifts are holiday themed and include holiday gift baskets, movie passes and restaurant gift cards. What a great way to support local artists and get started on your holiday shopping at the same time! Admission to the bazaar is free.
- Youth Basketball Registration – Youth basketball registration is now open through Thursday, November 8th. Registration fees are $85 per player. Once registration closes, families will be put on a waiting list and there are no guarantees for placement. Please do not delay in getting your registration to City Hall during the hours of 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily. The 2012-13 season runs from November 26th – March 1st. Volunteer coaches are still needed. Please contact Tom Bradbury at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping.
- Annual Tree Lighting – Mark your calendar for Friday, November 30th to attend the City’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. The ceremony begins at 5:30 PM at Ross Plaza. To serve on the planning committee, please contact Amy Walker at (253) 912-5245.
- · 5th Annual Santa Breakfast – Tickets to the Santa Breakfast are on sale at City Hall and are selling out fast! This annual event is scheduled for Saturday, December 8th with seating at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM. Tickets are $10 each; 2 and under are free. Tickets include breakfast with Santa and a special take-home goodie from Santa’s elves. We will not have a professional photographer on site, so don’t forget to bring your cameras to take photos!
- Visit our website for information on other programs and events including Karate, Yoga, Track, Kidz Love Soccer, Dance4Life, and more!
11. Coats for Kids
The DuPont Fire Department, together with the DuPont Lions Club and Caring for Kids, is holding their second annual “Coats for Kids” Drive in November. Please drop off new and/or clean and undamaged coats of any size at the DuPont Fire Department, 1780 Civic Drive, anytime between November 1st and November 30th. If you or your organization are unable to drop donations off but would still like to contribute, please contact DuPont’s CERT Coordinator Claire Keller-Scholz at (253) 964-8414 or via email at email@example.com and we will arrange to have the DuPont Fire Department pick them up. Thank you for helping make life better for the children of our community during the chilly weather months.
12. Drive-through Voter Registration
Monday, October 29th is the last day to register to vote for the November 6th General Election. New voters (not currently registered in Washington State) can register in person at the Pierce County Election Center through October 29th. The Elections Division, located at 2401 S. 35th St. in Tacoma, will be open extended hours this Saturday and Monday for voter registration. Voters will have two choices: they can drive through and register to vote without leaving their vehicles, or they can go into the customer service center for help with more complex questions.
Special voter registration hours are:
- Saturday, October 27th 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
- Monday, October 29th 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson encourages prospective voters to act soon, as there could be long lines on Monday. This is the first time Pierce County has offered drive- through registration and they anticipate as many as 2,000 voters to register over the two days. To date, there are approximately 440,000 registered voters in Pierce County. More than 39,000 – or 9 percent – have already submitted their ballots.
13. Museum News
- DuPont Dynamite Train – DuPont’s Dynamite Train was featured at the 2012 National Narrow Gauge Conference held in September in Bellevue. Convention attendees visited DuPont to view the historic Dynamite Train. Local volunteers Jim Sabol and Rus Segner, who have been instrumental in help restore the train, were among the many clinicians at the conference. Train enthusiasts from as far away as Germany were welcomed at the DuPont Museum to see our unique train.
- Holiday Shopping – Looking for unique heritage holiday gifts? New items for the gift shop will be featured during the holiday season. The DuPont Museum, located in the Historic Village at 207 Barksdale Ave., is open from 1:00 – 4:00 PM on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Please contact Doris Stewart at (253) 964-2399 for holiday shopping assistance. You will love the selection of “hometown gifts.”
14. Steilacoom High School “Beyond High School” Event
The Steilacoom High School “Beyond High School” event will be held on Tuesday, November 13th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. The event will have a broad focus which includes the college-bound student as well as students who will attend other additional schooling or start careers. There will be speakers on financial aid, NCAA requirements, four-year colleges, two-year community or technical colleges, apprenticeship programs, scholarships, and military careers. All parents and students are encouraged to attend.
15. 2013 Proposed Ferry Schedule Changes
Pierce County residents are invited to two community meetings to learn about potential changes to the ferry sailing schedule to improve service. A menu of possible service changes has been created with input from the community, and the options ultimately selected could be implemented as early as January 2013. Not all of the available options will be implemented. A list of options is available at www.piercecountywa.org/ferry.
The following community meetings have been scheduled:
- Monday, October 29th 6:00 PM at Steilacoom Town Hall, 1717 Lafayette St.
- Friday, November 9th 6:00 PM at the Anderson Island Community Clubhouse
Those unable to attend a meeting may submit comments at www.piercecountywa.org/
16. Safe Guarding Your Pet for Halloween
Halloween is a day when many dogs and cats go missing due to the front door being opened and closed for trick-or-treaters. Pets can get nervous because of all the activity at the door and bolt the next time the door is opened, or they just think it is a perfect opportunity to sneak out when their owner is otherwise occupied. Because pets can be pretty good escape artists when the opportunity presents itself, pet owners should always make sure their dogs and cats are wearing collars with ID at all times. For Halloween, consider an additional precaution during trick-or-treat hours, such as putting your pet in another room with the door closed, putting on a leash and holding onto the leash when answering the door, or kennel your pet if you have one. Additionally, consider having a microchip implanted in your pet. It doubly protects your furry family member if somehow the collar was not on or slipped off and your pet gets out. If you already have a microchip for your pet, and any information in that chip may have changed, use this holiday time to remember to have that information updated.
Other Halloween safety tips from the ASPCA include:
- No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for your pet. Chocolate in all forms – especially dark or baking chocolate – can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing artificial sweeteners can also cause problems. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
- Beware of candy foil wrappers. Those shiny wraps around some Halloween candy can cause intestinal problems. Guard your candy bowl!
- Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively non-toxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets that nibble on them.
- Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
- A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
- Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it (yep – a few pets are real hams!). For many pets wearing a costume may cause undue stress. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on or get twisted on external objects. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider foregoing the costume or use a festive bandana.
- Beware of mischievous humans. Bad people pose the most frightening threat of all to pets. In the weeks before Halloween, some steal animals, particularly black cats, so they can use them in rituals in which the animals are sacrificed or tortured. Take special precautions to safeguard your pet from thieves during this time. And while you should never let your pet roam, you should particularly not let him roam on Halloween.
17. Firearms Advisory Commission
Help make recommendations to the Pierce County Council and Executive on laws regarding county firearm use. Applications are being accepted to fill three positions as citizen representative on the Firearms Advisory Commission. The commission handles petitions concerning the discharge of firearms in prohibited and restricted areas. It also reviews all proposed county legislation regarding firearms. The term is four years and applicants must provide documentation of a safety firearm class or Washington hunter safety class. The commission convenes as needed to review proposed legislation. The Pierce County Executive will make the appointments subject to County Council confirmation.
Applications are available online. To receive an application by mail, call the Executive’s Office at (253) 798-7477 or the Planning and Land Services Department at (253) 798-7156. Applications should be returned by November 14th.
18. Sad News
The City of DuPont’s staff, Mayor and City Council is mourning the loss of Elaine Robinson who passed away earlier this week. Elaine was a tireless volunteer, avid supporter of the DuPont Museum, and a friend to so many in our community. She established an endowment fund for the Museum in honor of her late husband Robby, who was also an active DuPont volunteer. She was responsible for helping to coordinate the Annual Pancake Breakfast and was affectionately known as “The Pancake Lady”. Elaine was the 2012 Grand Marshal of DuPont’s 4th of July Parade. Her tireless dedication to the citizens of DuPont will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Robinson family during this difficult time. Services will be held at a later date.