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Should Legislative Bodies Conduct Quasi-Judicial Hearings?

Should Legislative Bodies Conduct Quasi-Judicial Hearings?

August 31, 2016 by Joseph W. Tovar
Category: Land Use Administration , Planning Advisor

In our latest Planning Advisor column, Joe Tovar argues that city, town, and county councils should remove themselves from quasi-judicial roles and delegate that authority to hearing examiners instead.

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Recapping the August Ballot Measures

Recapping the August Ballot Measures

August 30, 2016 by Steve Hawley
Category: Elections

This post highlights selected ballot measures from the August 2 primary election, including a sales tax to help address the opioid epidemic, large capital projects in Eastern Washington, and a police funding measure that experienced a 180-degree turnaround from last year.

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Washington Cities Have More Powers Than We Think

Washington Cities Have More Powers Than We Think

August 25, 2016 by Hugh Spitzer
Category: Classification

Optional municipal code (code) and first class (charter) cities in Washington have many more powers than we think. City officials and their lawyers frequently wrestle with whether they have sufficient authority to do one thing or another, and then run to the legislature for express permission. But that’s often not necessary.

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Informal AG Opinion Clarifies Lodging Tax Awards

Informal AG Opinion Clarifies Lodging Tax Awards

August 24, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category: Lodging Tax (Hotel-Motel Tax)

An informal opinion from the Attorney General's office states that a municipality may award lodging tax revenues to a recipient in an amount that differs from the LTAC recommendations, as long as the legislative body follows the right process.

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The Common Interest Doctrine and the PRA

The Common Interest Doctrine and the PRA

August 22, 2016 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Public Records Act

A recent case from Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals (Division III), Kittitas County v. Allphin, provides strong support for the ability of local governments to work with state agencies in enforcing state and local laws, and to have certain communications related to these enforcement actions protected as privileged under the common interest doctrine. 

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Financial Management of Municipal Court Services

Financial Management of Municipal Court Services

August 18, 2016 by Tracey Dunlap
Category: Finance Advisor

This Advisor column addresses how municipalities can work together with the judicial system to provide effective financial management of the municipal courts.

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Paper or Plastic? An Overview of Plastic Bag Bans in Washington State

Paper or Plastic? An Overview of Plastic Bag Bans in Washington State

August 17, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Property Nuisances

This post aims to provide a general overview of what plastic bag bans look like, how effective they’ve been, and what authority cities and counties in Washington have to implement such bans.

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Ecology Seeks Comments on Draft Amendments to Shoreline Management Act Rules

Ecology Seeks Comments on Draft Amendments to Shoreline Management Act Rules

August 11, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Shorelines

The Department of Ecology is in the process of amending several of the rules related to the Shoreline Management Act. Informal comments on the preliminary draft rules are due by August 26.

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Summer Celebrations: How to Hold an Event Without Gifting Public Funds

Summer Celebrations: How to Hold an Event Without Gifting Public Funds

August 10, 2016 by Flannary Collins
Category:

Summer is a perfect time to celebrate—the days are longer, the weather is warmer, and the community-vibe is in full swing. Cities, counties, and other municipalities like to join in the summertime fun by organizing community celebrations and events. While municipalities can sponsor such events, they do need to be mindful of the gift of public funds prohibition contained in article 8, section 7 of the Washington State Constitution.

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Addressing Free Speech in your Social Media Comment Policy

Addressing Free Speech in your Social Media Comment Policy

August 9, 2016 by Josh Mahar
Category: Social Media

This post is about giving local governments some information on how and what a good approach to take is when addressing public comments on their Facebook or other social media pages.

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Compass Crossing: New Homelessness Project Connects Efficiency with Responsiveness

Compass Crossing: New Homelessness Project Connects Efficiency with Responsiveness

August 5, 2016 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Housing

A look at an innovative new homeless housing project in Seattle from Compass Housing Alliance and OneBuild.

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Recent Legislative Changes to Landlord/Seller Disclosure Requirements

Recent Legislative Changes to Landlord/Seller Disclosure Requirements

August 3, 2016 by Jim Doherty
Category:

In 2015, the Legislature enacted EHB 2122, which contained a requirement that cities, towns, and counties provide to MRSC, for posting on our website, all regulations that impose requirements on sellers or landlords to disclose designated information to purchasers or renters. This year the Legislature again took action on this issue by adopting EHB 2971, which amended the 2015 legislation and clarified the ambiguity regarding how the information must be posted 

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When to Kaizen: Events Versus Workshop

When to Kaizen: Events Versus Workshop

August 2, 2016 by Steven Thomson
Category: Performance Management-Measurement

Consultant Steven Thomson makes a case for doing the lean workshop rather than the one-day kaizen event, which can leave staff frustrated and unfulfilled.

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Washington Supreme Court Finds Begging Ordinance Unconstitutional Under Reed v. Town of Gilbert

Washington Supreme Court Finds Begging Ordinance Unconstitutional Under Reed v. Town of Gilbert

July 27, 2016 by Jim Doherty
Category: Property Nuisances

If your jurisdiction has an ordinance restricting begging, it’s time for your legal counsel to give it a close review. On July 21, the Washington Supreme Court, in City of Lakewood v. Robert Willis, struck down two sections of a City of Lakewood “begging” ordinance as unconstitutional restrictions on the First Amendment rights of an individual who was at a freeway ramp holding a sign that indicated he was disabled and needed help.

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2016 Legislative Changes Affect Some Purchasing and Contract Procedures

2016 Legislative Changes Affect Some Purchasing and Contract Procedures

July 26, 2016 by John W. Carpita, PE
Category:

On June 9, 2016 three legislative bills became effective that affect the procedures for purchasing and contracting for local governments in Washington State. Here is a quick summary of those changes.

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Accessory Dwelling Units under the Microscope

Accessory Dwelling Units under the Microscope

July 21, 2016 by Steve Butler
Category: Housing

A look at what ADUs are, how they are regulated by Washington local governments, and new regualtory innovations that may help increase their production.

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Successful Change Initiatives: As Simple as 1-2-3

Successful Change Initiatives: As Simple as 1-2-3

July 18, 2016 by Debra Hentz
Category: Initiative and Referendum , Government Performance Advisor

Simple, successful and sustainable change initiatives. That’s the promise of the power of three: a writing principle that states “things in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying and more effective than any other number of things” (per Wikipedia). The principle is based on the fact that readers are mor...

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Local Governments Now Have Clearer Investment Options Thanks to ESB 6349

Local Governments Now Have Clearer Investment Options Thanks to ESB 6349

July 14, 2016 by Toni Nelson
Category:

The 2016 legislative session produced some bills that many of us were not necessarily tracking but that may have some impact on how you invest excess funds in the future. One such bill was ESB 6349, concerning public funds, deposits, and investments. The bill was presented at the request of ...

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Spokane County Golf Courses Continuously Improve Quality of Customers’ Experience

Spokane County Golf Courses Continuously Improve Quality of Customers’ Experience

July 13, 2016 by John Dickson
Category: Performance Management-Measurement , Government Performance Advisor

As promised in my first blog post, I will be sharing a new story every few months from Spokane County’s front-line staff about how they’re leading our lean transformation at Spokane County – in their own words. This will offer readers a unique insight from staff actually doing government process improvement activities on their lean successes and challenges. Our second lean story is from Nautice Pham, CPA, Finance Manager for Spokane County Parks, Recreation and Golf Department.

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Regulating E-Cigarettes: The Federal Government Steps In

Regulating E-Cigarettes: The Federal Government Steps In

July 11, 2016 by Paul Sullivan
Category:

After months of review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued final regulations governing the manufacture, distribution, and sale of e-cigarettes, vapor liquids, and some tobacco products. The federal regulations come soon after the passage of a new Washington law (ESSB 6328) that, among other things, also regulates the sale of e-cigarettes and vapor products and prohibits their sale to persons under the age of 18. The federal regulations make additional requirements not covered by the state law, but, where both address the same subject, there does not appear to be any conflict.

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