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Recounts, Ties, and Other Post-Election Scenarios

Recounts, Ties, and Other Post-Election Scenarios

November 14, 2017 by Jill Dvorkin
Category: Elections

Legal Consulant Jill Dvorkin looks at issues that may arise after a general election, such as recounts, ties, election contests, and assumption of office.

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Ballot Measures Part 2: Forms of Government, Marijuana Bans, and Non-Revenue Measures

Ballot Measures Part 2: Forms of Government, Marijuana Bans, and Non-Revenue Measures

November 13, 2017 by Steve Hawley
Category: Elections , Forms of Government-City , Recreational and Medical Marijuana

Senior Communications Coordinator Steve Hawley recaps some of the non-revenue ballot measures in the general election, including Shelton abandoning its commission form of government, Port Angeles retaining its code city classification, and voters expressing support for existing marijuana bans.

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Ballot Measures Part 1: Affordable Housing Taxes, Revenue Measures, and Low Voter Turnout

Ballot Measures Part 1: Affordable Housing Taxes, Revenue Measures, and Low Voter Turnout

November 9, 2017 by Steve Hawley
Category: Revenues , Elections

Senior Communications Coordinator Steve Hawley recaps some of the local funding measures in this year’s general election, including the state’s first affordable housing sales tax, the failure of a voted REET 2 measure, and low turnout causing problems for bonds and levies.

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Understanding Municipal Rights-of-Way: From Centerline to Edge (Part 2)

Understanding Municipal Rights-of-Way: From Centerline to Edge (Part 2)

November 7, 2017 by Oskar Rey
Category: Streets and Sidewalks

In the second of three posts on understanding municipal rights-of-way, Legal Consultant Oskar Rey discusses sidewalks, street trees, and the areas near the outer edge of the right-of-way. 

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Budget Hearings: How Many Do You Need to Hold?

Budget Hearings: How Many Do You Need to Hold?

November 2, 2017 by Toni Nelson
Category: Budgets and Budgeting , Legislative Body

One question we get asked often this time of year is: “How many public hearings are required for the budget process?" That answer is, it depends on type of government. Finance Consultant Toni Nelson reviews the requirements. 

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Post-Election Odds and Ends: Bonds, Oaths and Taking Office

Post-Election Odds and Ends: Bonds, Oaths and Taking Office

October 30, 2017 by Jim Doherty
Category: Elections

This blog discusses some of the odds and ends that need to be wrapped up before newly elected officials can get down to the business of governing.

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Employee Recognition Programs

Employee Recognition Programs

October 26, 2017 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Compensation

Acknowledging a job well done can be a powerful motivator for your employees. However, local governments must consider constitutional prohibitions against gifts. Consultant Lynn Nordby explores this restriction and offers some guidance on creating employee recognition programs that won't run afoul of the law. 

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Municipal Giving and Receiving

Municipal Giving and Receiving

October 24, 2017 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Gift of Public Funds

The holiday season is approaching. What are the rules surrounding municipal gift "giving" and "receiving?" Consultant Paul Sullivan explores the rules and offers some advice. 

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Renton Builds an Inclusive City, One Step at a Time

Renton Builds an Inclusive City, One Step at a Time

October 18, 2017 by Leah LaCivita
Category: Inclusive Communities

After seeing a dramatic growth in its population, in particular among ethnic and cultural minorities, the city of Renton undertook an ambitious effort to ensure all constituents have equal access to city services and equal opportunity for civic engagement. 

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Sewer Rate Structure Alternatives for Utilities

Sewer Rate Structure Alternatives for Utilities

October 11, 2017 by FCS GROUP
Category: Finance Advisor , Utilities - Billing and Collection

What options are there for utilities in determining how to structure sewer usage rates, depending on the customer type? A volume-based rate option for all consumers is one, but an agency must consider which approach to take and it must make sure that such an approach aligns with organizational policy objectives. 

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Rosters for Public Works, A&E, and Purchases

Rosters for Public Works, A&E, and Purchases

October 5, 2017 by Judy Isaac
Category: Purchasing and Contracting

Use of a roster service offers a less restrictive and time-consuming method than the formal, competitive bid process. Public Works Consultant Judy Isaac reviews the types of rosters that are available to local governments in Washington State. 

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Ninth Circuit Holds Reed v. Town of Gilbert Does Not Extend to Commercial Speech

Ninth Circuit Holds Reed v. Town of Gilbert Does Not Extend to Commercial Speech

October 3, 2017 by Robert Sepler
Category: Court Decisions, AGO Opinions and Regulations , Sign Control

On August 16, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Contest Promotions v. City and County of San Francisco, providing its first official guidance on the question of whether Reed v. Town of Gilbert controls the regulation of commercial speech as well as noncommercial speech. In this blog post, MRSC Legal Consultant Robert Sepler gives an overview of this case.

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Understanding Municipal Rights-of-Way: From Centerline to Edge (Part 1)

Understanding Municipal Rights-of-Way: From Centerline to Edge (Part 1)

September 27, 2017 by Oskar Rey
Category: Streets and Sidewalks

MRSC gets a lot of inquiries about street rights-of-way. Over the years, we have touched on specific aspects of rights-of-way on our website and in blog articles. In this two part series, MRSC Legal Consultant Oskar Rey will cover the fundamentals of rights-of-way and the duties of local government and abutting owners.

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Implicit Price Deflator Exceeds 1%

Implicit Price Deflator Exceeds 1%

September 21, 2017 by Toni Nelson
Category: Economic, Population and Historical Tax Data

As of September 25, the rate of inflation on the implicit price deflator for personal consumption expenditures over the past 12 months is 1.553%, meaning local governments may levy the full 1% increase or bank this capacity for future use. Finance Consultant Toni Nelson discusses the options available to jurisdictions. 

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Safe Injection Sites and the Opioid Crisis

Safe Injection Sites and the Opioid Crisis

September 21, 2017 by Flannary Collins
Category: Human, Health and Community Services

Claiming the lives of 142 Americans every day by drug overdose, the opioid crisis has been called a “Killer Drug Epidemic” and each level of government is reacting. In this blog post, MRSC Legal Consultant Flannary Collins gives a brief overview of the steps that federal, state, and local governments have taken so far to address this crisis. 

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Communications in 10-5-1

Communications in 10-5-1

September 18, 2017 by Bob Jean
Category: Public Participation

Just as in our personal relations, communications are essential for fostering good community relations. Council/Commission Advisor Bob Jean looks at the role of the message, messenger, and media in local government communications efforts. 

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Legislature Enacts Paid Family Leave

Legislature Enacts Paid Family Leave

September 13, 2017 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Leave Policies , New Legislation

The state legislature has adopted a bill that provides most employees in Washington State with paid leave to care for their health conditions, the health condition of a family member, or for the birth or placement of an adopted or foster child. This post summarizes the new legislation and some of the differences between it and the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

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Building Consensus for Bellevue’s Affordable Housing Strategy

Building Consensus for Bellevue’s Affordable Housing Strategy

September 11, 2017 by Michael Kattermann
Category: Housing

According to a 2015 survey, a lack of affordable housing was cited as a major challenge for Bellevue businesses. Guest author Micheal Katterman talks about the city's successful effort to build an affordable housing strategy— by building consensus among a variety of stakeholders. 

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Emergency Planning 101

Emergency Planning 101

September 7, 2017 by Lynn Nordby
Category: Emergency Management

Does your community have an emergency plan? Is it strong enough and written in a way to serve as an organizing document during what is likely to be a tumultuous time? Consultant Lynn Nordby urges readers to follow the Scout motto and “Be Prepared”— for anything.

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Paid Sick Leave Starts January 1

Paid Sick Leave Starts January 1

September 5, 2017 by Paul Sullivan
Category: Leave Policies

Starting January 1, 2018, all employers in the state, including all local government agencies, must provide paid sick leave for their employees. In this blog post, MRSC Legal Consultant Paul Sullivan responds to some possible questions about the new paid sick leave requirements.

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