The Normandy Park City Council met on Tuesday night, April 9, 2024 to consider a variety of topics.

First, the Arts Commission presented their annual report and requested a budget increase to expand popular events.

In addition, Waste Management, the city’s garbage service provider, delivered their annual report and addressed customer concerns about long customer service wait times and missed pickups.

Finally, the council approved a bid for a new, more efficient backup generator to replace the aging and noisy current model.

Arts Commission Annual Presentation & Potential Budget Increase

Arts Commission Chair Raymond Street gave a presentation on the various arts activities that took place in Normandy Park in 2023. The Solstice Soiree was extremely popular, and the Arts Commission would like to expand it for 2024. Since the event was at capacity, expansion would involve setting up and decorating a large heated tent adjacent to the building. In addition, last year the musical performance was done for free, but for future events the city would have to pay any performers.

The above changes, plus inflation and some needed purchases like signs and event prizes, has prompted the commission to ask for an additional $11,000 above their usual budget for the next year. After the presentation and much discussion clarifying the costs of a variety of events, Council agreed to vote on this budget amendment at the next meeting. At that time there will be a more specific breakdown of which costs are upgrades, and which are maintenance of arts events as they are. Council expressed support for the community arts events, while hesitating to approve such a large budget increase without seeing a specific breakdown of what the money will be used for.

Waste Management Annual Report

This annual report of garbage service provider Waste Management (WM) involved several apologies and promises to do better to meet the terms of their contract with the city. Customers have complained of inordinately long wait times when they call, ranging from an average of 14 minutes to as long as an hour.

WM said only .01% of total pickups were missed, and they were always able to come by the following day to collect- after customers made that long phone call to report it.

WM is working on improving ways to contact them, like having a feature on their app that lets customers report a missed pickup without a phone call. They are also prioritizing Normandy Park customers over other callers, which should reduce the wait time for locals.

Currently WM pays the city $2500 per month in non-compliance fees, and will continue to do so until reaching the terms laid out in the contract. They hope to be in compliance with call center times stipulated in their contract by May.

They are also working on strategies to get customers recycling and using yard waste bins more, minimizing trash production and landfill use. Residential customers send about 50% of their waste to a landfill, and the rest is divided between compost and recycling. WM is hoping to increase garbage diversion even more in 2024, which will likely involve working with business owners and apartment managers, where the vast majority of waste is still going in the garbage rather than being sorted and recycled. They hope to make recycling more convenient and spread awareness that customers can save money by reducing garbage.

Representatives will be doing public outreach at events in the city nearly every month in 2024. In order to encourage composting, they are giving away free kitchen compost collection bins. They will have a few to give away on hand at several community events, and will deliver a container for free if customers request one. Only 27 customers so far have requested their free kitchen compost collection bin. Email to request yours.

Bid Approved For New Backup Generator

The city’s current backup generator, which keeps things like the police department running during power outages, was installed in the late 1970s. According to Ken Courter, it is noisy, inefficient, and in need of many expensive repairs. It also runs on diesel fuel, which must be trucked in to refuel it.

The new power generator will be fueled by natural gas, and be much quieter and cleaner. Because it will be installed on a natural gas pipeline, no trucks will be needed to bring in more fuel, and it will provide power for as long as needed during sustained outages. The new generator will also have lower maintenance costs.

The estimated installation time is the end of the year. At that time the old generator will be auctioned for scrap. Money had already been allotted in the budget for this known need, and Council approved the bid for the new generator unanimously.