LONG BEACH - The city of Long Beach has made a job offer to one of three finalists for the city administrator vacancy and expects to finalize the deal Wednesday, June 23, but asked the Chinook Observer to withhold the name and other details until all negotiations are complete.

"I'm confident we will have a deal by Wednesday afternoon, but right now I am waiting to hear from the city's attorney [Doug Goelz] about some minor details," said Mayor Ken Ramsey. "If all goes as planned, the new city administrator will start work on July 14."

Ramsey said the interview process went smoothly, but he was sorry to see two candidates out the five finalists had decided to withdraw due to personal conflicts.

The three finalists visited Long Beach on June 11 and met with city and Peninsula leaders. City council members met with the three June 12. After this week's regular meeting, the council met in executive session to discuss hiring one of the candidates. On Tuesday afternoon, Ramsey said an offer had been made, but the contract was still under negotiation at press time.

At Monday night's city meeting, the council also awarded a bid for upgrades to the waste water treatment plant, and decided not to move Clark's Tree.

Waste water plantOn Wednesday June 16, the city opened to bid the next two phases of the WWTP upgrades. City finance director David Glasson said the city was accepting bids right up to the 2 p.m. deadline.

"At two o'clock and 33 seconds we had a gentleman walk in with the next bid, and we had to turn him away," he said. "I didn't know if it was the high bid or the low bid, but I was really bummed he didn't get here 30 seconds earlier.

Five bids were received all together. "The low bid came from Stellar Jay out of Woodland with $2.74 million. The high bid was $3.79 million, but most were right around the $3 mark."

Stellar Jay did some work for Long Beach last year when they put in the water distribution line.

Clark's TreeThe city received one bid on the cost of moving Clark's Tree to a location west of the Chatautaqua Lodge on 16th Street North. Wirkkala Construction presented a bid for $29,502 to move the tree and set it up on the Discovery Trail exactly like it is now, but it appeared the council had other plans.

"A lot of us talked the next day, and I think we've come up with other ideas than moving the tree," said councilman Mike Unruh. "We will have parking up there. We are also looking to pave that section so we can get better access."

Ramsey said he felt a resolution could be reached without moving the bronze statue. At the last meeting, the city council talked about the problems people have had parking within walking distance. The bronze statue is located one mile north of the Bolstad beach approach on the yet-to-be-paved Discovery Trail near the Breakers Condominiums

Building code updatesLong Beach city planner, Jim Sayce, gave a presentation regarding the changes to local building codes in an effort standardize international construction.

"Over the last five years, the state of Washington, in conjunction with the International Code Council and our own building association, reviewed the new updates for the international code. The International Code was purposed to facilitate development across borders," Sayce said.

"Back in the 1990s, they realized there was a lot of moving around by contractors, and they were having to address different codes in different countries and the idea came up to have an international code.

"They took the current uniform building code, and they incorporated new ideas. They also updated residential, mechanical and fire codes. The state also wanted to keep some of the old codes, and so they kept the uniform plumbing code and the Washington State Energy Code. Some jurisdictions wanted to keep certain sections of the old code they felt comfortable with using."

The state will require all new construction to follow these new codes starting in July. Some changes include: all stairways and stairway landings will have to be lit, the rise of a step will not be as high as it was, and the run will be longer. Sayce said this change reflects an aging population that does not want to have steep stairs.

New construction will no longer have to have a one-hour firewall between a house and a garage. In all, Sayce said there were more than 30 changes to the building code.

The new code also reflects the need to protect against wind gusts rather than a sustained wind, Sayce said.

"My recommendation is west of Ocean Beach Boulevard to go to a gust of 120 mph...," he said. "A gust of 120 mph is very likely in our lifetime."

Other changes reflect the harsh weather conditions found on the coast.

SummerfestDiana Tehrani made a presentation regarding SummerFest, and activities in Long Beach this summer. Tehrani volunteered to work on SummerFest after the city was left without an organizer.

She said a few problem areas had been addressed including writing a job description for someone to act as an organizer. Tehrani said the mayor had hired Darcey Goelz for that position.

She presented a preliminary schedule for summer entertainment, but said some performers had not yet been booked.

Tehrani also said clown performers would be replaced by free horse drawn wagon rides around the city. The wagon holds 12 people, and the plan is to give 20-minute rides around Long Beach.

"We can load it every 20 minutes, work in four-hour shifts, and it is still about 40 percent less than what the city was paying for clowns," she said. "I think we will get a lot more happy people, a lot more interaction and lot more visibility."

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