Public Works Board’s FirstStop Initiative Aims to Better Connect Local Governments to Infrastructure Resources

FirstStop LogoWashington’s Public Works Board (PWB) is a well-loved organization among public works professionals. Through their most popular program, the Public Works Assistance Account (PWAA), local governments in Washington State have received over 1,900 low-interest loans to finance much-needed public infrastructure construction and rehabilitation. But PWB is, indeed, about much more than just money. Through their new FirstStop Initiative, PWB has brought together a host of resources, including a robust online tool, to provide local governments like yours with both the financial and technical support to develop sustainable infrastructure systems in their communities. Continue reading

Posted in Transportation and Infrastructure | Leave a comment

Cooperative Senior Housing: An Alternative to Meet the Needs of Today’s Senior Citizens

Delano Sr Housing

Proposed Delano Crossing Senior Cooperative in Delano, MN

A tsunami of baby boomers (some 75 million strong) are joining the ranks of America’s senior citizens.  The boomers’ different life expectancy, ethnic diversity, lifestyle preferences, and attitudes are changing the complexion of our aging population.  The needs of retirees who preceded the boomers continue to change as they age.  Addressing these needs will require some creative thinking on the part of policy makers and planners.  Innovative alternatives such as senior co-operative housing may better address the needs of today’s seniors than traditional senior housing models. Continue reading

Posted in Best Practices, Demographics, Housing, Planning | 1 Comment

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: To Charge or Not to Charge?

courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation

courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation

In recent years, local governments in Washington State have been installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at their government facilities.  MRSC recently partnered with Western Washington Clean Cities for an EV Charging Conference, where I gave a presentation on the legal concerns with providing agency employees and members of the public free charging at agency-owned EV charging stations. Continue reading

Posted in Legal, Personnel, Transportation and Infrastructure | 4 Comments

2014 General Election: Bonds and Levy Lid Lifts Struggle

Spokane Riverfront Park adam_jones

Spokane voters approved bonds to overhaul Riverfront Park, one of just two bond measures to pass easily. Photo courtesy of Adam Jones.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the final election results, which were certified on November 26.

The Washington State general election results have officially been certified, so we now know the fates of all of the local ballot measures.

The measures ranged from the usual taxes and bonds to the slightly quixotic, such as a sixth vote on the Seattle monorail and an attempt to change Blaine’s name.

I’ve updated the MRSC Local Ballot Measure Database with the complete results – but let’s look broadly at how voters responded to different types of measures.

Continue reading

Posted in Elections, Finance, Governance, Levies | 1 Comment

What if Some of Your Elected or Appointed Officials Have Not Yet Completed Open Government Training Act Requirements?

The Open Government Trainings Act enacted by the 2014 Legislature (ESB 5964, Laws of 2014, ch. 66) requires training for some local government officials in the fundamentals of the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA), Public Records Act (PRA), and records retention requirements. Many local government officials have already completed these training requirements, which are not burdensome. However, we are receiving calls from some local governments asking what to do about those officials who haven’t completed this training yet this year. Basically, is that a problem? Continue reading

Posted in Legal, Open Meetings, Public Records | 2 Comments

Four Tools for Retaining Records of Your Social Media Content

Social media brings a whole new avenue of public records. Photo by Peter Rasmussen

The rise of social media adds a new dimension to public records retention. Photo by Peter Rasmussen.

A little while ago MRSC hosted a webinar on social media for governments. We gave people some great information on best practices in social media and also highlighted some of the common public records issues that agencies need to be aware of. But one thing we could have addressed a bit better was what tools are out there for actually archiving your social media content to comply with the PRA.

Well, never fear, we’re back with some more information. I’ve done a little sleuthing through phone conversations, web research, and sitting through some overly long demos and sales pitches. I’ve compiled this research into some useful information on four different tools you can use to archive your social media content. Continue reading

Posted in Governance, Information Services and Technology, Public Records | 2 Comments