During a session that featured no debate and lasted just 37 minutes, the Enumclaw City Council polished off a restructuring of the police department and agreed that senior citizens can be exempt from certain fees aimed at helping public schools.
The quickly-concluded action came during the council meeting on June 25.
With regard to the Enumclaw Police Department, the council voted to update the city’s Municipal Code, bringing it into alignment with current staffing. The issue had been studied for several months and came with a favorable recommendation from the council’s Public Safety Committee.
A review of the EPD structure came with the promotion of Bob Huebler to department chief. Huebler spent months with an interim tag before being unanimously boosted to the chief’s office.
In a late-March memo, Huebler noted some planned changes would elevate the department “to the next level of professionalism by strengthening our basic fundamentals in the area of planning, organizing, oversight, and leading.”
The council-approved action freezes a captain’s post and opens a pair of commander positions. Huebler previously explained a plan for one commander overseeing communication and jail operations, the other directing patrol and investigations.
As for the frozen captain’s position, Huebler wrote that it is unlikely to be filled soon. Significant growth could prompt an additional hire, he wrote, but “that time is not now, nor is it in the foreseen future.”
The council expedited the police request, voting to pass the required ordinance upon first reading; typically, ordinances make a second appearance before getting approval. The hurried pace, according to City Administrator Chris Searcy, was simply due to timing. A selection process had been completed, the decision to elevate Sgt. Tim Floyd to commander had been made and the June 25 action slotted well with the city’s pay schedule.
The issue of school fees and senior housing also amended a section of the Enumclaw Municipal Code, specifically a portion relating to city-charged impact fees.
Impact fees are a one-time charge, assessed by local government and leveled at new development, to help pay the cost of expanded local offerings.
The city has impact fees for a variety of reasons, schools being just one.
The owners of Mountain Villa Estates had pushed for the EMC change. They argued – and both the city and Enumclaw School District agreed – that senior citizens place little demand on public school services. Additionally, it was noted that impact fees increase the cost of homes, making it harder for seniors to qualify for loans, since many are on a limited income.