Unsafe Buildings Put Everett Public Works Employees At Risk.

October 1, 2016

Everett, Everett Government

Everett Public Works

You can see where epoxy has been used to fill the cracks in building 1

Everett Public Works

There are huge cracks in multiple areas of the service center.

Everett Public Works

Those who take care of Everett’s infrastructure are facing serious problems at their own buildings.

Everett Public Works employees are the people who have to shut off the water and fix the main when it breaks. They have to maintain the streets and bridges that most of us take for granted.

Basically when something the City of Everett owns breaks…these folks fix it. That’s why there’s a new urgency for a very expensive replacement project at the headquarters, shops, buildings and work areas for the Everett Public Works Department itself.

Some of the public works buildings are subject to failure in an earthquake. In addition to the obvious physical danger to employees, it also means crews wouldn’t be able to get to needed equipment or materials in the event of a major disaster. That can domino into all kinds of issues for emergency responders and regular Everett residents.

For the last eight years managers at the Everett Public Works department have tried to find a cost effective way to either repair what they’ve been patching for decades or find another location that provides the needed safety and access to operate, replace and maintain Everett’s infrastructure. Over that time the number one answer keeps coming back to tearing down what they have now and rebuilding in their current location.

This Wednesday the Everett City Council is expected to authorize a call for bids to replace the Everett Public Works facilities at a cost of $70 million dollars. There will be a range of methods to pay off that big bill including selling of surplus city property and a rate increase for your utility bill. Here’s a further explanation of what is planned and the reasons why as provided by Kathleen Baxter who handles public information and education for the Everett Public Works Department…

City of Everett officials are highlighting the need to replace the aging Public Works Service Center, which would play a critical role following a disaster. In the event of a major emergency, the current condition of several Public Works buildings poses a significant risk to Everett residents and the hundreds of thousands of people outside the city who get their water from the Everett Water System.

The 14-acre Public Works Service Center campus is located just east of downtown on Cedar Street. Some of the buildings date back to 1971, including Building 1, the administration building that houses the maintenance and operations functions of the City’s water, sewer, and road systems, as well as engineering, permit services, and traffic control.

Both Building 1 and Building 4, from which crews and equipment deploy, have been evaluated by outside engineering teams and found to not meet the minimum life-safety performance levels for buildings in the regional earthquake zone. Engineers predict that the two buildings would sustain enough structural damage during a design-level event (the maximum considered earthquake based on specific location, soil type and the building’s lateral-force-resistance system) that they would be in danger of partial or even complete collapse.

“In the event of a major disaster like an earthquake, Public Works facilities and personnel are critical to immediate and long-term recovery efforts,” said Dave Davis, public works director. “Given the state of our facilities today, we would face severely damaged or even destroyed buildings, which would cause significant to catastrophic response delays.”

Plans are underway to redevelop the Service Center campus, by demolishing existing buildings and constructing a new office building for City administrative functions, maintenance shops, a consolidated warehouse, street-level parking for employees and public vehicles, covered parking for maintenance vehicles, and enclosed parking for the City’s service trucks.

With the help of several consultants, including DLR Group, the City has conducted research since 2008 to determine the most expedient way to solve the problem of replacing the facilities while mitigating the cost to ratepayers and water customers outside the city limits. Options included seismic retrofitting, partial reuse of existing buildings with new construction, and relocation to a new site. None of those options met the criteria for a fully functional department, within a feasible budget, that provides the highest uninterrupted service to the City and its citizens.

Ultimately, DLR Group determined that building a new Service Center complex on the existing site is the most efficient and cost effective path to providing for these critical facilities to remain functional during a major emergency.

The cost of the redevelopment is estimated to be $70 million (an amount that includes construction, sales tax, legally mandated contingency fees, design, data and communications systems, moving, and furniture). The average monthly cost of this project to single-family Everett households, in the form of utility bill increase, is estimated at $1.80 per month per year as shown below:

  • Year 1 $1.80/month
  • Year 2 $3.60/month
  • Year 3 $5.40/month
  • Year 4 $7.80/month

The Public Works Department is seeking City Council’s concurrence on Wednesday, Oct. 5 to proceed with the next phases: schematic design and design development for the project.

The City of Everett water system now supplies water to about 570,000 people or 80 percent of the businesses and residents of the Snohomish County through a network of local water providers.

For more information
More information about the project can be found on the Service Center project webpage:www.everettwa.gov/servicecenter.

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About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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19 Responses to “Unsafe Buildings Put Everett Public Works Employees At Risk.”

  1. Trump Says:

    Complaining will get all of you no where. Unfortanulety most of you will have no way comprehending this comment but some of you will. These things you complain about will never change by you feeling how you feel. What matters is that you live your life by doing good for others. How have you helped humanity?!?! If you haven’t, than you haven’t learn d a thing. Good luck and safe travels. ❤️

  2. Moose Says:

    None of you are required to remain residents of Snohomish County. If you are unhappy with your rates and taxes, maybe you should move to a region that better suits your financial situation.

    • skankhunt42 Says:

      Yah! If you don’t like it you can git out! I second that.

      People who have lived here for decades- who’ve basically built Snohomish co. economy by being regular taxpayers and contributing the the area can all leave! Let the new tech employees from California or New York take your house so Moose can get computer help. He likes increased bills. He’s be fine if they said “You pay 100 a month, or you don’t get squat.”

      This guy is probably supporting ST3. I’m with you buddy!! New transportation for my unfertilized children!!

    • skankhunt42 Says:

      Spoken like a true politician. Is that you, Mayor?

    • Jordan Says:

      You mean like…Thurston, Lewis, Skagit, Skamanee, Chelan, Okanogan, and Whatcom counties?

  3. Soul Power Says:

    What about all of the money PUD stole from us with their “estimating” scheme?

    • Judy Says:

      I agree Soul Power. They ESTIMATE, and we have to pay the ESTIMATE. The bill I received Friday was an ESTIMATE. They were to start reading meters on October 1. Why not wait. I am so tired of their stealing from us every other month. At least it was not $82.00 like the previous ESTIMATE!

  4. Wa-Fix Says:

    Wow more taxes! Bring on the taxes! Bring on the bad ideas!

  5. Gray Eagle Says:

    Well hell…

    As homeowners maybe we should all just quit-claim deed our homes over to all the Snohomish county taxing authorities and save them the trouble of nickle and diming us to death until no one can afford to own a home in Everett or Snohomish County.

    The PUD, Everett Utilities et. al, just can’t seem to be able to manage their money or exist within the constraints of a balanced budget.

    The increases listed in the article are stated in monthly increases in an attempt to psychologically soften the blow of stating the annual increases as follows:

    $1.80 per month = $21.60 annually
    $3.60 per month = $43.20 annually
    $5.40 per month = $83.40 annually &
    $7.80 per month = $93.60 annually for a sum total of $223.20 per year by the fourth year. Add that to your current utility bill for the full cost.

    At first glance some of the more affluent folks will just shrug this off. Those on fixed incomes, well… you don’t need your medications. Forget about it! Eat less while your at it.

    But you know it wont stop there. As a home owner, all the tax increases remind me of sitting in the path of a tsunami unable to avoid the impending doom of the taxman.

    This didn’t just all of a sudden “happen”. The city has known about this problem for well over a decade and made no effort to start budgeting for this eventual expenditure.

    The unbridled greed and incompetent financial management of the city and county is beyond comprehension. The financial bloodletting forced upon the homeowners so the elite top managers and directors can give themselves exuberant pay raises can only be compared to the land barons of England and Europe.

    Lets face it. As a homeowner, we are a stationary target for every taxing authority in the county. Their philosophy is, need more money? Tap the homeowners! We don’t need no stinking balanced budget. We’ve have homeowners (i.e stationary targets) to fill our financial trough any time we need it.

    So what if companies like Boeing get multi-billion dollar tax breaks.

    Meanwhile, those homeowners that have dedicated themselves toward paying off that mortgage keep loosing ground month-by-month, year-by-year. If you achieve that illusive payoff, well, the taxman will forever come calling until you can no longer afford the taxes imposed on your prized possession and are forced to sell or worse, loose the home in a tax auction.

    My question is, what the hell has been happening to all the money collected by all the previous wholesale tax increases? The pretty lights on the new Broadway bridge or name your favorite pork barrel feelgood project that adds no return value to taxpayers.

    Signed,
    One of the Despicable

    • Judy Says:

      Great comment!!!!!

    • Wa-fix Says:

      Wow the comment was better than the article itself!!

    • skankhunt42 Says:

      I happen to know PUD is a stellar company run by stellar people. These charges they are adding on are fine with me, if I could I would donate to this organization. I don’t mind paying the 8 dollars to keep them safe. They provide excellent service for us. I’d pay $10. People pay $10 a day to drive the carpool.

      I hope they see this and know I love them. If I had a list of my favorite companies to deal with, PUD is second only to Comcast/Xfinity. The only reason that Comcast gets a better review in my book is because I get to watch tv, and I get it cheap! $300 dollars for pretty much any movie to watch pre-2002? But I guess I need utilities too- So I can’t decide.

      So I don’t really understand what your griping about. They’re stellar. Public Works of Everett is a wonderful team too. They did the sidewalk outside our house last year, the guys were working in shifts real hard to get it done. It only took them 4 months, and the sidewalk looks great.

      We gotta keep these guys safe so they can keep us happy. Help em out!

    • GeoffTheGodOfBiscuits Says:

      You are so bad at math.

      It averages out to $54 per year, over 4 years. That is a total of $216 after 4 years.

      Not $223.20 per year.

      Good scare tactics for your rant, though.

      • skankhunt42 Says:

        Resident math whiz doesn’t realize that an extra amount of anything makes people mad. But loves giving money away. A human charity this one is!

        Imposed fees and additional taxes = strong arm robbery of the everyday citizen.

  6. Sharon Says:

    Smart idea Twincedars

  7. Bourne Says:

    How much of the >>$70 MILLION<< will be budgeted for artwork? Have they heard about leasing facilities?

  8. Twincedars Says:

    I’m going to check out Everett’s CAFR (Comprehesive Annual Financial Report), and you should too. I suspect they already have the funds to pay for this without any rate increase needed.