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Options few for Fairview photo radar project

A proposed photo-radar pilot project to monitor speeding on Fairview streets was largely resolved in February when the City Council voted to move forward and seek a contract for services. But when that request for proposals was issued, only one bid was submitted.

Interim City Manager Christy Wurster told the council on Wednesday, Sept. 2, the sole proposal called for a monthly fee of $9,400, and an $8 fee per citation issued.

Proposals were solicited from Red Flex and American Traffic Solutions, but both declined to submit a bid.

“(The issue was) probably I tightened (the budget) too much,” said Mayor Ted Tosterud.

The project stems from House Bill 3438, which allows Fairview to test photo radar in school zones.

Once initiated, it calls for photo radar cameras to cite speeding drivers on Halsey Street between 201st and 205th avenues. The zone would include Reynolds Middle School, Reynolds Learning Academy and Salish Ponds Elementary.

The original contract terms listed a 24-month service period, but with a 12-month opt out for the city. While American Traffic Solutions didn’t provide a reason for their decline to bid, Red Flex said the two-year period would not allow them to recuperate costs spent on infrastructure construction for the project. So the RFP was brought back before council, with the terms extended to 36 months, and removed the opt-out for the city.

Councilor Dan Kreamier moved, however, to amend the proposal back to the 24-month period.

“I agree with incremental change here,” said Councilor Ed Bejarana. “Go to two years and if nobody bites, we reconsider. We don’t need to jump too far, too fast.”

Police Chief Ken Johnson informed the council that a two-year project would still suffice, and would provide 18 months of data.

“Whatever they (the state legislature) get would be better than nothing at all,” Johnson said.

The bill includes a sunset provision in 2022, meaning the council has some time to gather proposals and approve a contract.

There was some council hesitation that simply removing the city opt-out clause would not be enough to prompt service proposals, but ultimately the amended RFP was approved unanimously with a note that they can continue adjusting the proposal little by little until they are happy with the response.

Council amends city administrator contract

Interim City Administrator Christy Wurster has not yet informed the council if she will apply to fill the position permanently, but at the Sept. 2 City Council meeting, her contract was amended to allow Wurster to appoint and remove city employees. This includes employees in management positions.

“I don’t have an issue with employees. My concern is with management,” said Councilor Tamie Tlustos-Arnold.

The original contract said all employees need to come before the City Council for either removal or appointment. The power to do so is held by a city administrator typically, but was not included in the interim contract.

“I would like our interim city administrator to act with the full power of the city administrator,” said Councilor Steven Prom. “That’s what we wanted when we hired you.”

Mayor Ted Tosterud was also supportive of the contract amendment, based on the logic that if a candidate is hired for the position, they would have those powers immediately.

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