The Community Livability and Public Safety Committee has recommended updating the 10-year-old memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Olympia City Council and the Council of the Neighborhood Associations (CNA) on Wednesday, May 11.
Speaking for the CNA, Tim Smith said that organization members have engaged in numerous conversations over several months last year to work on an update for anew MOU, which aims to create the foundation for a City-CNA relationship with clearly defined roles and expectations.
Smith, also the deputy director for the city’s Community Planning and Development department, has requested the committee to formally request of the city council that it move forward with the process and hire a facilitator.
He said they would create a workgroup that has the representation of CNA members, councilmembers and city staff to discuss topics divided into four categories: annual CNA work plan, communications plan, engagement of recognized neighborhood association, and CNA representation.
The city council codified neighborhood association recognition through Olympia Municipal Code (OMC) Chapter 18.86.
According to Smith, among the purposes of Chapter 18.86 are to promote widening public participation, city land-use decisions, assist in organizing education and encourage the incorporation of neighborhood associations in all city areas.
In 2012, he said the city of Olympia entered an MOU with was then called Coalition of Neighborhood Associations. “The MOU intends to provide a way to implement and give more direction on the application of Chapter 18.86.
The city and the CNA did a three-year amendment of the MOU in 2015 and 2018.
Smith noted a few changes made to the MOU, but “it has been kind of the same for the last 10 years.”
CNA president Larry Dzieza said that while there are good things that came out of the MOU, there are also many things in the MOU that they are not achieving, both on the city and CNA side.
Smith added that some actions in the MOU are not consistent with the city code.
“There are areas where we can improve the MOU updated with the current times and reflect current trends,” Smith said.
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