Pacific Security 'wins' no bid contract in Leavenworth

Pacific Security gets $62K Leavenworth 'no bid' contract:
Overnight rentals targeted for investigations, enforcement

By Ian Dunn
The Leavenworth City Council has approved a new professional services agreement with Parker Corporate Services, which does business as Pacific Security. There are three items for this contract, said City Administrator Joel Walinski, at the Jan. 23 city council meeting.
"One is for onsite security services in the Leavenworth downtown commercial area and surrounding residential areas," Walinski said. "We also have the officers from Pacific Patrol do the parking enforcement. The final thing is, we've used Pacific Patrol to do investigations and enforcement of overnight rentals."
The total of the contract for 2018 is $62,000, which is a not-to-exceed amount. The contract runs from May 1 to Sept. 30. Walinski said they patrol the downtown primarily, but two years ago, they also had them patrol the parks, Waterfront, Enchantment.
"We also have them, two or three times a night, jump in their car and drive through the residential neighborhoods and also the school areas. They perform that task, definitely Friday and Saturday nights," Walinski said. "The have two officers. The first officer starts about 5 p.m. The second officer comes on at 10 p.m. and they work until 2 or 3 a.m."
This project started as a way to break up the after hours drinking in parking lots in the downtown area after the bars closed. Walinski said that was successful.
"We've also noticed since we've had security patrols, we've reduced the amount of nuisance damage, pulled down flower baskets, tipped over trash cans and those types of things. That's a good thing," he said.
Pacific Security also does parking enforcement, both for pay parking lots and also enforcement for parking in yellow zones, timed parking zones, parking on the sidewalk, basically to assist Chelan County Deputies.
The cost of the enforcement actually pays for itself through tickets and fees, Walinski noted. There are six, three-hour shifts, which are randomized. There are at least one or two patrols every single day.
"The final one is we set aside $10,000 to assist the city with the overnight rental enforcement. That provides us with a 24-hour hotline if anyone wants to report overnight rental activity. Then it provides us with investigative services," he said.
If the city gets a tip or report on overnight rental activity, they can send it to Pacific Security.
"They do internet search, do a drive by, then whatever search to collect information. We also have dollars set aside if we need to take the next step to do undercover observation or undercover rental," Walinski said.
Last year, the city set aside $60,000 to combat illegal overnight rentals.
"We didn't spend hardly any of that. I think more credit goes to Nate (Nate Pate, Development Services Manager) and his crew in terms of sending out lots of public education to homes or properties we thought were doing overnight rentals," Walinski said. "I think it changed them to long term rentals or they went very deep underground. That's what we have set up for the year. This is a one year contract. It starts Feb. 1 and runs through Jan. 31."
Councilman Jason Lundgren asked if there had been any kind of bid process to select Pacific Security. Walinski said they did a few years back, but not recently. Mayor Cheri Kelley Farivar said the bid process is difficult because there is only one local service.
Lundgren asked if Ram would be a viable option.
"There is another company called Ram. That might be something to look into next year, which might help with the pricing," Walinski said.
Councilman Elmer Larsen said their first year, Pacific Security apprehended somebody in the parking lot of Der Hinterhof with a couple of expensive bikes in the back of a pick-up. Larsen said they also get good feedback from the merchants.
"They walk into businesses and say hi. They go to the motels and check in. They do what we would want the local law enforcement to do. The sheriff provides some of that," Larsen said. "Basically, we're talking about somebody stretched out between Stevens Pass and Blewett Pass. They are spread so thin. This gives a presence in town, gives a real feeling of security."
Farivar said Pacific Security reports on the activity, something the sheriff's department does not do.
Pacific Security sends reports every month about what they did while they were in town, she said.
"They saw where they were, what they observed in the park, observed in the school ... and what they did about it. We've never, as much as we've tried, been able to get the Chelan County Sheriff's Department to report to us where they really do spend their time," Farivar said. "It's a refreshing difference. It feels to me this has been money very well spent."
The chamber has started using them for festivals, like around the Glüvein tent at Christmas time, Farivar said.  
"They have become an important part of Leavenworth's face," Farivar said.
Councilwoman Mia Bretz asked if the $10,000 set aside would enough if the city had to pursue legal action to stop overnight rentals.
"We would do the investigation and do the initial enforcement, in terms of notifying them of possible fines. Then, if we are going to take some serious steps, we would have a conversation with council because that's where we would take court action," Walinski said. "I think this $10,000 gives us enough. I don't anticipate spending it all. If we get that one that wants to push back, it's give us enough of a start."
After having things go "swimmingly" last year, Bretz said she did not want to back off.
"I think that's why it's important to maintain the continuity. I've asked to reconsider sending out the information through our newsletter," Walinski said.
Councilwoman Sharon Waters asked if letters should be sent to realtors, so they can tell people that overnight rentals are illegal.
"I think it is fair to say there are a lot overnight rentals in the county and people have been purchasing those with expectation they can be used for overnight rentals. The realtors were not disabusing them on this, telling them it can be done inside the city limits too," Farivar said. "We felt it was important to send that out to the realtors so they are on notice as well."
Walinski said they've also sent notices to property maintenance companies.
"I've had a conversation with Almost There Property Care. They told me, 'we had clients inside the city limits, but we dropped them. We are not going to get crossways with the city.' It helps to have that attitude. It's okay to do it in the county, but not in the city limits," Farivar said.

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