Shoreline City Council Meeting July 23, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Notes from Shoreline City Council Meeting July 23, 2012
By Devon Vose Rickabaugh

The Shoreline City Council directed the City Manager to proceed with the acquisition of parts of the water utility in Shoreline currently controlled by Seattle Public Utility (SPU). The plan is for the city to write a ballot measure to bring before the council for approval on August 6th which would go before the voters next November.

A twenty-three member citizen steering committee studied the acquisition from technical and financial aspects with input from engineers and those with background in finance. The committee recommended continuing with the acquisition process stating in their letter to City Manager Underwood that the acquisition would give Shoreline greater control since Seattle now decides Shoreline rates and charges citizens 14% premium for living outside Seattle, “money which should stay in Shoreline and be reinvested in Shoreline’s system”. In addition Shoreline rate payers pay a Seattle Utility tax that helps fund Seattle’s police, fire and parks.

Deputy Mayor Eggen pointed out that the Seattle City Council is not as concerned with Shoreline’s water needs as the Shoreline City Council would be. “If we here in Shoreline mess up in running a water district you can fire us.”

Several members of the public questioned the amount of money it would take to acquire the utility and the amount of water storage that would be available. Councilmember Roberts recommended further study to answer questions before bringing it before the public. Diane Pottinger, District Manager of Shoreline Water District, the other utility which provides water to Shoreline, said in a letter to the steering committee that “if the citizens vote in favor of Shoreline becoming a authorized water utility” the city could “proceed in the future to take over ownership and operation of the Shoreline Water District without a vote of the water district residents.”

Mayor McGlashan said he felt moving ahead with the process of acquisition is “the right thing to do for the city. There will be risks. But we’ll be able to hear more from the citizens and explain what’s going on.”


Anonymous,  July 25, 2012 at 5:40 AM  

More than one city councilmember mentioned they could be "fired" at the next election at the Monday night meeting, they should be careful what they wish for given the fact they have gone along with the city staff in:

building a city hall that is half empty
raising our property taxes but the city will be broke next year
proposing the purchase of SPU that will raise our water rates 3%
passing a $20 car tab fee so we can get more sidewalks and road repair, oh wait, about those sidewalks..

next up on the agenda are local improvement districts (LIDs) - you can tax your own little paradise so you can get your sidewalks, the city is out of money and spending the half-million per year from the car tab fee collections on other things

not to mention the annexation of 145th Street, which will cost the city over $160,000 per year to maintain

Where is the money tree in Shoreline, evidently the city staff and city council think there is a forest of money trees.

Wendy DiPeso,  July 25, 2012 at 7:43 AM  

Devon did a good job showing that this proposal is not a simple one. Thanks Devon.
Council member Chris Roberts pointed out that 4 of the 5 engineers on the Ad Hoc committee studying the proposal and problems with it. He was very courageous in raising important legal and technical questions that have yet to be resolved.
Gaining local control of our utilities is a valid goal, but the City has not looked at all the options available for doing so. This proposal also gives the City of Shoreline unlimited taxing authority with just 4 council votes.

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