Shoreline City Council Meeting Monday November 26

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Devon Vose Rickabaugh
Notes from Shoreline City Council Meeting Monday November 26
By Devon Vose Rickabaugh

The Shoreline City Council authorized the city to purchase Brugger’s Bog Maintenance Facility from King County for $2,898,622. The maintenance facility at Hamlin Park is overcrowded and can be a safety concern, said Public Works Director Mark Relph, and with purchase of the water facility from Seattle more space will be needed. The facility will be funded by the State’s local funding program as well as initially by the General Fund and the Surface Water fund. Funding will not come from the Transportation Fund as Tom Jameson from the public accused the Council. The neighbors near the Brugger’s Bog Facility at 19553 25th Avenue NE have expressed support.

The Council adopted the 2013 Property tax levy for $9,504,320, a decrease from 2012 which was $10,190,290.The assessed property value has decreased by 7%. Councilmember Will Hall said, “It will be harder to maintain the basic services for the next few years. We will do the best we can.”

The Council also adopted the 2013 budget after a discussion about removing a $10,000 mini-grant to encourage small business growth in Shoreline. Councilmember McConnell said since property values have not recovered the Council should not approve any new line items. Councilmember Winstead said they would be sending the wrong message to businesses. Mayor McGlashan said the amount of the grant was small and to keep it in the budget would send a beneficial message to the business community.


Tom Jamieson,  November 28, 2012 at 5:38 AM  

My public comment referred to the Roads Capital Fund, and it is no accusation. These are the City's own words:

"The funding sources to meet these debt service obligations would come from the General Fund and the Surface Water Management Fund. The General Fund allocation will come from future reduced contributions to the Roads Capital Fund." --November 26, 2012 Staff Report to Shoreline City Council.

The Roads Capital Fund is going to miss out on $1,250,000 they would otherwise have received. But here was the point of my public comment. The hit will likely go unnoticed because the Roads Capital Fund is going to make up most of the difference by getting $913,000 from the Transportation Benefit District, which apparently has been saving up an excess portion of our car tabs for just such a rainy day. On November 5 (the day before the election), the Transportation Benefit District authorized the transfer. My accusation is that this action is no coincidence, and its lack of publicity no oversight.

For background, the Transportation Benefit District was formed by the City Council on June 22, 2009 (Ordinance No. 550). It is a separate taxing authority from the City, though its board is comprised of our City Council members acting ex officio, the City Manager as CEO, and the City's Finance Director as the Treasurer. Its primary function is to provide secure funding for our roads. One of the District's first actions was to impose a $20 car tab. It was more than they needed at the time, but it was the maximum that could be levied without a vote of the people. If they levied a lesser amount, they would need a vote of the people to increase it later. So they started accruing a surplus, which without advertisement they released this month to the City's Capital Roads Fund.

The very same night the Transportation Benefit District was formed, the City Council adopted its 2009-2010 Council Goals and Workplan, which made explicit for the first time (to my knowledge) an objective to "Negotiate acquisition of Seattle Public Utilities water system in Shoreline." The Goals and Workplan agendum was introduced very late in the evening (10:30pm), was discussed for a mere 6 minutes (with no mention of the SPU objective), and the motion to approve the goals and workplan passed unanimously. There had been a prior discussion at the Council's goal-setting retreat the previous month, but the provisional goals and workplan supplied at the retreat did not include the SPU objective.

The story is Car Tabs for SPU, not my accusation in public comment, should the Shoreline Area News care to investigate it.

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