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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Council Roundup: Police chief reassures council

Also, new web portal for B & O tax collection in the works

Embarrassing incidents reportedly involving off-duty Bellevue police officers before and during a Sept. 16 Seattle Seahawks game will be thoroughly investigated, Police Chief Linda Pillo told the City Council Monday. 

"I want to assure you that I share your concern about the reported actions of these officers," Chief Pillo said. "The incidents have been embarrassing and disheartening."

When the department's Office of Professional Standards completes the investigation in approximately 30 days, "I will impose appropriate discipline for any and all violations that occurred," Pillo noted.

According to news reports, three off-duty officers went to the Seahawks game, got into a confrontation with a Seattle Police officer directing traffic outside CenturyLink Field and then with a fan sitting near them in the stands. In both cases witnesses said the officers identified themselves as Bellevue police. They were thrown out of the stadium during the game.

According to department policy, "Employees, whether on duty or off duty, will not commit any act tending to bring reproach or discredit upon the Department or the City of Bellevue."

"I want to emphasize that the reported off-duty incidents of the officers are not indicative of the Bellevue Police Department," Pillo said. "Your officers provide extraordinary service to the Bellevue community every day. I'm proud of their work and their dedication to provide the highest level of law enforcement."

Bellevue has a low crime rate. In 2011, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies recognized the Bellevue Police Department as a "flagship" agency, citing the department for exemplifying law enforcement best practices.

"Unfortunately this happened," Mayor Conrad Lee said. "But your response has been exemplary. Hopefully, whatever damage this has caused can be repaired swiftly."

Contact: Carla Iafrate, Police Public Information Officer, 425-452-4129 or ciafrate@bellevuewa.gov   
New portal could make business tax reporting easier
Councilmembers on Monday approved taking the next step to streamline the way companies report and pay their Business and Occupation (B&O) tax.

Bellevue and four other large cities in western Washington (Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Bellingham) are working to create one-stop, online tool designed to make it easier for businesses to register and pay local B&O taxes, share data and lower costs.

The joint effort is a response to state legislation proposed early this year that would have changed the way B&O taxes are collected. For Bellevue alone, such a change would lower the amount of revenue collected by $1.6 to $6 million.

In 2011, Bellevue collected about $24.5 million in B&O taxes from approximately 18 percent of the city’s 35,000 licensed businesses. Most firms are exempt from the tax because their annual, taxable gross receipts are less than the $150,000 threshold, or because the size of their business is less than 250 square feet. 

Councilmembers directed staff to consult with the Bellevue business community and return in November with proposed tax code changes to simplify filing, make it more understandable, eliminate inconsistencies and make the multi-city tax portal possible.

For more information, see the council study session item at http://www.bellevuewa.gov/pdf/City%20Council/PacketExtendedStudySession9-24-123c.pdf

Feedback: Chris Bothwell, Tax Manager, 425-452-4358, or cbothwell@bellevuewa.gov

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