Also, Nan Campbell honored, new appointees, public hearing on marijuana ordinance
The City Council on Monday approved minor adjustments to the city's 2013-2014 operating budget at the mid-point of the two-year spending plan. For the fifth year in a row the council did not increase property taxes. Also approved was a minor adjustment to the 2013-2019 capital budget.
Elements of the mid-biennium budget update include:
- 2014 property taxes: The council did not raise property taxes in 2014 and the city's regular property tax rate fell from $1.05 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2013, to a projected 96 cents in 2014. State law allows a property tax increase of up to 1 percent annually. Or, cities can "bank" the increases to be used in the future. Bellevue's banked capacity now stands at $9.39 million. Including a voter-approved Parks Levy (11 cents per $1,000), the city's share of property taxes for a home valued at $500,000 will be $539 in 2014.
- Development Services fees: Reviews and inspections related to land use, transportation, fire and utilities rose 1.3 to 1.5 percent to keep pace with inflation. In August the council approved hiring up to 24 new employees in response to an increase in development activities. The additional costs will be offset by additional permit fees as a result of the increased activity.
- Operating budget: The two-year operating budget, which includes a variety of funds that pay for most city services, was increased by six-tenths of 1 percent, or $5.37 million, to $876.7 million.
- Capital budget: The seven-year Capital Investment Program budget was increased $30.9 million, to $1.34 billion. On October 7 the council approved temporarily borrowing $30 million from the city's Utility Capital Investment Program Fund to pay for vital transportation projects.
- West Lake Sammamish Parkway: Following a review of a long list of unanticipated construction complications that required more excavating, extensive relocating of stormwater pipes and more traffic control, the council approved an additional $1.75 million for Phase 1 of the West Lake Sammamish Parkway project. The total construction cost was $6.57 million. Construction began in January and wrapped up in October, approximately one month ahead of schedule.
Former Mayor Nan Campbell honored
Family members, friends and councilmembers past and present remembered former councilmember and mayor Nan Campbell, who passed away on November 19. Campbell served on the council from 1982-1989 and was the city's first woman mayor, from 1988-1989.
In a statement following the meeting, Mayor Conrad Lee expressed his appreciation for "the deep, long-lasting contributions Nan Campbell made to Bellevue.
"She served -- in the best sense of the word -- her neighborhood, her children's school, human service organizations and her community. My condolences to Nan Campbell's family and friends. I hope they can take some comfort in knowing that her volunteer spirit will live on. That spirit represents one of the very best qualities of our city."
Lee also read a commendation citing Campbell's "long-standing service to the people of Bellevue, employing grace and collaboration to help so many, including those at low points in their lives who desperately needed friends in high places."
The full commendation is available as part of the council agenda material. Those paying tribute to Campbell can be seen and heard in a video of the regular city council meeting, available on Bellevue TV, indexed under "Commendation of former Mayor Nan Campbell."
Public hearing on recreational marijuana ordinance
One speaker commented during a public hearing Monday on an emergency zoning ordinance that regulates where recreational marijuana producers, processors and retailers will be allowed to locate in Bellevue.
Councilmembers approved the emergency ordinance October 21 and state law requires them to hold a public hearing within 60 days of adoption. The emergency ordinance is effective for up to six months, until April 24, 2014. The council can extend the ordinance for another six-month period, but must hold another public hearing if it does.
Adoption of the emergency ordinance was a response to the passage last year of state Initiative 502, which legalizes marijuana use by people over the age of 21. The state Liquor Control Board, charged with implementing I-502, has allocated four recreational marijuana retail licenses for Bellevue.
Following the hearing, the council approved planning principles to assist the city's Planning Commission in developing permanent land-use regulations to govern recreational marijuana uses. Principles include ensuring that businesses represent community values set forth in the city’s comprehensive plan, protecting neighborhood character and requiring sufficient security measures.
A copy of the ordinance and the planning principles is available with the council agenda materials.
Library Board, Planning Commission appointments
The council approved the appointment of Barbara Spindel to serve a vacated four-year term, until May 31, 2016, on the Library Board. John DeVadoss was appointed to serve a vacated four-year term, until May 31, 2015, on the Planning Commission. Both appointees will be eligible for re-appointment.
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