Council Roundup: Discussion on Puget Sound Energy franchise agreement

City Council meeting to discuss PSE Franchise Agreement

Council Roundup: Discussion on Puget Sound Energy franchise agreement

On Monday, the City Council further discussed an updated franchise agreement for electrical energy with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and related Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). It was the third meeting this year to consider the topic. 

The proposed 10-year agreement is mandated under state law and is needed to manage the city’s publicly-owned rights of way. A total of five MOUs specifically address community-raised concerns over vegetation management, the removal of discontinued poles, performance and reliability, and administrative concerns over facility records and relocation procedures. 

The franchise agreement does not apply to private property where, for instance, powerlines or substations may be located. Bellevue’s existing review processes, provided for in the Land Use Code, are where the city and residents can provide input on new facilities. The agreement would also not apply to major projects such as Energize Eastside, since most of the facilities are located within PSE’s privately-owned easements. In those cases, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission is the prime regulator. 

The ordinance granting PSE an electrical franchise and authorizing the MOUs is expected to appear on the council’s Oct. 1 regular session agenda. A vote for adoption could take place at that time. 

More information, including the proposed ordinance and MOUs, is available in the council’s agenda materials.

Budget Schedule Update 

Earlier, councilmembers were briefed on the upcoming schedule for discussing and adopting the 2019-2020 Operating Budget and 2019-2025 Capital Investment Program Plan. In October, the City Manager will present a preliminary budget to the City Council. Councilmembers will then review and approve both budgets sometime before the end of the year.

Residents are invited to attend the third of three public hearings tentatively scheduled for Nov. 19 at City Hall. Potential attendees are encouraged to check the council agenda calendar to confirm the final date and time. Previous hearings were held on June 4 and Aug. 6. To date, 26 comments on a variety of topics have been received. The council also held a budget workshop on March 26.   

Bellevue’s budget is produced every two years and includes a seven-year capital budget. It serves as a major policy document and describes how the city intends to finance its services and infrastructure. As part of the process, Bellevue uses a “budgeting for outcomes” (also known as “priorities of government”) process called "Budget One" to develop the budget. This model puts the emphasis on community expectations for government services, as opposed to individual departments within the organization.

More background is available in the agenda packet materials.  

Published on 09/13/2018
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