Council passes 2013 budget with few changes

December 6, 2012

Several transportation projects put on the books

The Newcastle City Council voted to pass its 2013 budget at its Dec. 4 meeting, and other than adding transportation projects, it does not look significantly different from the document presented to the council about two months ago.

The 2013 budget does not add any new taxes, with the council deciding against taking an allowable 1 percent increase in property tax, even though it did so a year ago.

With the city in better financial shape, including an expected $200,000 surplus from 2012, and a 2013 budget that is balanced, the council did not see a viable reason to take the 1 percent.

“It’s pretty clear for me,” Councilman Steve Buri said at the Nov. 20 meeting. “If you don’t need the money, don’t take it from the taxpayers. And we have a balanced budget, so why in the world would we raise taxes even a modest amount?”

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Chamber alters its structure for the new year

December 6, 2012

After receiving feedback from its members, the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce will hire a part-time executive director in an effort to increase its presence in the Newcastle business community.

A 2011 survey put out by the chamber asked its members whether it would like to see more networking events, and if so, would they be willing to pay higher dues to foot the bill.

“We got an overwhelming response saying that they wanted more opportunities,” said Angela Wingate, chairwoman of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce.

An executive director will allow the chamber to enhance its member services, Wingate said. It will be the executive director’s job to find ways to provide more programs, networking opportunities and general benefits for chamber members.

“The chamber is a unique way for businesses to be able to promote themselves because it’s more of a personalized approach in meeting with people and being able to network,” Wingate said. “Besides the chamber, there are no other opportunities here in Newcastle for businesses to get to know each other and help support each other.”

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Chiropractic Wellness Center hosts 12 days of Christmas

December 6, 2012

The Chiropractic Wellness Center will officially kick off the holiday season with a tree-lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at its office, 6965 Coal Creek Parkway S.E.

Attendees can get in the holiday spirit with hot chocolate and candy canes as they watch the ceremony.

It will also be the first day in the center’s 12 days of Christmas promotion, which will award prizes every weekday through Dec. 24.

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City hires new director of community development

December 6, 2012

Tim McHarg has been hired as the city’s new director of community development.

The position became available after Steve Roberge, who had been with the city for more than five years, headed to Istanbul, where his wife received a fellowship, in early September. City Manager Rob Wyman had assumed the position’s duties since.

The city held a meet-and-greet with the three final candidates Oct. 24 and put the applicants through a thorough interview process, which included a mock Newcastle City Council meeting.

“It was literally like he had worked here for a year,” Wyman said of McHarg’s interview. “He understood the issues, he understood the city and he was calm, cool and collected up there while we were grilling him.”

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December 6, 2012

Council, staff should be applauded for budget

City Manager Rob Wyman, Finance Director Chris Olson and the entire Newcastle City Council should be applauded for their work on the city’s 2013 budget.

In a landscape where citizens are often being asked to shoulder taxes upon taxes to help cities stay afloat during difficult economic times, the City Council approved a 2013 budget that includes no new taxes.

On top of that, the 2013 budget increases public safety, adequately funds pavement management and works quickly to fix the Coal Creek Parkway issues.

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Rapid Response

December 6, 2012

In honor of the Newcastle Library’s grand opening, what is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.” It was the driving force that opened people’s eyes to issues and the long-range complications of not understanding how we affect the health of our environment. It tweaked the consciousness, catapulting the environmental movement. She died early of cancer, but I’m sure she would have had a lot more to say.

— Grace Stiller


Mine would be “A Child’s Garden of Verses.” Having learned it by heart from reading it so many times to my children, I often recite a stanza or two from one of the poems to mark one of those quotidian, but still heart-lifting moments — “How do you like to go up in a swing, up in the sky so blue…” or “In winter, I get up at night and dress by yellow candlelight…” Like music, it never loses its lilt.

— Sue Beverly

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December 6, 2012

Discuss annexation now

First annexation by Bellevue is a distraction and now it is “premature” to discuss annexation. And next it will be too late.

Given the previous reports about budget issues, when will it not be premature to investigate the option? At some point, it will be moot because nobody is going to absorb excessive debt.

We can only afford to have one police officer on duty at times, per previous articles, and it is not time to start looking at all options?

Bill Juliano


City sponsors Hopelink benefit

December 6, 2012

Community members are invited to join city staff members in participating in a food and gift drive to benefit Hopelink, a local nonprofit organization that serves homeless and low-income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities.

The city will collect donations of nonperishable food and gifts for children and teens until Dec. 13.

Suggested gifts include warm clothing, batteries, preschool toys, children’s craft kits or art supplies, toy cars and children’s books.

Donations can be dropped off in bins just outside the elevators of City Hall, 12835 Newcastle Way, Suite 200.

Learn more by calling 649-4444.



Help families displaced by fire

December 6, 2012

The Newport Hills Community Church hosts a pancake breakfast fundraiser to assist families displaced by a Nov. 27 fire at the Newporter Apartments in Newport Hills.

Proceeds from the Dec. 8 breakfast will help with the cost of temporary housing for the six displaced families.

The fundraiser is from 9-11 a.m. at the Newport Hills Community Church, 5833 119th Ave. S.E.

To learn more, call 746-8034.





Timeline set for middle school construction

December 6, 2012

The Renton School Board has approved a timeline to construct a new middle school on the site of the current Renton Academy.

Construction is set to begin in March 2015 on what will be the district’s fourth middle school, which was made possible thanks to voter support of an April 2012 bond measure. The $97 million bond measure will fund the school, improvements to the Lindbergh High School pool and other construction costs.

The middle school is slated to open in fall 2016. It would accommodate students that are currently in second through fourth grades.

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