April 4, 2013
City councilman wants city to be left in good hands
“You got to know when to hold ‘em … know when to walk away.”
I believe that two terms is enough for any council member. Therefore, after eight years on the City Council, I will not file for re-election this spring.
I am pleased to report that after three years of determined fiscal discipline and a recent nascent recovery in the real estate market, the city is in relatively good financial condition. Longer-term challenges remain. The council is still struggling to credibly fund a road maintenance plan. And, even with some major building projects in the works, these large project revenues will be mostly one-time gains. Newcastle still won’t have the large retail sales tax base necessary to maintain future services without large tax increases.
I am very concerned about my possible replacement. The only announced candidate plans to run on a plank never to allow or even discuss the possibility of Newcastle consolidating with Bellevue. This is short sighted. Here are the top 10 reasons for Newcastle to consider consolidation:
1. Bellevue has a solid economic base to support future services;
2. Bellevue has an AAA credit rating, higher than the federal government;
3. Bellevue has twice the number of police officers per capita;
4. Bellevue has a better road system that costs 66 percent less per mile to maintain;
5. Bellevue has a much deeper bench of professional managers;
6. Bellevue already provides excellent fire and emergency services;
7. Bellevue has lower property taxes: Its overall tax burden is $200 less on an average home;
8. Bellevue provides many more services: community and senior centers, dog parks, ball fields and better trail maintenance;
9. Bellevue consolidation would probably increase home values; and
10. Bellevue appears open to consolidation, at least for now.
Residents can petition the council to force a vote, but only the Newcastle City Council can approve a consolidation. That’s why it is important to elect council members with open minds on this issue. The council should be encouraged to gauge public opinion by permitting an advisory vote this fall. Your voices should be heard.
Newcastle City Council