January letters

January 2, 2015

By Contributor

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Join the fight to prevent PSE project

Thank you, Olympus residents who came to the Puget Sound Energy Community Advisory Group meeting Dec. 10.

There were more than 400 in attendance — standing room only. A lot of people were wearing orange to support the Coalition of Eastside Neighborhoods for Sensible Energy. I was the alternate attending the meeting around the CAG table speaking for Olympus. And I was one of the three that refused to vote on any final route, as any vote would harm our residents since segment M is in both remaining routes. The three of us not voting will sign a minority report and present it to PSE with the reasons why we did not vote.

Please go to cense.org — join the cause — get on the mailing list to follow what comes next, as it will help us continue the fight to keep this project out of our neighborhood, with alternate solutions to large towers and more wires.

CENSE has many brilliant people who have spent many hours this past year finding out what is really behind this project and questioning what PSE has told us. They have been instrumental in getting the city of Bellevue, the lead agency, to hire an independent electrical consultant to verify if what PSE is saying is true and the real reason for this project — if it serves more than our local region and is oversized for our needs. Go to cense.org, click on “recent news” and scroll down to the video — an excellent video to watch to learn about this project.

Olympus already has experienced a homebuyer, after placing a down payment, back out of the sale after learning of this project coming to their back yard. Our residents will suffer monetarily from this project. Two real estate agents spoke Dec. 10 and said that homes adjacent to these tall poles will devalue up to 30 percent when you sell. So, the $20 to join CENSE (or donate more if you wish to contribute), is a tiny amount to spend now to help with costs to fight this project.

Thank you for your support — it is not over yet!

Sue Stronk



Speak up about how the city spends your money

Despite Newcastle ending its budget year in surplus, the City Council passed the biggest property tax increase in our history. I believe this decision to be short-sighted and against the wishes of our citizens.

Newcastle is a small city heavily reliant on property taxes to fund its operations. Property taxes that are more than twice the rate of Bellevue and some of the highest in the state. Our retail core is successful but small, and we do not have a utility tax or a B&O tax. So the financial tools at our disposal are limited.

And yet, by controlling costs, we finished the year in surplus, allowing us to make a down payment on an additional police officer. All of this was done without a tax increase, rendering the council’s tax hike all the more unnecessary.

When it comes to how to spend your hard-earned tax dollars, it seems to me we start with public safety, healthy roads and infrastructure, and build on our natural strengths of beautiful trails, good parks and a smartly expanded downtown core. We can do all of this without raising taxes, so long as we are disciplined enough to avoid spending money on non-essential things.

One example of such a non-essential spend is the recent 4-3 council decision to purchase a building from the Coal Creek Utility District for $250,000 while surrendering our right to assume the CCUD for 10 years. This decision was made without a financial analysis of what an assumption might bring, and despite the fact that in an assumption of the CCUD, the building would come with it — saving $250,000. Poor spending decisions do not justify raising your taxes, and will make balancing our 2015 budget even tougher.

Please lend your voice to the ongoing discussions on how to steward your money wisely and make Newcastle an even better place to live and raise our families.

Deputy Mayor John Drescher



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