Our 2015 goals for a better Newcastle

January 2, 2015

By Staff

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As the city heads into the coming year, Newcastle continues to grow and flourish. Here are a few of our goals for the city in 2015.

Look to the future — The city has enjoyed a few years of financial stability, but looking at future forecasts, challenges are ahead as development revenues begin to disappear. Begin the discussion now, not later, to make decisions that will ensure the city’s financial future isn’t seeing red.

Keep an eye on Energize Eastside — Puget Sound Energy’s Community Advisory Group just selected its recommended routes, and both include proposed electric transmission lines through Newcastle. The company’s Energize Eastside process, aimed at upgrading power lines to fulfill the growing demand, is far from over, though. Make your voice heard and participate in the coming Environmental Impact Statement process and any other avenues offered to share your concerns.

Do something with Lake Boren Park — It’s been more than a year since the city unveiled a series of conceptual designs for improvements to Lake Boren Park at a town hall meeting. During that October 2013 presentation, a majority of respondents supported park improvements, and even expressed a willingness to pay for it through a park levy. City leaders need to decide how much of a priority Lake Boren Park truly is and move forward with a levy process if it’s that important.

Make a long-term decision on marijuana — The Newcastle City Council extended the six-month moratorium on marijuana-related business activity within Newcastle at its Dec. 2 meeting. A moratorium is only a temporary measure, though, and a permanent solution must be reached sooner rather than later. The council has talked about marijuana numerous times and each time it does, a ban is discussed. The council should decide how marijuana fits into the city and begin laying the groundwork for a permanent solution.

Try for a city ZIP code again — The most one-sided response at the June 2014 town hall meeting was residents’ desire to acquire a unique Newcastle ZIP code. The city last petitioned for its own ZIP code in 2009, but the request was denied, as it was in 2004 and 1994. Municipalities are required to wait five years between ZIP code requests, so now is the time to try again.

Communicate with your residents — In this digital age, it’s more important than ever that a city have an online presence. Newcastle has Twitter and Facebook accounts, but they are not consistently used. Keep your citizens informed of city events and answer resident questions through these social media platforms. Just look east to the city of Issaquah for the right way to disseminate information to the populace. Newcastle City Councilwoman Carol Simpson scratches the surface with her weekly email blasts, but the city can do more. City Manager Rob Wyman often stresses the importance of customer service among his staff; well, this is part of it. It’s an easy way to be responsive to your residents.

 

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