City Council approves controversial building buy

February 6, 2015

The Newcastle City Council officially authorized City Manager Rob Wyman to go ahead with the controversial purchase of a Coal Creek Utility District-owned building at the Jan. 20 regular meeting.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will pay $250,000 for the 129th Avenue Southeast building appraised at about $750,000. In addition, the city will agree not to assume the utility for the next 10 years.

The purchase has been surrounded by controversy since the council first approved it in a 4-3 vote Sept. 16. Deputy Mayor John Drescher, Councilman Gordon Bisset and Councilman Rich Crispo voted against the deal then, and did it again Jan. 20.

Former and current council members alike have raised questions about the agreement’s legality, feasibility and the logic behind giving up the city’s right to take over the district for the next decade. Read more

Council approves CCUD building purchase

January 21, 2015

UPDATED — 1:20 p.m. Jan. 22, 2015

The Newcastle City Council officially authorized City Manager Rob Wyman to go ahead with the controversial purchase of a Coal Creek Utility District-owned building at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will pay $250,000 for the 129th Avenue Southeast building appraised at about $750,000. In addition, the city will agree not to assume the utility for the next 10 years.

The building would serve as a place to store and work on the city’s public works vehicles, which are currently parked at City Hall. It could also potentially house a future Newcastle history museum, Mayor Steve Buri said.

It again came down to a 4-3 vote, with Deputy Mayor John Drescher, Councilman Gordon Bisset and Councilman Rich Crispo dissenting. Read more

CCUD agreement back on the Jan. 20 council agenda

January 16, 2015

NEW — 2:35 p.m. Jan. 16, 2015

A Newcastle City Council-approved deal that continues to cause a lot of controversy headlines the agenda items for the Jan. 20 regular council meeting.

In September, the council authorized City Manager Rob Wyman to enter into a purchase-sale agreement for the Coal Creek Utility District-owned property on 129th Avenue Southeast.

In exchange for the property appraised at $750,000, the city would agree to pay $250,000 and forfeit its legal right to assume the utility district for 10 years.

It’s the non-assumption clause, in particular, that has some current, and one former, council members questioning the logic of the agreement. Read more

CCUD building purchase questioned

January 2, 2015

A Newcastle City Council-approved agreement to purchase a building for equipment and vehicle storage is raising questions, after the city offered up more than money to acquire it.

In September, the council authorized City Manager Rob Wyman to enter into a purchase-sale agreement for the Coal Creek Utility District-owned property on 129th Avenue Southeast.

In exchange for the property appraised at $750,000, the city would agree to pay $250,000 and forfeit its legal right to assume the utility district for 10 years.

It’s the non-assumption clause, in particular, that has some current, and one former, council members questioning the logic of the agreement. Read more

City hires new public works director

December 18, 2014

NEW — 4:25 p.m. Dec. 18, 2014

Newcastle City Manager Rob Wyman announced that the city has hired Jeffrey Brauns as its new Public Works director.

Brauns comes to Newcastle from the city of Sammamish, where he served as city engineer and the senior transportation program manager.

Prior to that, he worked for various private sector engineering firms as well as the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Wyman said Brauns is very plugged in with other cities and regional organizations and currently serves as the American Public Works Association’s Transportation Committee chairman.  Read more

Council passes 2015 budget, taxes to rise

December 4, 2014

Newcastle homeowners can expect to see a rise in their property taxes, after the Newcastle City Council made changes to, and then adopted, the 2015 budget Nov. 18.

In a 4-2 vote, with Deputy Mayor John Drescher absent, the council elected to take an annually allowable 1 percent increase in property tax and a 3 percent banked property tax increase.

The move will bring the city more than $150,000 in revenue, with an eye toward using it to pay for an additional police officer, said Councilman John Dulcich, who made the motion proposing the increase.

“It fixes a lot of problems and it funds a police officer,” Dulcich said. Read more