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

Newport Woods community concerned about proposed development

December 4, 2014

Newcastle resident Rick Bell is questioning his commitment to the city of Newcastle for the first time.

The longtime Newport Woods resident is an active community member, who donates much of his free time cleaning up city parks and trails with the Weed Warriors organization. He poured thousands of dollars into remodeling his Newcastle home, rather than buying a new one, because, as he puts it, “We love the people and the quietness of the location.”

But a proposed multifamily, mixed-use development along Newcastle Way, just beside City Hall, has him and his neighbors wondering how much longer the city will remain the quaint Newcastle they fell in love with.

“We’re not against development,” he said. “But we never thought it would be a monster like this.”

Read more

December letters

December 4, 2014

Educate yourself about Energize Eastside Program

As a resident and a physician, I am very concerned about Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside Program.

What started as a far-sighted request to upgrade an aging infrastructure and plan for future growth has been hijacked into an oversized project that benefits a foreign-owned private corporation (PSE) as it prepares to divest in 2017.

Local needs have been expanded into a crisis, and we Eastside residents are being asked to pay for a vastly oversized project that seems more suited to transferring power between Canada and California than meeting our expected growth.

The Coalition of Eastside Neighbors for Sensible Energy has enlisted the talents of Eastside residents, including electrical engineers and people who have worked in the power industry, and have unearthed documents, data and have subsequently proposed an alternative solution. This can all be viewed at its website, cense.org. Read more

City Council combs over 2015 budget

November 7, 2014

The Newcastle City Council began reviewing City Manager Rob Wyman’s 2015 preliminary budget at its second October meeting.

The proposed budget places emphasis on public safety, setting the groundwork for an additional police officer in 2016, and outlines a robust capital investment program.

“I truly feel that the budget presented here provides a great value for the residents of Newcastle while reflecting the appropriate priorities, such as public safety,” Wyman wrote in the budget’s introduction.

The city could spend upward of $2.5 million on transportation projects if the budget is approved as is. In addition to the $550,000 the council commits annually to a pavement overlay program, residents could see projects such as pedestrian improvements to Southeast 73rd Place and the installation of flashing left-turn signals along Coal Creek Parkway in 2015. Read more

Notes from Newcastle: Video killed the radio star

November 7, 2014

Since Newcastle News comes out only once a month, I split my duties between this paper and The Issaquah Press, a weekly.

I work on community features and Liberty High School sports for The Press, but I usually stay away from the more newsy Issaquah items, saving those for the main Issaquah Press reporter.

Well, we bid a sad farewell last month to Peter Clark, our Issaquah city reporter who moved on to greener pastures. In his absence, and while we searched for his replacement, I picked up the slack a bit.

That meant, for much of October, I shuttled back and forth between Issaquah and Newcastle city council meetings. It’s the first time I’ve ever really attended a council meeting other than Newcastle’s, so it was interesting to compare and contrast the two. Read more

City looks to add youth voice

October 3, 2014

Newcastle teen leads charge to get peers involved in city government

The Newcastle City Council explored the possibility of adding a youth voice to its government structure at its Sept. 16 regular meeting.

The discussion comes after Newcastle teen James Ricks approached Mayor Steve Buri about the feasibility of creating a youth advisory board to the council.

“I want youth to care about Newcastle,” Ricks said. “Whether that’s evident in service projects, involvement in planning activities or tutoring, I want youth to be involved because they care about the city they live in.” Read more

Newcastle receives $255,000 Lake Boren grant

October 3, 2014

The city of Newcastle received a $255,000 King County Flood Control District grant that will help ease flooding at Lake Boren.

The district’s executive committee recommended Aug. 18 that Newcastle receive a portion of $2.6 million in grants available from a newly created program aimed at reducing the impact of local flooding. That recommendation was approved Sept. 29.

“This grant funding will allow the city of Newcastle to address longstanding flooding issues dating back prior to the city’s incorporation,” Reagan Dunn, King County Councilman representing Newcastle and chairman of the King County Flood Control District, said in a news release.

The city of Newcastle’s Lake Boren flooding mitigation project will receive $255,000 to improve the outlet channel by clearing and removing any overflow blockages at Boren Creek. Read more

Budget season calendar unveiled

October 3, 2014

It’s that time of year again, as the Newcastle City Council works to set the city’s 2015 budget.

Finance Director Chris Olson unveiled a preliminary budget calendar at the City Council’s Sept. 16 meeting. The outlined plan shows that the City Council will receive the preliminary budget document Oct. 11.

Residents then have three opportunities to offer comments about the budget. The City Council will hold public hearings during its regular meetings at City Hall, 12385 Newcastle Way, Suite 200, on Oct. 21, and Nov. 4 and 18.

The budget is slated for adoption Dec. 2, though dates are subject to change.

Newcastle in line for Lake Boren grant

August 29, 2014

The city of Newcastle is in line to receive a $225,000 King County Flood Control District grant that will help ease flooding at Lake Boren.

The district’s executive committee recommended Aug. 18 that Newcastle receive a portion of $2.6 million in grants available from a newly created program aimed at reducing the impact of local flooding.

“This grant funding will allow the city of Newcastle to address longstanding flooding issues dating back prior to the city’s incorporation,” Reagan Dunn, King County Councilman representing Newcastle and chairman of the King County Flood Control District, said in a news release.

The city of Newcastle’s Lake Boren flooding mitigation project will receive $255,000 to improve the outlet channel by clearing and removing any overflow blockages at Boren Creek. Read more

Editorial

July 31, 2014

Be responsible with your marijuana

Marijuana.

No matter how you feel about it, it’s now legal to purchase and smoke it in the state of Washington. (Leave it to officials to sort out the federal vs. state issue, though at this point, no one has announced plans to crack down on people who take a toke.)

And although there is not a local place to make a purchase, and there won’t be one in Newcastle anytime soon as a result of the City Council’s recent moratorium, 24 retailers in the Puget Sound area were granted licenses in early July by the state Liquor Control Board.

A majority of voters wanted marijuana, and now we all have it. In order to turn that initiative and vote into a real win, people must be responsible with their pot. Read more

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