Coal Creek Utility District approves building sale

March 5, 2015

Coal Creek Utility District commissioners unanimously approved a deal Feb. 25 to sell its former operations building to the city of Newcastle.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will pay the district $250,000 for the 129th Avenue Southeast building appraised at about $740,000. In addition, the city will agree not to assume the utility for the next 10 years.

The deal has been surrounded by controversy since the Newcastle City Council first approved it in a 4-3 vote Sept. 16. Council members approved it again, by the same vote, Jan. 20.

CCUD Commissioners Pam Martin, Ric Anderson and Doug Kunkel approved the deal after holding a required public hearing on the subject Feb. 11. Read more

Editorial — It’s your city; get involved in decisions

March 5, 2015

Sue Stronk. Larry Johnson. Jessaca Jacobson. Sonny Putter.

With the exception of the last name, you’ve likely never heard of these people. But make no mistake, the Newcastle City Council knows who they are, at least they should.

They are examples of just a few Newcastle residents who have come to at least one council meeting in the past year to voice their opinions.

They are, essentially, examples of democracy in action, a far too rare scene witnessed in the perpetually empty Newcastle council chambers. Read more

Letter

March 5, 2015

Building purchase shouldn’t be an issue

The Newcastle City Council recently voted to purchase a maintenance and storage building from the Coal Creek Utility District. In exchange for receiving a discounted price, the city agreed to a 10-year moratorium on the potential assumption of direct responsibility for water and sewer services.

Several current and former members of the City Council have registered vocal objections. They argue that the agreement is (a) illegal because it encumbers future councils, (b) unwise because it takes a reasonable option off the table and (c) it’s an unnecessary expense.

Limitations on future council action are neither illegal nor unusual. The city occupies office space under a long-term lease. Commitments to purchase and maintain our parks and to upgrade Coal Creek Parkway affected budgets over several years. Any issuance of municipal bonds requires repayment over an extended period. And the city attorney (an actual lawyer) approved the purchase. Read more

RSD development agreement, Newcastle 2035 on Feb. 17 council agenda

February 14, 2015

NEW — 12:45 p.m. Feb. 14, 2015

The Newcastle City Council will hold its second meeting of the month Feb. 17.

There are only two items listed under the evening’s general business, but both are vital components to the city’s future.

First, the council will consider a development agreement with the Renton School District pertaining to construction of the new middle school.

The agreement proposes relief to the 30-feet height restriction in that particular zoning area. It would allow the district to construct the school building to a maximum of 45-feet, if approved. Read more

City Council to hold annual retreat Saturday

February 12, 2015

NEW — 2:45 p.m. Feb. 12, 2015

The Newcastle City Council will hold its annual goal-setting retreat on Valentine’s Day.

A review of city goals, an analysis of city strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, and strategic priorities are among the agenda items. View the full agenda here.

The all day affair goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Golf Club of Newcastle, 15500 Six Penny Lane. The retreat will take place in the Muirfield Room, located on the second floor of the main clubhouse.

The meeting is open to residents, but the council will not provide a public comment period.

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

Editorial — Building agreement doesn’t pass the test

February 6, 2015

The Newcastle City Council agreed to spend $250,000 on a building it could get for free.

Let us repeat that — $250,000 of taxpayer funds spent on a maintenance operations building that could be had for nothing, well, mostly nothing.

It doesn’t make much sense, does it?

But that’s what the council narrowly agreed to with the recent 4-3 approval of the purchase-sale agreement to acquire a Coal Creek Utility District-owned building.

Sure, on the surface, it looks like a good deal — “I only have to pay $250,000 for a $750,000 building? What a steal!” — but more and more, this agreement is starting to feel like an iceberg. It’s what’s underneath the water that you should be worried about. Read more

Notes from Newcastle

February 6, 2015

City Hall wants to come to you

In an effort to better communicate with its residents, the city of Newcastle is reaching out to you. Community activities liaison Wendy Kirchner wants to bring City Hall to its residents, through presentations and meet-and-greets.

Here’s Kirchner’s pitch on how the city can help you get better acquainted with the staff that run the place you call home:

Newcastle city staff would like to come to your neighborhood! Are you interested in meeting your neighbors, making your area safer and learning about city services?

We all want to live in a safe, connected community, and we are looking for opportunities to share information about city services, neighborhood safety and discuss issues of concern. 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

Energize Eastside, Newcastle Days and more on Jan. 6 City Council agenda

January 6, 2015

NEW — 11:55 a.m. Jan. 6, 2015

The Newcastle City Council will hold it’s first meeting of 2015 tonight.

In what appears to be a relatively light agenda, the council will discuss Newcastle Days, Energize Eastside, its 2015 legislative agenda and more.

In its report to the council, the Community Activities Commission is likely to seek direction on changes to Newcastle Days. Commissioners are expected to ask when they should hold the annual festival, and if it should extend to two days in 2015.

The council will also discuss an interagency agreement pertaining to the Energize Eastside project.

The proposed interagency agreement will allow the affected agencies (the cities of Bellevue, Kirkland,
Newcastle, Redmond, Renton and King County) to collectively study siting and development of the project. Read more

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