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

2014 was a year of change for Newcastle

January 2, 2015

In 2014, the city of Newcastle celebrated a birthday, lost an icon and set the stage for the future. Here are some of the top stories of the year, in no particular order:

Newcastle pioneer Milt Swanson passes away

Family, neighbors and community leaders gathered Jan. 25 to honor the life of Milt Swanson, a titan of Newcastle history and a man with an unceasing, warming smile.

The Newcastle pioneer, born and raised in this community, spent all of his 95 years in the same area, 90 of which were in the same company house that still stands at the edge of town near the Cougar Mountain trailhead. Read more

Our 2015 goals for a better Newcastle

January 2, 2015

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. 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

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