Candidate filings set up one City Council race

June 4, 2015

The 2015 general election ballot will tell a different story, but there’s really only one contested Newcastle City Council race.

Community Activities commissioners Linda Newing and Victoria Sandoval will face off for council Position No. 1, currently held by Councilwoman Lisa Jensen, who announced she would not file for re-election.

But only Planning Commissioner Allen Dauterman will actively run for Position No. 3, despite the fact that Rob Lemmon’s name will appear alongside his.

Lemmon, a former planning commissioner who resigned in December, said “logistical issues” prevented a successful attempt to withdraw his name from the race. He filed to withdraw before King County Elections’ deadline, though, he said. Read more

City Council election starts to take shape

April 30, 2015

The Newcastle City Council will have at least one new face in 2016.

City Councilwoman Lisa Jensen announced April 23 that she will not file for re-election this spring, guaranteeing that there will be one open seat during November’s election. Three other council members could be challenged as well.

“I first ran for office because the city budget was out of control and a majority on the council had lost touch with the people they represented,” Jensen wrote in a letter to the editor.

“In the last eight years we have made the necessary changes to budget in a way that allows us to live within our means. We also have a city manager and staff that make customer service a priority and recognize everyone at City Hall is there to serve the community.” Read more

Editorial — Get ready for elections

April 30, 2015

If you’ve been thinking about taking on an important leadership role within the city of Newcastle, the time has come to take the next step. Candidates must file for election by May 15.

The terms for four Newcastle City Council positions are set to expire at the end of the year — council position No. 1 (Lisa Jensen), council position No. 2 (Carol Simpson), council position No. 3 (Steve Buri) and council position No. 4 (Gordon Bisset).

Simpson and Bisset already announced they would file for re-election, while Jensen said she will not and Buri is still undecided.

Meanwhile, Newcastle Community Activities commissioners Linda Newing and Victoria Sandoval and as well as Planning Commissioner Allen Dauterman announced they will run for a City Council spot. 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

Council passes marijuana moratorium

July 31, 2014

Newcastle residents won’t find a marijuana retail establishment in the city anytime soon.

The Newcastle City Council approved a six-month moratorium on marijuana-related business activity within Newcastle, at its July 1 meeting.

“A moratorium is simply a procedural mechanism this council can adopt to literally hold the status quo as is, meaning, it gives you six months to review something,” city attorney Dawn Reitan told council members. “Nothing comes in while that happens.”

Councilman Gordon Bisset made the motion instituting the moratorium. It passed 4-3, with council members Lisa Jensen, Carol Simpson and Rich Crispo dissenting. Read more

Council to consider marijuana freeze

June 5, 2014

The Newcastle City Council directed city staff to prepare an ordinance placing a moratorium on marijuana-related business in the city at its May 6 meeting.

It mirrors the actions of neighboring cities Issaquah and Renton, both of which have moratoriums on marijuana business practices. Councilman Gordon Bisset made the motion, which passed 4-3.

The direction came after a failed attempt to pursue a ban on marijuana businesses in the city, but that motion, made by Deputy Mayor John Drescher, was shot down 5-2.

City staff considers the potential for any marijuana-related business activity in Newcastle very low due to state Liquor Control Board rules on where marijuana facilities can set up shop. Also, the state’s marijuana retail license lottery came and went without any impacts on Newcastle.

The City Council was set to review the ordinance May 20, but decided to table it for a to-be-determined date. The council last considered a moratorium at its Dec. 17 meeting, but that motion failed.

Notes from Newcastle

May 1, 2014

For once, I’m not the only one at meeting

I’m used to being the only one at Newcastle City Council meetings.

I sit there, alone, as the council conducts its business in front of an audience of one.

Christina Corrales-Toy

Christina Corrales-Toy

It can get lonely, I’ll admit, watching council members deliberate as I sit surrounded by a sea of empty chairs.

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City manager receives $10,000 raise

April 3, 2014

After evaluating City Manager Rob Wyman’s performance in several closed executive sessions, the Newcastle City Council approved a $10,000 raise for the position at its March 18 meeting.

The raise, retroactive to Jan. 1, increases Wyman’s annual salary from $120,000 to $130,000. The council also granted Wyman two days of merit leave, the same as last year.

Wyman was hired as interim city manager in January 2010, and the council selected him as the permanent city manager that August. This is the third consecutive year that the council awarded him a raise, and it’s his highest yet. He received a $6,000 raise in 2012 and a $4,000 raise in 2013.

Rob Wyman

Rob Wyman

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City Council axes temporary commission liaison

April 3, 2014

Despite pleas from Community Activities commissioners, the advisory board no longer has a council member liaison after the Newcastle City Council decided against renewing the position at its March 18 meeting.

The council voted down a motion, 4-3, seeking to extend the liaison through the end of the year.

A council liaison was appointed last year to help the volunteer board as it transitioned from the Parks Commission to the Community Activities Commission.

Councilman Rich Crispo, who led the changes to the commission, was chosen to serve as the liaison. The council representative acted as a nonvoting member of the advisory board; the position was set to expire at the end of March.

Read more