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

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

City has big shoes to fill in public works

June 5, 2014

The community will lose an important asset this month, when Public Works Director Mark Rigos leaves for the same position at North Bend.

North Bend’s population is smaller than Newcastle’s, by about 4,000 residents, but it offers greater responsibilities, including managing the city’s water and sewer district.

Rigos was only with Newcastle for three years, but it has certainly felt like much longer than that, given the way he has fully ingratiated himself within the community.

In his time with Newcastle, Rigos redefined what it meant to be a public works director, when he equally prioritized public safety and customer service. Read more