Members present: Mayor Lynne Robinson, Dep. Mayor Jared Nieuwenhuis, Jeremy Barksdale, Conrad Lee, Jennifer Robertson, John Stokes, Janice Zahn
(Virtual) Meeting Highlights:
The meeting lasted from 6pm to 9:30pm. There were technical difficulties at the start so the general viewing public missed out on the first 10 minutes - probably attendance was taken during this time.
Update from King County Council
Once the viewing started there was a King County Council update being given by council member Reagan Dunn. His update covered four subjects:
Shared news on the current situation in KC and how they are working with the Governor’s office on a daily basis.
Flattening the Curve - daily KCC leadership meetings; continued coordination with local jurisdictions; quarantine/isolation sites, assessment and recovery centres, and shelter sites; increasing testing facilities.
Mitigating the Financial, Economic and Social Impacts of Covid-19 - passed 4 covid-19 emergency budgets, funding a wide variety of Covid operational programs and economic relief for individuals, businesses, and organisations; taking up 5th covid-19 emergency budget late fall, to be transmitted mid-October; postponed property tax deadline to June 1, created property tax payment plans, project CARE.
Planning for the Recovery - distributing 5 mill cloth face coverings and 20 mill disposable face coverings to workers and businesses; economic recovery work group launched on Sep 18; updating pandemic and emergency plans; UW study of KC’s response to the covid-19 crisis.
2. King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA)
Provided an overview on the new entity created via an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) between King County and the City of Seattle in Dec 2019.
The purpose of KCHRA will focus on unifying and coordinating the homeless response system for Seattle, King County and other subscribing entities. KC will dedicate about $55 mill in service and administrative funding (based on 2019 annualised program amounts) and $1.8 mill to support start-up. The City of Seattle will dedicate approximately $73 mill for services and administrative funding and up to $2 mill for start-up costs. Actual funding will be subject to appropriations through the normal budget process of the respective councils.
The KCRHA governance is set up with a Governing Board (12 member board provides oversight through the confirmation, amendment, or rejection of annual budgets and 5 year plans) and an Implementation Board (13 experts who provide guidance, management, and oversight. And it provides policies and budgets to the Governing Board for confirmation.)
3. KC Flood Control District - A brief update on projects and grants totaling $31.9 mill.
4. KC. Budget Review - 2020 Forecast and 2021-22 Biennium Budget Forecast
2020 Budget Forecast
- Impact on Sales Tax Based Funds Including:
- Permit Revenue in Unincorporated KC has decreased significantly:
- Metro Will Receive About $244 mill from the CARES Act, which offsets much of their financial loss for this year.
- MIDD (behavioral health) and Metro are looking for ways to cut costs in anticipation of the 2021-2022 biennium.
2021-22 Biennium Budget Forecast
- Estimated $100 mill decrease to the General Fund.
- Taxable sales show slow growth which will continue to impact various sales funds (MIDD-$10 mill decrease; Metro-$84 m decrease (sales tax only); Lodging Tax - $12 mill decrease; Rental Car - $1.2 mill decrease; REET - no change)
- Assessed value for the county remains flat and for UKC an average growth of 1.5%. (Given this, county revenues related to property taxes - General Fund, VSHSL, Best Starts for Kids, Parks Levy, EMS, etc - will increase between 0 - 2% on average.)
- Flood Control District Budget - final passage Nov 4.
- 2021-22 Biennial Budget - final passage Nov 24.
- 5th covid-19 Supplemental Budget - Executive expects to transmit on or around mid-Oct to spend the rough $70 million CARES Act funds left.
City Council Comments
Council members comment on the presentation as follows:
Janice Zahn appreciated the update. Said it was important to keep transit services going if possible. Agreed the housing market was still going strong and this was helpful.
Deputy Mayor Nieuwenhuis thanked Dunn for the update. Wanted to know if any decision was made about the quarantine site in Eastgate (currently empty). Also wanted to know if KC police cuts would affect Bellevue.
Jeremy Barksdale appreciated KC’s work around covid-19. Also the work around getting the lake back.
Jennifer Robertson thanked Dunn for the presentation. Thanked for the CARES Act money. Eastside is concerned about transit. Need to keep working to open up as Covid numbers go down. KCRHA structure looks good.
John Stokes thanked Dunn for the review. The KCRHA structure looks good - good collaboration. Environment needs to be kept a priority.
Conrad Lee commented on how he and Dunn go back a long way. Wanted to know how to maintain services with decreasing revenue.
Next up was approval of the agenda. All approved. Mayor Lynne Robinson moderating the meeting.
Five people total for 3 minutes each
A woman said it was good that police force policy was being reviewed but felt the scope was too narrow. Should include hiring, training, discipline, reporting, etc.
A man representing the “downtown for people” group expressed displeasure for the interstate interchange bill.
A woman said it was good to review the police force policy but that information on this needed to be better communicated to the general public. Ie. pledge should be on city’s website.
A woman said that the affordable housing strategy timeline needs to be expedited. Average cost of a 2 bedroom in Bellevue is $2300/month.
A woman spoke supporting the cross cultural centre.
Update from City Management
After oral comments the City Manager (Brad Miyake) and Deputy City Manager (Nathan) and Deputy City Manager Kate Berens) gave an update.
1. Police force policy review - under review by consultant team. Public engagement in 3 sessions (Oct 13 5:30 - 7; Oct 15 11:30 - 1; Oct 17 11:30 - 1). After this there will be a consolidation of input.
2. Five National Rewards given to Bellevue TV (BTV)
The Consent Calendar was approved by vote - unanimous.
Update on Study of 405 Access to South Downtown
Update given by Andrew Singelakis, Shuming Yan). They looked at several options and have narrowed it down to 5 possibilities. They are seeking agreement to continue the next level of detail review of the 5 options. In Feb 2021 they will come back with a recommendation.
Mayor Robertson agreed, but was skeptical of NE 2nd. Wanted to know more about impact on transit, impact on housing. There will be 25,000 new jobs in the next five years.
Zahn said that safety is important to avoid accidents. Wanted to know about costs.
Lee wanted to understand the historical context.
Stokes wanted to know about the impact on local traffic in the area, already busy. Said the outreach is good.
Barksdale wanted to know more about Wilburton.
Nieuwenhuis felt the NE 2nd street option did not fit the goals.
Robinson said they should try to focus on multi-mobile transport, protect neighbourhoods, vision zero.
Voted to go forward with detailed review of 5 options. Approved unanimously.
Update on Cross Cultural Feasibility Study
In 2018 there was an outreach study done and then this year a feasibility study for a facility was done with a consulting company. Looking at possibly a 20-30,000 sq ft fixture that has a cultural/interactive exhibit. Operating budget of 1 - 1.5 mill. This would work potentially with existing facilities around the area - sort of like a hub and spoke operation. 86% of people surveyed thought that Bellevue could benefit from such a facility. Consultants said it would be very important to establish stakeholders in the project for it to be successful.
Lee said it was a good presentation. He has been pushing for this for a while.
Barksdale said it was important to spread out programs with other facilities and look at gaps in the geography for the underserved. Also might be a good idea to have a food element, giving different cultures an opportunity to share foods on some rotating basis.
Nieuwenhuis commented that they should look at other places that have cross-cultural centres. It seems that most cities do not, but universities do and maybe we should look at how they are set up there.
Stokes said that we need to think outside of just a building. Agree this project is important but perhaps there are facilities out there that can be used.
Robertson felt a home base centre would be a good thing. Said that based on the population and the number of current renters we could use one or two more. Is it a possibility to use city property - like Ashley Park?
Zahn said she was very excited about this project. She would like to know numbers and felt it should include some outside space.
Robinson said this was an important project. Options could be a metro property, it should connect to grand connection, raising awareness of cultures very important. Maybe there are examples of this type of centre internationally and could the consultants explore this.
Lee said he was excited about the positive momentum and that they needed to keep going.
Next step is to get a tighter vision based on the discussion and feedback today.