State of the City luncheon

  • Written by David B. Clark
Peacocks nestled back into trees and shrubbery of the elegant landscape of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s beautiful winery (14111 NE 145th St, Woodinville, WA 98072) on Thursday, January 18. Business owners, local governmental officials, and eager citizens milled through the courtyard before entering the spacious tasting rooms and retail counters offering the esteemed winery’s latest products. The attendees found their way to the elegant banquet room set for a classy luncheon where they gathered to hear the State of the City as presented by the
Woodinville Chamber in conjunction with the City Manager, Brandon Buchanan, and his team.
The State of the City luncheon was sponsored by First Financial Bank who had energetic, enthusiastic members of their company to educate attendees about their bank and practices.
Chateau Ste. Michelle celebrated its 50th year in 2017 and although not as enticing of a number, the distinguished winery plans to make their 51st even better in 2018. The winery sees more than 300,000 visitors a year. To handle this boom of wine lovers, Chateau Ste. Michelle nearly doubled their tasting square footage including a blending room. They even added a new movie theater that features wine tasting tables
Among the opening speakers were members of the Northshore School District. A decisive Bond and Levy vote will take place February 13th.
Josh Butchart, the Dean of Students of Woodinville High School who also teaches Theatre was honored to introduce one of his students, Kira Fontana, who was awarded Student of the Month. Kira stacks an impressive class load consisting of numerous Advanced Placement courses coupled with numerous arts classes including choir. “I love the German program,” stated Kira, “Arts and science really work together.” An obviously gifted young woman, Kira intends to continue her education in college where she plans to study Environmental Science in addition to the Arts.
Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid then took the stage to share the Northshore School District’s three primary initiatives of this year: maintenance, building, and diversity. The focus is to maintain what the Northshore school district has, take steps to build new facilities as the number of students grew by 700 last year alone, and to celebrate diversity. Dr. Reid shared that there are 94 languages spoken in the Northshore school district.
Mayor Bernie Talmas was next to take the stage. He began by speaking of Woodinville’s prosperity. “[Woodinville’s] Prosperity is in large part because of its lively business environment,” said Mayor Talmas. Talmas then thanked all the business owners and affiliates that came to the luncheon to network, mingle, and partake in the State of the City address.
City Manager Brandon Buchanan began his presentation with the financial trends of the city. He shared that all sales tax trends were on the upward rise. To help exemplify the beneficial growth of Woodinville, Buchanan noted that there were 13 single-family units permitted in 2016. That number skyrocket to 86 in 2017. He shared that there is a downward trend in crime but, “car prowls are still a huge problem.”
City Manager Buchanan continued his presentation with  his  Policy  Pushes   for   2018. He stressed the importance of optimizing service  delivery  with four  new positions: Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator, Contracts/Procurements Manager, a part-time IS Technician, and an additional Patrol Officer. Buchanan stated the importance of an additional patrol officer due to the growing population of the city.
Buchanan then went on to talk of supporting commu-nity grants and how a great deal of this money is being used to promote tourism.
Then, the presentation came to the topic of Emergency Preparedness. City Hall now has an up-to-date plan with a fully trained city staff. Additionally, they have partnered with Woodinville Fire and Rescue.
The luncheon continued with a bit of glee when Buchanan shared that two small projects that were completed last year were some he was “most of proud of in almost 10 years as a City Manager.” These two projects were the Wilmot Park and the Woodinville Heights Park. Buchanan regaled the audience with a story of a time he went to his son’s school to share with the children what it was that a city manager did on a day-to-day basis. Laughing, he said he may have given the impression that a city manager’s job was to build playgrounds. He was proud to report that the playground project included input from over 1,500 kids that voted.
Many of the largest projects the city is going to see in 2018 will be brought to the council Tuesday, February 20. The Sammamish River Bridge has bids closing at the end of the month, NE 171st Street Urban Parkway is currently out to bid, and the DeYoung Park transformation is also out to bid. Additionally, the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse/Civic Campus is hoping to see a Memorandum of Understanding on this date. All Woodinville citizens are invited to attend this city council meeting that will certainly help drive the direction Woodinville is aiming to move through the remainder of 2018.
Other developments include Woodin Creek Village moving into its second phase, community connections such as the Eastside Rail Corridor, and the NE 145th St. Pedestrian Project.
Though much of the progress may be held by big, physical developments, new technology is being implemented to improve service. There is new permitting software, a new website, and new city council meeting A/V equipment all in the works for 2018.
Brandon Buchanan concluded his presentation, “Woodinville is 25-years young but we’re setting up for a wonderful next 25-years and more.”

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