City council puts sewers on hold

  • Written by Don Mann

Tackles budget, a market study, the five dollar frank

Ordinance No. 550, regarding a proposed zoning code amendment to clarify sanitary sewer regulations in Woodinville, apparently needs more clarification.

The Woodinville City Council passed first reading of the ordinance at its October 9, 2012, meeting by a 5-1 vote; second reading and adoption was on the docket for its November 6 meeting.

But late correspondence from the Concerned Neighbors of Wellington group indicated dissatisfaction with some of its wording, particularly related to the R-1 neighborhoods, regarding potential forced sewer hookups in new development.

By unanimous consent, after assurances from City Manager Richard Leahy and City Attorney Greg Rubstello that there were no time pressures — and no sewers presently in R-1 zones, the council agreed to revisit the item in January 2013.

The council was then presented with the city’s proposed 2013-2014 biennial budget.

In an overview, Leahy stated the two-year budget anticipates $73 million in available sources (including a beginning balance of about $27 million combined with projected revenues of about $36 million) and $54 million in uses (including projections of about $21 million in operation costs, about $21 million in capital projects, about $1 million in debt repayment and about $10 million in “other uses.”) After a slide show of balance sheets, bar graphs and pie charts, Leahy provided a budget summary with the following six bullet points:

The budget is balanced within existing revenue streams; does not propose any new tax increases or new taxes; does not use reserves to fund ongoing operations; adds one police officer (at $90,000 annually); maintains city staffing at current levels; and provides a “modest” general fund operating surplus.

Next, the council received a presentation of the results of a market demand study produced by Buxton, a Texas-based market research firm retained by the city to assist in its ongoing quest to attract and retain retail development.

Using marketing buzzwords like “psychographics,” “leakage” and “segmentation,” Buxton Vice President Lisa Hill, after a lengthy presentation filled with analytical data, concluded that the city could do better in three retail areas: clothing and clothing accessories, general merchandise, and restaurants and bars.

Buxton is also offering the city unlimited access to its data research team, as well as a seat at its booth at marketing conventions where, Hill said, there was an opportunity to speak to 30-40 retailers over one given weekend.

(Responding to a group email, Mayor Bernie Talmas later said he thought the city paid $50,000 for the consultant, though neither Leahy nor assistant Alexandra Sheeks immediately responded to the query for confirmation.)

News and notes: The city introduced David Kuhl as its new development services director. Kuhl previously worked in Arlington.

It was also announced that G & G Dogs, home of the $5 frankfurter, would operate concessions at Wilmot Park this summer.

Mayor Talmas mentioned that Value Village would be moving into the old QFC building.

In her council member report, Susan Boundy-Sanders said she heard the Woodinville Village property had sold and asked the name of the buyer. Said the city attorney: “What we know is that Union Bank has assigned its note — which means somebody paid a price — and there’s an LLC … it’s part of a capital equity group that appears to be headed by the son of the Value Village stores. What their intentions are at this point … we don’t know. They have not contacted the city yet. Both the bank and the Woodinville Village Association folks have been relatively silent about what’s going on … So we’re going to be doing some additional inquiring to make sure we know what is going on … We really don’t have anything else to report at this time.”

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