City staff sends council a message

  • Written by Don Mann
Despite a brief respite from the troubling weather — a brief window to get things done, the threat of  snow canceled last Tuesday’s Woodinville City Council meeting, and with it the council’s discussion of 2012 priorities. The agenda item has now been pushed to the back of this week’s meeting’s agenda, “time permitting.”

Under City Manager Richard Leahy’s direction, staff identified four major issues it suggested be discussed by council: establishing a sustainable financial plan; clarifying the role of city government; establishing an attractive business environment; and building strategic infrastructure.

Regarding financial stability, staff’s No. 1 priority is to avoid new taxes — a presumed no-brainer to all seven elected council representatives and to residents throughout.

Staff suggested adding new programs and/or employees only happen when an ongoing, sustainable funding stream has been identified and secured.

It suggested to diversify the general fund by securing one or more reliable revenue streams, another no-doubter.

Clarifying the role of city government — or at least attempting to, staff said the city routinely changes its role when there is a shift in elected leadership, and so it proceeded.

Staff is asking the council to identify its desire to discontinue or reduce existing programs and services, or to expand and/or establish any new ones.

“There are numerous worthy and beneficial programs and services the city can provide, however, we  cannot be everything to everyone,” staff wrote in its report.

In respect to establishing an attractive business environment, staff wrote the following: “We have heard Woodinville characterized as ‘anti-business.’

“Sometimes these comments are directed at city employees, other times they are directed at city council, the community, or our regulations.”

Given its current and future financial projections, the report said, it’s important that the city have stable conditions in place to proceed, to attract the type and “magnitude” of development it desires.

“We should discuss the potential impacts of making continual changes in our development regulations to determine whether they correctly position us to be competitive in attracting development to Woodinville.”

In regard to building strategic infrastructure, staff touched upon fulfilling transportation promises: widening Woodinville-Duvall Road as well as the Sammamish Bridge and the trestle and expanding downtown grid roads to alleviate the existing and burgeoning traffic problems that the city continues to endure.

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