Civic Center Bond Issue
Complex of outdated buildings to renovate
by Bob Dixon, former Woodinville City Councilmember
We are being asked, on May 21st, to vote on $7.5 million in Municipal Bonds to purchase the Sorenson complex and three additional acres for parking.
Might this be the camel's nose in the tent, for if the bond issue passes, the city will have a complex of outdated buildings in need of extensive renovations to be brought up to code.
A Citizens Advisory Panel had recommended $14.5 to $15 million for the civic campus (which includes additional property), but felt that taxpayers would not approve that amount (would you?)
Where will the additional $7.5 million come from?
The city can issue up to $22 million in Councilmanic Bonds without voter (your) approval. We will pay for any Councilmanic Bonds with increased taxes, over and above the municipal bond repayment.
Part of the $7.5 million I am especially concerned about is $1.7 million to be paid to the next-door neighbor, Brittany Park, for 3.08 acres of land to be used for parking. Who is going to use this parking provided by the city? If you guessed Brittany Park residents and employees, you could be right, since this will be a retirement, not a nursing home, facility. The city has informed Brittany Park that they will not be required to provide even the one parking space for each two units they proposed (letter to Brittany Park dated March 23, 1995). Thus the "surplus" three acres that the city proposes to buy with your tax dollars.
The bond issue is a "feel good" issue at the moment, sugar coated with soccer fields, senior and youth facilities, parking, etc. But these things are implied, not guaranteed. The School District currently owns the soccer fields: it does not have to sell them. The fields should be part of the School District recreation program, perhaps with joint cost of maintenance with the city.
The city has until August 1997 to purchase all or part of the Sorenson complex. Perhaps we need to proceed more slowly and economically.
Remember, too, that two more Bond issues will be coming up: one for Parks and Open Space in September, and the other for the RTA in November. Each will ask for a few more dollars from us to be added to our ever-increasing tax bills.
If our city is willing to spend $500.00 for trash receptacles (garbage cans), do you really believe that they will stop at $15 million on the Civic Center? That's $1,500.00 for each man, woman, and child in the City of Woodinville (pop. 10,000).