Council considering fall bond issue for community center
by Jeff Switzer
WOODINVILLE--With a fall ballot already packed with issues and proposals for increased taxes, the City Council is wrestling with the questions of whether, when, and for how much the Community Center bond issue should be put before voters again.
Last week, the council began to evaluate the results of the failed May 21 bond issue for $7.5 million. They have not yet decided whether to put it on the September ballot.
The primary election is on Sept. 17, two days earlier than last year, and has a field of candidates running for governor, as well as the proposed $215 million King County parks and open space bond. Then the $3.9 billion Regional Transit Authority proposal goes before the voters Nov. 5.
"I feel very strongly this should go back on the ballot this September," said Councilmember Lucy DeYoung. She indicated she would like to discuss the parking issue and dollar amount as well as look at the role the city can play in informing and answering questions about the bond issue.
But the question the council wants to ask--namely, how much the voters are willing to approve--can't be asked, under public disclosure laws.
The general consensus of the council was that educating the voters is the key, and that those who had received a citizens group mailing had been better informed. They also believe the absentee voters mailed in their ballots before receiving the mailing.
Endorsements and the PDC
At the council's direction, city staff presented the "fine lines" regarding council involvement according to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC).
Kurt Young of the PDC relayed several items of advice:
The council must notify King County elections by Aug. 2 with either an ordinance or a resolution for the Sept. 17 primary; this will require that first and second readings of the ordinance take place at the council's two regular meetings in July.
- Any written release of information must be factually based and well-balanced.
- Councilmembers should be sensitive to "appearance of fairness" and "conflict of interest" when publicly commenting on a ballot issue.
- City facilities should not be used to discuss a bond issue.
- Attending civic functions and writing letters to the editor are acceptable, provided councilmembers disclose the role they are representing.
The council is considering hiring Al Locke as Project Manager for the Civic Center program. Locke, who was present at the June 17 meeting, told the council that Woodinville is a young city, and it is almost a given that, like school levies, people expect the bond issue to come up again.
The coucil has also adopted:
- The 1990 King County Surface Water Design Manual and its updates since March 1993 and the Public Rule process creating an administrative path for public input to adopt surface water design updates without going through the council.
- The city's education and training policies, which pay up to $2,500 each year for a full-time employee's courses toward a degree related to the present or future career path with the city.