Local News

Community Center issue set for Sept. 17 ballot

  Dollars and scope still to be decided
   by Jeff Switzer
   WOODINVILLE-The issue of a community center will be returning to the voters this fall, as per the city council's direction, but the dollar amount and the scope of the project remain to be discussed.
   The council voted 5-0 to put the issue on the Sept. 17 ballot, though there was discussion about putting it on either the Nov. 5 or February ballots.
   "There's no easy answer," said Councilmember Art Saulness. "Each date has its advantages and disadvantages." Saulness favored a November or February date to allow more time for educating the community about the proposal.
   Deputy Mayor Don Brocha said the Sept. 17 date provides only a short period of time for the education process, but it's better than the alternatives.
   "I fear the November ballot will have mass confusion," Brocha said, pointing out the presidential race and the RTA proposal, as well as local races. "
   Our issue will have to compete with other ones for the attention of the voters."
   Members of the council also felt the issue should be this fall, rather than next February, because following the general election, there will be a higher validation required-40 percent of the presidential turnout-for the passage of the general obligation bonds.
   The first bond issue request earlier this year, a $7.5 million bond for the purchase of the Old Woodinville School, C.O.Sorenson buildings, the ballfields and three acres for parking, failed by about 100 votes to get the 60 percent necessary for passage.
   Of the 1,079 ballots cast, 639 voted by absentee, with the final tally
   at 541 yes votes (50.14 percent), 538 no votes (49.86 percent). The absentees included 281 yes votes and 358 no votes.
   Discussions to date have included speculations on why the bond issue failed, ranging from lack of education and misinformation to confusion and the cost of the project.
   The council is scheduled to wrestle with these issues at their July 1 meeting, upstairs at City Hall in Room 25, The council meets the first four Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. at 13203 NE 175th St., Woodinville.