The Edwards Agency

Opinion

City using smoke and mirrors to convince voters

smoke & mirrors At the July 8th Woodinville City Council meeting, I asked the council to delay the vote on the Sorenson School Bond Issue until the November election to give time for investigation of alternatives.
   In response to my question, the City Manager admitted that the city had not explored any alternatives to purchasing the entire complex. I pointed out that since the major use of the ball fields was by residents of the school district, and not just the city, it would not be unreasonable for the district to realize that organized games are part of the educational process. The school district could withdraw the ball fields from the "surplus" property list, and make a contract with the city to run and maintain them with an option to buy.
   I also suggested that the school district could sell the old Woodinville School along with enough property for city parking. The reply from the City Council was to go ahead with the bond issue for six million ($6,000,000) dollars on the September ballot to buy the entire complex.
   During the study session on July 1, the council discussed reducing the bond Issue by deleting the three acres scheduled to be purchased from Brittany Park, but to ask the owner to give the city first right of refusal so the city could purchase the land for parking at a later date. They also discussed using Real Estate Excise Tax and General Revenue funds to complete the renovations, etc., to the old Sorenson School.
   In short, the city is using smoke and mirrors to get the electorate to vote "just for the purchase of the property." Once the city has title to the property, money that could, and should, be used for repairing and upgrading the infrastructure (streets, sidewalks, lighting, etc.), will be used to bring the buildings up to code, purchase the three acres from Brittany Park, and do the improvements to the buildings.
   In any event, it will cost the taxpayers of Woodinville up to 15 million ($15,000,000) dollars (or more with inflation) to complete a facility that will be primarily used by non-residents of the city. That is more than $1,500 for each man, woman, and child in the city, while the users are, for the most part, residents of the school district.
   You will pay the taxes, school district residents will use the facilities. Is that fair?

Bob Dixon, Woodinville