The Edwards Agency

Opinion

City could defer funds from other projects to finish civic center

civic center I have just learned that the City of Woodinville has refused to part with $1.3 million to improve 124th Avenue NE, despite the fact that two years ago, this street was listed high on the city's C.I.P. list (Capitol Improvement Projects).
   What has happened since then? If you guessed the proposed Civic Center, you are probably right. The city is squirreling away every dollar not already committed to supplement the proposed $6.0 million Bond Issue.
   Because the city is obsessed with purchasing the earthquake-prone old Woodinville School and the Sorenson Complex, the residents of Kingsgate who live in the City of Woodinville, and the residents of Kingswood, Winchester Hills, and Arbor Ridge, have been denied the much-needed improvements to 124th Avenue NE.
   The proposal by King County, and pushed by Councilwoman Louise Miller, would have improved 124th Avenue NE from NE 132nd Street to NE 160th, with the county paying the lion's share. The improvements would have eliminated a traffic problem that is getting worse daily.
   The city has more than the $1.3 million needed for this improvement set aside in R.E.E.T. (Real Estate Excise Tax) funds which must, by law, be spent on traffic-related needs. The city will, in all probability, use that money to purchase three additional acres of parking for the Civic Center.
   This is just the beginning. If the bond issue passes, we can look forward to other items listed in the current C.I.P. to be deferred, or removed.
   Despite what you have been told, the C.I.P. is not set in stone; it can be changed at any time by the City Council. It is reviewed and adjusted annually.
   With the city treating the residents of the Kingsgate Ridge this way, if the bond Issue passes, what makes the residents of other areas believe that they will be treated any differently?
   Don't forget, the total cost will be upwards of $15 million. With only $6.0 million in bonds, guess where the other $9.0 million is going to come from?

Bob Dixon, Woodinville