Northwest NEWS

January 18, 1999

Local News


New public works chief

   BOTHELL--The city announced the hiring of John Medina as the new Community Development and Public Works Director last week.

   Medina, a private consultant and former public works director from Sacramento, California, was picked after a six-month recruitment period following the resignation of former director Lynn Guttman last June. He brings 30 years of public works experience, and has headed up departments in three cities before becoming a consultant.

   Medina, who holds a B.S. in civil engineering, and a Professional Certificate in engineering management, begins work Feb. 15.

Sims: build new roads in Bellevue, not widen SR-522

   BELLEVUE--The current and a past King County Executives feel differently about State Route 522.

   Looking out for his own, and making brownie points in GOP territory, King County Executive Ron Sims last week said the state should spend Referendum 49 money in Bellevue, rather than rural areas during a speech on his SmartGrowth initiative.

   "If the state is serious about making growth management work, they will reconsider spending Referendum 49 money to widen the [State Route] 522 corridor in rural Snohomish County and instead invest in needed urban mobility projects such as a downtown Bellevue access ramp," Sims said before the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Jan. 11.

   Ironically, it was Gov. Gary Locke, a fellow Democrat and county executive prior to Sims who made widening SR-522 from Woodinville to Monroe one of the highest priority projects in his transportation budget that he unveiled in mid-December.

   With only two access points between Woodinville and Monroe, and one of those going to the Maltby urban growth area, SR-522 largely passes through rural Snohomish County. It serves as the major conduit between the Skykomish Valley and Highway 2, and the upper Eastside and Seattle.

Stage set for electricity rate hike

   EVERETT--Commissioners of the Snohomish County Public Utility District have asked for plans to cut $22 million from the annual budget, and for a rate increase in April that would add about $3 a month to the average customer's bill.

   "The long-range financial plan we developed last summer called for a rate increase this spring," explained Mark Schinman, PUD general manager. But with wholesale power costs nearly doubling over the past year, he said the commissioners decided the best way for the utility to stay in good financial shape was to both raise rates and cut expenses.

Comp plan revision open house set

   SEATTLE--King County will hold an open house for interested parties to check out proposed amendments to the county's comprehensive plan this year, as well as for year 2000 updates, in Bellevue Jan. 25.

   The comp plan, which provides long-term direction about how and where growth should occur in unincorporated King County, is updated once a year. According to the county, the majority of changes are housekeeping.

   An outline of major issues to be addressed in the update will be available at the open house which will be held between 4 and 8 p.m. at the Bellevue Regional Library, 1111 110th Ave. NE.

District to hold hearing for benefit charge appeals

   WOODINVILLE--Woodinville Fire & Life Safety District officials are reminding residents that benefit charge appeals must be received by Feb. 1 at 5 p.m. Also, the board of commissioners will hold a hearing for appeals Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Headquarters station, 19900 144th Ave. NE. during their regularly scheduled board meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

   The benefit charge is a fee of 32.5 cent per-thousand dollars of assessed value. It has been levied for the past nine years, according to Chief Steve Smith. It augments the regular property taxes the district collects.

   For more information, call Smith or Deputy Chief Ed Nelson at 483-2131.

City union hosts reception for new manager

   BOTHELL--Residents and the business community is invited to meet Bothell's new city manager Jim Thompson at a reception hosted by the city employees union Jan. 29. The reception will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, Fireside Room, 19333 North Creek Parkway in Bothell.