Northwest NEWS

January 18, 1999

Front Page

City manager: no taxes in 1999, but business licenses on 'radar screen'

Outlines traffic plans

downtown traffic

Westbound traffic on Woodinville's main street, NE 175th St., experienced gridlock despite green lights during a recent Saturday afternoon. The city hopes to coordinate all traffic signals in the downtown area.
Staff photo by Andrew Walgamott.

by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--Standing in front of about 50 business community members, many of whom he was seeing for the first time, Woodinville's new city manager admitted he has a problem.

   "My name is Pete, and I'm a city-aholic," said Donald "Pete" Rose last Tuesday at the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon.

   It was the first of many laughs this holder of masters and bachelors degrees in government, 19 years of public service, and now head of a third city got from the group. But the gathered were also there to hear what was billed by some as the "state of the city address."

   Rose outlined internal and external issues facing the city and gave the city's position on business licenses--they're "on the radar screen"--and new taxes--"for 1999, you're off the hook."

   Questions on taxes and business licenses had been stressed in a flier the chamber sent to members, and the former has been of concern the past two years since the City Council passed an admissions tax basically on the new movie theater, a utility tax, and considered extending the admissions tax to Chateau Ste. Michelle and other businesses in the southwest corner of town.

   As for business licenses, Jim Katica, Woodinville's finance director, later said the city would likely begin requiring businesses to register in a couple of months. He stressed it was "not our intent" to gain revenue from license fees, but said he would recommend a "substantial" fee if businesses failed to renew the free or low-cost licenses.

   Katica said having business licenses will ensure compliance with existing regulations, and that businesses are reporting sales tax figures correctly. Ultimately, the City Council will have to vote on licenses, and would have to approve new taxes.

   Rose also gave a rundown on transportation projects on the city's capital improvement plan. They include a study of the Hollywood intersection (148th Ave. NE and State Route 202), and SRs 522 and 202, and improvements to 131st Ave. NE and 177th Place NE (with widening on the latter), SR-202 and 127th Place NE, and 124th Ave. NE.

   The city also hopes to coordinate traffic lights. During the mid-day rush hour, and on Saturdays, traffic is often at a standstill on NE 175th St. as people shop, run errands, or attempt to get out of town.

   Luncheon-goers also found out Rose has a keen sense of humor, that in just his seventh day on the job, he'd gotten a feel for the issues facing Woodinville and the region, and that though he's a self-described "dour guy," he wanted to hear from them.

   Rose said cities go through life cycles, and that Woodinville, almost six years old, was not yet in its adolescence. But he said the city has worked on its image in terms of citywide festivals such as Celebrate Woodinville, Pioneer Days, and the holiday Light Festival.

   The other half of identity--planning documents such as capital improvement plan, comprehensive plan, parks, recreation and open space plan, and community urban forestry plan, were in place.

   "You might be saying 'enough about planning, how about some doing,'" Rose said. But under the Growth Management Act, cities need plans in place first before grants can be applied for and actions can go forward.

   As for what's coming up in 1999, Rose reiterated that staff vacancies will be filled, an internal Endangered Species Act task force has been created, and that a decision would be made on a civic center/city hall. He said the city was open to public/private partnerships on the latter item. He finished by saying that he hoped 1999 was a year of collaboration not just between the city and community, but the chamber and the city, as well.

   Though much of his talk was serious, Rose also showed his sense of humor and ability to fit in by cracking a few one-liners--on the address, he said the city had "sent the right guy, but also the newest employee"--drawing names from a container for a chamber contest and lining up dates for a single woman in the audience.

   "He's quick-witted," said Ray Sturtz, Woodinville's planning director. "There's a bunch of characters around here (City Hall), but we have a hard time keeping up with him."

   While Rose appeared relaxed during his speech, he later said he was not, and had lain awake for an hour the night before.

   Afterwards, a chamber official crossed his fingers when asked what he thought of Rose.