January 17, 2000
WOODINVILLE--Woodinville City Manager Pete Rose delivered his "State of the City" address last Tuesday, Jan. 11, to a Woodinville Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Rose's address, almost exactly a year after starting his job, focused on upcoming challenges and plans for city development. Rose spiced his speech with a time-tested digestive aid: several belly laughs.
"We have stabilized city staff turnover and hired about half our current staff in the last year," said Rose. "We have so many new faces, you'd think we're a 'dot.com.'
"The ESA (Endangered Species Act for Chinook salmon) added a layer of review to projects and adds a layer to costs. It affects a large urban area for the first time in the history of ESA listings. That requires proactive responses from municipalities. For example, last year we created a Salmon Task Force, headed by councilmember Barbara Solberg, and took part in two ReLeaf projects along the Sammamish River in Woodinville."
Rose thanked Woodinville businesses for a 50 percent reduction in false triggering of their alarm systems in 1999, which saved the city a lot in emergency services costs. He also thanked the business community for financial support of the Christmas light display at Wilmot Park, and said an "arm-twisting crew will be sent out soon collecting donations" for next July's fireworks display.
Citing the successful opening of Wilmot Park, Rose said he felt compelled to give special mention to the Rotary Club's major contributions to the flagship park, "so I (as a Rotary member) don't get fined (at the next meeting)."
He said he wanted to clarify that the recent proposal to require business registration was a more reasonable alternative to business licenses, which would require a vote of the people.
Rose lauded Finance Director Jim Katica, recently elected president of the Puget Sound Finance Officers Association, and City Clerk Sandra Steffler, who is completing one year as an interim board member of the Washington Municipal Clerks Association and will run for election for a three-year term in March to the same position.
"I'm as interested as anyone to see how I-695 shakes out," said Rose. "There are two kinds of cities: 'sales tax equalization' and 'sales tax generator' cities. The first kind does not have a strong commercial base and relies more on state-funded revenues. Woodinville has a strong sales base and is a sales tax generator.
"Transportation is our biggest challenge. We have major impediments to north-south traffic. You get a better sense of that if you look on the map at how the Sammamish River, Little Bear Creek, SR-522 and SR-9 intersect Woodinville.
"Our CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) includes a lot of projects that connect with state routes and a lot of projects that do not. I-695 has almost forced us to make a choice of which to prioritize.
"Choosing the SR connecting routes, without internal projects, will produce a greater impact (on how easily traffic moves in and out of Woodinville)."
Some road projects have been held up, pending clarification of ESA requirements, Rose said. He cited the signals at NE 175th and 140th NE as the most prominent example. The electronic triggers embedded in the pavement have been broken by tree roots coming to the surface. Because federal money contributes to the project, the city had to wait until receiving ESA clarification last month. Now the city can proceed with a preliminary biological assessment, then begin the costruction project next summer.
The signal at Woodinville-Snohomish Rd. at NE 200th will be improved in the next year, as will the SR-202 and 127th NE intersection next to McCorry's. The biggest upcoming project will be the Hollywood Hill intersection, which will involve more public hearings and might require some property purchases, Rose said.
Public Works Director Mick Monken confirmed that the "traffic interconnect" coordinating of all traffic signals along NE 175th has been operational since the first week of January, so drivers should notice an improvement in traffic flow, Rose said.
The widening of 133rd NE in front of the Brittany Park complex--from NE 171st to NE 173rd--will take place this spring and summer. That will widen the street from 21 feet to 36 feet. The second phase will widen 133rd NE from NE 173rd to NE 175th, as part of the new City Hall construction. For more information on the CIP, see the city's website at www.woodinville-city.com.
On the Y2K non-event, Rose said no problems have surfaced to date, and that "the emergency preparation will serve us well when the big storm or big shake comes."
Stressing the importance of full citizen participation in the upcoming U.S. Census, Rose said the tremendous influx of residents since the last census, before Woodinville incorporation, has outdated many city records. He said all levels of government rely on census information to tell them how to best serve citizen needs.
To a question of who will use the old City Hall when vacated, Rose said a thorough public process will determine that. The Woodinville Historical Society has already expressed interest in some space, he said.
Help is on the way in the City Permit Dept. with plans to give "start-to-finish" customer service on projects by replacing transient contract engineers with three full-time hires, said Rose.