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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Council Roundup: Chelminiak's return celebrated

Also, budget discussion continues, lease clears way for Factoria trail and city prepares for stormy weather

Councilman John Chelminiak waves as he takes his seat for a council meeting.Declaring, "I feel really, really good," City Councilman John Chelminiak took his council seat Monday for the first time since being attacked by a bear in September.

Wearing an eye patch and a gray knit cap to cover head wounds still being treated, Chelminiak received applause from staff and others at the council's study session. Mayor Don Davidson welcomed him back with a distinctive gift -- a T-shirt that said, "I Won."

Chelminiak had joked about getting such a shirt in a TV interview shortly after the attack. Reflecting the council's sentiments about their colleague surviving the Sept. 17 mauling by a black bear in eastern Washington, they got T-shirts that read, "Bellevue Won."

Feedback: Tim Waters, Communications Director, 425-452-4090 or trwaters@bellevuewa.gov

Budget discussion focuses on economic growth and public safety
The council resumed its discussions regarding the proposed 2011-2012 budget, with the focus on two priorities or "outcomes" -- economic growth and safe community.

With the economic downturn taking a major toll on tax revenues, City Manager Steve Sarkozy proposed a budget in September that cuts 85 jobs and reduces spending by $11 million.  

At its Nov. 8 meeting, the council will discuss two more outcomes -- "healthy and sustainable environment" and "responsive government."

A public hearing about the budget is set for Nov. 15, 8 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall (450 110th Ave. NE). The council is expected to adopt a final budget and CIP plan on Dec. 6 (meeting agendas). Meetings are televised on Bellevue TV (Channel 21) and via the Internet.

Input from residents is welcome, and the council is taking e-mails about the budget at budgetcomments@bellevuewa.gov

Feedback: Jan Hawn, Finance Director, 425-452-6846 or jhawn@bellevuewa.gov

Lease approval paves way for I-90 trail connection in Factoria
Council members on Monday approved a 10-year lease agreement with the state Department of Transportation, clearing the way for construction of a safer, more convenient trail for bicyclists and pedestrians in the busy Factoria area.

The 10-foot wide, multi-purpose trail, which has been planned since 2005, will connect the north end of 124th Avenue Southeast, near Southeast 38th Street, to the Mountains to Sound Greenway trail along Interstate 90. Goals of the project are to improve safety and to provide a more efficient walking and biking connection, avoiding heavy vehicle traffic on Factoria Boulevard.

Earlier this year, the council accepted two grants to pay for the trail: a state grant for $605,000 to promote pedestrian and bike safety, and a federal grant for $354,400 to address air pollution and congestion. Construction of the project is expected to begin next spring. The lease does not require rent, but does require Bellevue to maintain the right of way, at an estimated cost of approximately $15,000 per year.

For more on the Factoria Trail Connection project, view the council agenda item at http://www.bellevuewa.gov/pdf/City%20Council/PacketRegularSession11-1-108c.pdf

Feedback: Chris Masek, Senior Project Manager, at 425-452-4619 or cmasek@bellevuewa.gov

City prepares for extreme winter weather
The Utilities Department reported to the council Monday that although forecasts predict a wet, cold winter, staff is prepared to respond to rain, wind and snow storms.

In addition to minimizing flooding risks and clearing streets of snow and ice, employees will work to keep water and wastewater systems operating during extreme weather. The city is also prepared to open shelters at several facilities should residents lose power.

Bellevue faces unique challenges during snow and ice storms, with some of the steepest streets in the region and the greatest elevation range -- from lake level to over 1,400 feet.

To meet these challenges, the city has at the ready more than 50 employees trained to operate plows, 14 snow plows and two anti-icing trucks to clear city roadways. The city has three additional plows and operators available to keep critical facilities such as fire stations and hospital emergency rooms accessible.

The public is asked to do their part in getting ready for a  potentially severe winter by following these preparedness tips:

  • Call 911 for life threatening emergencies.
  • Call Utilities at 425-452-7840 to report flooding, hazardous roads, water main breaks and sewer overflows.
  • Monitor weather updates and find resources at Extreme Weather Response. You can sign up to receive e-mails when new information is posted on that page.
  • Clear storm drains of leaves and debris to help prevent flooding.
  • Avoid downed power lines and do not drive through standing or flowing water.
  • Treat dark intersections as four-way stops.
  • During snow storms, be familiar with snow routes, follow detours and obey road closures.
  • Slow down and give snow plow operators room to work.
  • Use traction tires or chains.
  • Do not park in intersections or block streets.
  • Clear sidewalks on your property of snow and ice.
  • Be prepared to be on your own for three to four days.

Feedback: Wendy Hairfield, Utilities Community Relations Specialist, 425-452-5215 or whairfield@bellevuewa.gov

Councilman Chelminiak and Mayor Davidson show off T-shirts.

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