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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Council Roundup: Alternatives to NEP considered

Also, Wilburton Connections LID hearing set

A new playground at Spiritridge Elementary School was an NEP project in 2007.In view of budget constraints, the City Council Monday discussed less costly alternatives to the 22-year-old Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP).

Since 1988, the NEP has provided regular opportunities for neighborhoods to propose and select their own small capital improvements. The program cycles throughout the city every three years, allocating $4.5 million for projects in four to five neighborhood areas each year. 

With the city budget shrinking, project costs increasing and other factors, staff proposed replacing the program with something more focused next year. In recent years, staff noted, construction and maintenance costs have made the most desirable neighborhood projects impossible to build within the NEP budget.

Staff proposed a public engagement program focusing intensively on the needs of one neighborhood area each year, as opposed to four to five.

Individually, council members expressed concern about changing a long-standing, popular program. Much discussion was focused on the issue of equity, which council members feared would be forfeited with a program focusing on only one neighborhood each year. Staff noted that other Neighborhood Outreach services and programs, including the Match and Fitness "partnership" programs, are equally available to all neighborhoods. 

Council member Claudia Balducci suggested placing NEP on temporary hold until budget conditions change. Mayor Don Davidson said he believed the proposed change was "on the right track." Other council members said they would need more information before making a decision.

The matter will continue as part of upcoming discussions on the proposed operating and capital budgets.

Council agenda item

Feedback: Cheryl Kuhn, Neighborhood Outreach Manager, 425-452-4089 or ckuhn@bellevuewa.gov
Wilburton Connections LID hearing set
The council voted to declare the city's intent to form a Wilburton Connections local improvement district. The LID would help pay for extending Northeast Fourth Street east, from 116th to 120th Avenue Northeast, and for widening 120th Avenue Northeast between Northeast Fourth and Northeast Eighth streets.

An LID is a financing method used to pay a portion of the design and construction costs for road improvements and other public works projects. It's a way for property owners who derive a benefit from the improvements to pay a proportionate share of the project costs through assessments.

The next step in the process will be a public hearing to consider the formation of the Wilburton Connection LID, scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

Council agenda item     

Feedback: Eric Miller, Transportation Capital Programming Division Manager, 425-452-6146 or emiller@bellevuewa.gov.

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