Councilmembers on Monday resumed study of options for lowering costs on segments of the East Link light rail project that run through Bellevue.
Bellevue has been working collaboratively with Sound Transit, the regional agency that builds and operates light rail, since early last year on ways to shave project costs in order to reduce the city's contingent $60 million funding contribution for a downtown tunnel.
Last week Sound Transit published new environmental information related to the cost-saving alternatives. Residents and others who want to learn more about the options, and comment upon them, have the following opportunities:
- Cost Savings Open House from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, at Bellevue City Hall, co-hosted by the City of Bellevue and Sound Transit.
- Public Hearing on cost savings options during the Bellevue City Council meeting, which starts at 8 p.m. Monday, April 15, at Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE.
In addition to these public events, the council at its April 8 meeting will consider a proposal for a high-occupancy-vehicle lane on Bellevue Way, and recommendations on which of the cost-savings ideas should be incorporated into the East Link project. Then, at its meeting on April 22, councilmembers could choose which options to endorse, and the Sound Transit Board will make a final selection at its meeting on April 25.
For more information, check the council agenda item ; or the city’s light rail web page
Neighborhood leaders meet
Neighborhood Outreach Manager Mike McCormick Huentelman briefed the council on a recent Neighborhood Leadership Gathering of 84 community leaders.
The meeting had a three-fold purpose: to introduce new Neighborhood Outreach staff to neighborhood leaders, to obtain a better assessment of where neighborhood leaders spend their time, and to ascertain a list of neighborhood priorities for 2013.
"What we learned was a little surprising," McCormick Huentelman said. While neighborhood leaders spend most of their time on neighborhood improvement projects and advocacy for their community, those activities are followed closely with building effective communications, community development and preserving their neighborhood’s distinct character and identity.
McCormick Huentelman said a goal of the gathering was "to help create a community where the expertise of our neighborhood leaders can be shared and where they can best learn from one another." The city will host another Neighborhood Leadership Gathering in the fall.
Staff garner award for work on Giving Campaign
The council congratulated two city employees who recently received a Spirit of Caring award from the United Way of King County for co-chairing the City of Bellevue’s 2012 Giving Campaign that raised close to $55,000.
Julie Ellenhorn, with the city's Planning and Community Development Department, and Kathie Gillis, a Development Services Department employee, were honored in the Campaign Coordinator of the Year category. City employees committed about $51,000 in payroll contributions and checks. An additional $4,000 was raised through an online auction, bake sales, Soupfest II, and other events. The annual campaign benefits several local charitable organizations, in addition to United Way.
Other council business
- City Manager resignation: The council unanimously approved two resolutions: one was for a separation from service agreement for City Manager Steve Sarkozy; the second was to appoint Brad Miyake, current Deputy City Manager, as the Acting City Manager. More information is available online
- Bond issuance: Councilmembers approved issuing up to $85 million in long-term bonds to help pay for capital projects. Issuing the bonds will implement the council’s adopted capital investment plan and will not change tax rates in the city.
- Happy 60th: Mayor Conrad Lee marked the 60th anniversary of Bellevue’s incorporation on March 31, 1953, noting its rapid growth from a four-square-mile town of 5,940 residents to a thriving city of 31 square miles and a population of more than 130,000. Bellevue also is a regional employment center with more than 140,000 jobs. The full proclamation is available as part of the council agenda material
- Parkinson’s Awareness Month: Mayor Lee proclaimed April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological movement disorder of the central nervous system, which has a unique impact on each patient.
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