• Council Roundup: Budget briefing on proposed fire fees

    Plus, Environmental Stewardship Plan, Comprehensive Plan amendment recommendations and transportation award

    In the last presentation prior to the final budget public hearing next week, councilmembers received a briefing on proposed fire inspection and Basic Life Support transport fees for the 2021-2022 budget cycle. 

    Fire inspectors are required by city ordinance to check multifamily and commercial buildings on a regular basis to ensure they have working sprinklers, alarms and other necessary provisions to prevent fires. The associated fees were last updated and adopted in January and October of this year, based on customer feedback. No changes to those fees are in the current budget proposal, however councilmembers will continue to review them during even-numbered years, coinciding with the regular budget process.

    Councilmembers also reviewed a proposed increase in Basic Life Support (BLS) transport fees. Patients who require transport to a medical facility but not the services of an emergency medic are currently charged a base fee plus a per mileage rate for the transport service. The 2021-2022 Preliminary Budget includes a proposed BLS transport fee increase from $638 to $750 per trip, which would bring Bellevue’s BLS transport fee in line with other regional providers and account for inflation. The fee last increased during the 2015-2016 budget adoption process. The council will continue to discuss this fee increase proposal as the budget process progresses. 

    The final public hearing on the proposed budget will take place Nov. 23. Community members wishing to provide comments may sign up to speak during that evening’s City Council Regular Session or submit comments in writing to the City’s Budget Manager (ephillips@bellevuewa.gov) or City Clerk (cityclerk@bellevuewa.gov) by 3 p.m. Nov. 23.

    Environmental Stewardship Plan

    The council received a presentation on the Recommended Environmental Stewardship Plan and a report on community feedback on the draft released in September. Community outreach included a survey generating roughly 100 responses. 

    The report summarized the input on the draft plan, noting common themes including a desire to further strengthen the plan and environmental targets, review and update the plan annually, form a citizen advisory committee, and add more specific timelines and steps for achieving the actions within the plan.

    Councilmembers discussed the plan and the community feedback at length, suggesting additional strategies and tactics to incorporate as the plan is implemented. They also identified specific items to include in the final plan document prior to adoption, such as utilizing public/private partnerships to strengthen the city’s approaches and better integration of sustainability actions throughout city operations, specifically with neighborhood planning.

    The finalized plan incorporating the council input will be brought back for final adoption at a future meeting. The full recommended plan and supporting documents are available in the meeting materials

    Comprehensive Plan amendment recommendations

    Also on the council agenda was the annual review of final Planning Commission recommendations for a city-initiated Comprehensive Plan amendment related to the C-1 Affordable Housing Strategy and four privately initiated map amendments. Council considers Planning Commission recommendations when making the final decisions on annual plan amendments.

    The commission unanimously recommended approving the C-1 Affordable Housing Strategy amendment to incorporate policies into the Comprehensive Plan outlining an incentive-based approach for increasing affordable housing development potential. 

    The commission unanimously recommended approval of three of the other amendments to change plan maps to accommodate multifamily and business development on certain parcels of land. The commission voted 4-2 in favor of the fourth amendment request, to amend the plan map for a 3.3 acre portion of Glendale Country Club property from single-family to multifamily use.  

    After the discussion, the council voted 6-1 (Councilmember Lee dissenting) to direct staff to prepare ordinances for the Comprehensive Plan amendments that are scheduled to come back in December for final action. A replay of the full discussion is available on Bellevue Television.

    Project to improve 120th Ave. NE wins state award 

    WSDOT award image

    In other business on Monday, the council learned that the state Department of Transportation has recognized Bellevue with a Best City Project award for its 120th Avenue Northeast Stage 3 project. 

    Completed in 2018, the roadway upgrade, from Northeast 12th to 16th streets, was one of three sections of 120th Avenue Northeast improved over a five-year period. It was finished on time and under budget and was a collaboration between multiple city departments, Sound Transit and the state.

    The award honors the project for safety enhancements, innovation, project administration, community engagement, public satisfaction and integrating multiple travel modes – driving, bicycling, walking – in one project.

    Award details are available in the meeting materials.

    Published on 11/19/2020