Plus, mid-biennium budget update continues
On Monday the City Council reviewed recommendations for specific goals and targets to include in Bellevue’s updated Environmental Stewardship Plan. The recommendations were the result of months of best-practice and peer research, public engagement and polling to determine what sustainability efforts are needed, achievable and desired in the community.
The research and outreach efforts revealed a strong desire to take bold action toward environmental stewardship. A healthy community is seen as a high priority for residents, and many other cities and businesses are taking similar steps. During the discussion, councilmembers pushed for a mix of ambitious near-term targets as well as long-range achievements aimed at 2040 and beyond.
The next phase of community engagement will use council and public input to assess the specific strategies and actions for the plan. The council will hear three more updates as the plan progresses and the strategies are refined. More information on the city’s Environmental Stewardship Plan is available on the Environmental Stewardship Strategic Plan Update page of the city’s website.
Mid-biennium budget update items
The council later reviewed proposed changes to the city’s bi-annual budget as part of the mid-biennium budget review process. Councilmembers will review several topics related to the process between now and the end of the year.
Items reviewed at this week’s extended study session included Substitute House Bill 1406, which was passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor back in May. This bill allocates a portion of state retail sales tax to local jurisdictions for the specific purpose of supporting affordable housing.
The council must approve a resolution of intent to use the funds in order to begin receiving the revenue in January 2020. The city must also adopt an ordinance to modify the city’s tax code to support the use of these funds in alignment with Bellevue’s Affordable Housing Strategy. The topic will come back to the council on Nov.18 for further action.
In addition, councilmembers reviewed the latest information on implementation of fire inspection fees beginning in January 2020. The fees seek to align the cost of conducting inspections with the level of effort required by the department while also continuing to advance fire prevention efforts.
The department researched inspection fee amounts and models to achieve those goals. The effort included outreach to the public to gather feedback and introduce stakeholders to the upcoming change. The council will take final action in December on a fee collection plan.
The full discussion on the mid-biennium budget items is available on streaming video via BTV.