Public input meetings begin this week for City Hall Advisory Committee

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    From left to right, Committee Members Eiya Wolfe, Vic Sood, Maggie Hyneman, Linda Rogers (Chair), Dustin DeKoekkoek, H. Stan Lake (Vice Chair), Rory Paine-Donovan, Stephen Barnes and Chris Finch pose for a photo before the committee’s first meeting in January 2017.

    The City Hall Advisory Committee will begin hosting public input meetings this week to receive feedback on plans for the new City Hall.

    During the City Hall Advisory Committee’s meeting on March 9, committee members signed up for outreach meetings to attend and were shown example comment sheets that will be provided to community members attending the meetings.

    Feedback can be given verbally to the attending committee members, but the comment sheets cover more targeted questions, like what customer service elements citizens would like to see in a new City Hall, how can Council Chambers be improved and what features they may like to see in a civic center.

    “The more information we get early on, the more we can address the things that are most important to people,” City Spokeswoman Virginia Olson said.

    The neighborhood meetings that are currently planned will be held:

    • March 15 (Wednesday), 1-4pm, Mountlake Terrace Senior Center/Ballinger Clubhouse, 23000 Lakeview Drive
    • March 16 (Thursday), 2-5pm, Vineyard Park Lobby, 23008 56th Avenue West
    • March 18 (Saturday), 9am-12pm, Grand Pere Bakery, 24008 56th Avenue West
    • March 24 (Friday), 2-6pm, Mountlake Terrace Library Small Conf Room, 23300 58th Avenue West
    • April 12 (Wednesday), 6-7pm, Recreation Pavilion (Coffee with the City), 5303 228th Street SW
    • April 15 (Saturday), 10am-1pm, Recreation Pavilion (April Pools Day), 5303 228th Street SW
    • April 22 (Saturday), 11am-2pm, Ballinger Clubhouse (Earth Day), 23000 Lakeview Drive

    More meetings are expected to be added in the near future.

    Four community-wide meetings with the committee, city officials and the architect are also set for (though some don’t have a location set yet):

    • March 28 (Tuesday), Ballinger Clubhouse, 23000 Lakeview Drive (Doors open at 6, presentation at 6:30 p.m.)
    • April 20 (Thursday), doors open at 6, presentation at 6:30 p.m., Location To Be Determined
    • May 10 (Wednesday), Time and Location To Be Determined
    • June 5 (Monday), Interim City Hall, 6100 219th Street SW, Ste. 220, 6:00-7:00 p.m. (Prior to City Council Meeting)

    The Committee is expected to make a recommendation to City Council after the community-wide meeting on June 5.

    To stay updated on future public input meetings, click this link.

    Community members are also invited to all City Hall Advisory Committee meetings, where they will have three minutes each to give feedback at the end of the meetings. Click here for the committee meeting schedule.

    Community members can also give input at any time by emailing CityHall2017@ci.mlt.wa.us. Those emails will go to the entire committee and their contents may be discussed at future meetings. If your email is bounced back, call Virginia Olson at 425-744-6206. If she does not answer, leave a message letting her know your email address and that your email was bounced back.

    3 COMMENTS

    1. Three failed city hall ballot measure delivered a simple message. They cost too much. As the overall household tax burden has become even more onerous in the interim, it would seem that cost would be one of the first concerns of the Advisory Committee. It isn’t even on the list of suggested subjects for conversation at the upcoming meetings. Its the elephant in the room; let’s just hope no one brings it up.

      This process promised a modest, frugal proposal. Yet what modest or frugal means to the community isn’t even being discussed. It isn’t that the subject isn’t being brought up by a couple members of the committee, but a hand-picked majority continues to rule the subject out of order.

      Where this leads is a preliminary architectural design which is supposedly desired by the community because meetings were held. No matter the project cost, an early June council vote will put a ballot measure before voters in November with what now looks to be a still very expensive proposition. Then for five months voters get to digest the implications for their property tax bill. After three losses in which cost cratered city hall dreams, the alternative to this insanity should be obvious.

      In fact another city, North Bend, is currently doing the “getting to a new city hall” process from the exact opposite perspective. North Bend is starting with a budget number they know to be affordable and then, in their own words, “reverse engineering.” That is to say they are telling their architect what the number is and asking the architect for a design within that budget. Not surprisingly, the council’s biggest concern is that they “will not be satisfied with the final design.” But get this! What they want is less important than what their neighbors can afford. They understand and accept that their primary constraint is the budgetary limitation, not what they or city employees may desire.

      • Len – Costs are at the forefront of many of our minds. Come to some more meetings and provide more comments. We’re just getting started on these. Margaret provided some great comments last week. As you know, I can’t really discuss anything here in detail but I expect you will continue to be a part of this process.

    2. Dustin, if that is so, why isn’t the subject of cost anywhere in the suggested discussion points for the neighborhood meetings? Saying in this written format that “costs are at the forefront of many of our minds” isn’t the same as putting the issue front and center in the committee’s process. As you are now multiple committee meetings into this with seven (7) neighborhood gatherings already planned, the committee is hardly “just getting started.”

      You wrote last Summer’s promises about a modest city hall if the Levy Lid lift passed. I have heard all of your statements made at the committee meetings, including the ones I haven’t attended. Those are the moments and the “details” that matter. If you meant what you said, why aren’t you doing more (saying more) to ensure the committee discussions focus on the reality that budgetary limitations remain the primary constraint?

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