Story and photo by Doug Petrowski
A myriad of subjects were covered by Legislative 1st District lawmakers at a town hall meeting on Saturday, including the possibility of Mountlake Terrace receiving some state funds to go toward street and utility improvements in the city’s Town Center district. All three lawmakers spoke in support of seeing money earmarked for Mountlake Terrace in the next state budget that will be proposed during the current legislative session in Olympia.
State Senator Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, and Representatives Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, and Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace, talked about various issues and answered questions from attendees at the town hall held at the Bothell Northshore Senior Center. Subjects raised included education, transportation, state revenue and taxes, health care, state employee pensions, state parks and hazardous waste clean-up.
As vice-chair of the House Capital Budget Committee, Stanford may play a role in the possibility of state money going to help Mountlake Terrace with its $12 million plans for upgrading the city’s Town Center. Once funds are raised, the city plans to underground utilities, make storm/water/sewer improvements, improve street and pedestrian lighting, widen sidewalks, add sidewalk amenities and resurface 56th Avenue West between 230th and 236th Streets Southwest, and from 236th Street Southwest west to I-5. About $6.5 million has been secured through state and federal grants, with additional money accumulating from a $20 vehicle license tab fee now collected from residents of the city; city officials are looking for a way to obtain the remaining $5.5 million .
“I really hope we can get some state money,” Moscoso told the audience on Saturday. “We could use it to revitalize Main Street.”
McAuliffe agreed; “One of our biggest challenges is Mountlake Terrace. We hope we can bring that to them.”
Stanford said he is well aware of the city’s desire to obtain some state money for Town Center improvements, but that specific grants to cities won’t be discussed until initial state budget plans have started in earnest. Serious budget negotiations won’t begin until sometime after March 20 when the next state revenue forecast will be release, Stanford said.
State legislators will be trying to balance a budget that may initially show a $2.8 billion shortfall if no new revenue is found, Stanford explained. When asked by an attendee where cuts may be made in the budget if necessary, Stanford offered no specifics. “This is a big problem,” he said. “It’s difficult to answer that question.”