Council receives update on MLT Transit Connection Corridor Project, 4th-quarter budget report

Recreation and Parks Director Jeff Betz and Parks Project Manager Donnelle Dayao speak to the Mountlake Terrace City Council May 11.

The Mountlake Terrace City Council at its Thursday, May 11 work session heard an update on design for the Transit Connection Corridor Project, which will include lighted and accessible asphalt pathways through Veterans Memorial Park and a pedestrian plaza at the corner of 236th Street Southwest and Van Ry Boulevard.

Donnelle Dayao, the city’s parks project manager, explained that the project’s goal is to improve pedestrian connectivity through the redeveloping Mountlake Terrace Town Center, adjacent neighborhoods and the transit center. The intent is to go out to bid on the projects in early 2024, with construction to be completed before Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link light rail service begins later in the year.

The project is being funded through a combination of grants from federal and regional sources, as well as Sound Transit.

There are three elements to the project, which is at 60% design: Building a new trail system through Veterans Memorial Park, constructing a pedestrian plaza at 236th Street Southwest and Van Ry Boulevard, and a trail extension that connects the exit from Veterans Memorial Park to 236th, Dayao said.

An overview of the Transit Connection Corridor Project design.

At Veterans Memorial Park, the plan calls for converting soil pathways to paved, lighted pathways to allow for accessibility. The design includes some retaining walls and a new pedestrian bridge crossing, “which will be wider and at a skewed angle compared to the existing bridge” in the park, Dayao said. The trail system has three connection points: the first is off 60th Avenue West, the second is from the Civic Campus and the third is off 58th Avenue West.

The area includes over 1,000 trees, and around 30 trees will need to be removed to maintain slopes for ADA purposes, Dayao said. However, because the park is located in a critical area, 10 times as many trees will be planted to replace those removed, Betz added.

The city surveyed the public on the various amenities to be included as part of the Veterans Park project, and received about 100 responses. Based on survey results as well as those from the city’s Recreation and Parks Advisory Commission, the following options were selected:

Lightpoles: aluminum power-coated black

Benches: live-edge wood

Railings: corten steel

Wayfinding signs: a post with a complete trail map

Interpretive signage: an angled railing mounted sign

You can see survey results as well as photos of all options at this link.

The site design for the pedestrian plaza. The artwork — still to be selected — will be located in the center of the plaza surrounded the tree limb-shaped seating area.

The second element of the Transit Corridor Connection Project — the pedestrian plaza — is located at the southwest corner of 236th Street Southwest and Van Ry Boulevard. The aim is to provide a welcoming place for transit riders as they exit the new light rail station. The plaza, which includes seating areas and public artwork, is 4,300 square feet and similar in shape to a baseball diamond.

The city issued a call for artists, and the public had a chance to review submissions from four finalists last month. The Mountlake Terrace Arts Commission will be meeting later this month to make a final selection, which will come to the council for approval.

Since the plaza location involves acquiring surplus land from the Washington State Department of Transportation, the city is moving forward with the appraisal process, Dayao said.

The third piece of the transit extension project is a trail extension connecting the exit of Veterans Memorial Park to 236th Street Southwest.

Related to the Transit Connection Corridor Project, the council also reviewed a $35,000 amendment to a contract with consultant OTAK for additional project design work at the frontage area on 58th Avenue West — one of the connection points from Town Center to the trail system.

“We did not know we were going to have to do this extensive of frontage improvements when we first started conceptualization of the project,” Betz explained, adding the additional design work is covered by grant dollars.

Once the project moves toward construction, staff will review updated plans with the consultant and apply for additional grant funding if necessary to cover additional costs, Betz said.

Due to the added work, the project requires more time to finalize the design and prepare bid-ready documentation, so the contract is proposed to be extended until Dec. 31, 2023.

The council agreed to place the OTAK contract amendment on the consent agenda for its May 15 business meeting.

Finance Director Janella Lewis presents to the council.

Also during its May 11 meeting, the council received a fourth-quarter 2022 financial report from Finance Director Janella Lewis. The quarterly report looks at revenues and expenditures of each operating fund, as well as reserve balances and changes in the local and regional economy that affect long-term financial planning.

Overall, Lewis said, the city’s 2022 finances remained solidly in line with the adopted six-year financial forecast.

Among the highlights:

– Sales tax collections through the fourth quarter came in above the forecasted amount. Total sales tax collected was $4,829,897, which is 165% of the adopted budget for 2022, and up $269,000 from last year, Lewis said.

– Property tax revenue is $6,530,654 or 98% of the 2022 budget.

– Gambling tax revenues are above the budget projections, totaling $1,147,141 or 110% of the budget. Prior to the pandemic the gambling tax revenues for the fourth quarter averaged about 97% of budget.

– Development services fees totaled $1,907,301 or 102% of the Adopted Budget.

– Fines and forfeitures were 31% of the budget, which is in line with expectations,” Lewis said.  “These fees continue to decline, but were always on average about 55% of the budget before the pandemic,” Lewis said.

– Admission tax revenues were $60,907, or 42% of the budget compared to the 2021 fourth quarter actuals of $30,639. “The increase in 2021 and 2022 is in direct response to increase in theater attendance after pandemic restrictions were lifted,” Lewis said. Prior to the pandemic, those revenues averaged 78 percent of budget.

– General fund fourth-quarter operating revenues were at 111% of the 2022 budget, and fourth-quarter expenditures were at 104%, both similar to the past few years, Lewis noted. “Operating revenue exceeded operating expenditures by $1,770,467,” she said. The ending fourth-quarter fund balance totaled $9,601,635.

– Revenues from the city’s Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) fund totaled $1,248,208 for the quarter. While this represents 277% of the adopted budget, it declined from the same period in 2021. That’s because a large apartment building was sold in 2021, causing a spike in the REET revenues.

The council also:

– Reviewed a work order with consultant RH2 for contract administration and development review support, and agreed to place that item on the May 15 consent agenda for approval. City Engineer Rich Meredith explained that the work order — not to exceed $415,000 — would cover critical work that his department can’t complete due to staffing shortages and will “keep us going until we can get the positions filled.”

– Heard a recommendation from City Manager Jeff Niten to change the title and increase the salary range for the position of recently retired Assistant City Manager Stephen Clifton. After a review of similar positions in comparable cities, staff is recommending a title change from assistant city manager/administrative services director to deputy city manager, and an increased salary range of $172,000 to $190,000 annually. That item will also be on the May 15 consent calendar for approval.

Other items on the May 15 business meeting agenda include several proclamations — for Law Enforcement Memorial Day, National Public Works Week, Asian American Pacific Islander Month, Arts Education Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. The council will also hear a presentation on code enforcement abatement.

You can see the full agenda here. 

To attend a meeting online, go to and enter meeting ID 897 2790 9105 and passcode 98043.

To listen via telephone, call 1-253-215-8782 and enter the same meeting ID and passcode.

You also can view livestreamed meetings and past video recordings at

For those who want to attend in person, Mountlake Terrace City Hall is located at 23204 58th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace.

— By Teresa Wippel





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