Bothell City Council exposed for avoiding due process to build a new $47 Million City Hall without a Public Vote
If you live in the City of Bothell, you will definitely be interested in watching what happened at the City Council meeting on May 20th
It is long, but you need to watch the first 20 minutes and again at about time stamp 2:54:00.
After watching it I am certain you will be motivated enough to visit the next City Council meeting in person and let them know how you feel about what they are planning to do with your money. The next meeting is Tuesday, June 3rd at 6:00 PM at City Hall.
In summary: First, they are planning on spending $47 Million on a brand new city hall building. Without a public vote and, as you can see in this video, without even spending an extra hour to review the 200 page document after getting the final price quote.
They already spent about $1 Million to get a design for it. Now they are discussing moving forward to close on a deal to pay Vulcan Real Estate to build this new city hall. The new building will be 66,000 square feet versus the current 11,000 square foot building. While we may need new facilities, do we really need something 6 times larger? They don’t even know what to do with the 4th floor. It will be vacant! Do we need to build a brand new facility when there is ample suitable real estate readily available at a much lower cost? Are there other things of a higher priority that we should be spending our money on first?
Of course, if you were a council member and received campaign funds from Vulcan Real Estate to help get elected to Bothell City Council, then I suppose you would be pushing very hard to award Vulcan this $50,000,000 deal. Fortunately we have due process that should protect us from conflicts of interest like this, yes? Well apparently not this time. Normally when the city is considering spending such a huge capital outlay, they put it to a vote by the public as will be the case for the other big item they are planning: a $42 Million bond measure they are going to ask for in the fall to pay for “parks and roads improvements”. Why? because we won’t have enough money after they buy this new city hall. But that’s another story.
THERE WILL BE NO PUBLIC VOTE on spending this $47,000,000 of our tax money, which, when you divide it up among the 33,000 residents (correction, 39,000 including those annexed earlier this year who were not informed about this measure at the time they agreed to the annexation) within the City of Bothell, amounts to about $1,500 for every man, woman and child in the city. Since my daughter isn’t paying taxes, I guess I’ll have to cover her share too. This is crazy. They haven’t even found where they will get the funding to cover all of the costs of the current project to revitalize downtown. And now they are talking about spending an additional $50 Million on one building. AT THE SAME TIME they will ask for a public vote on a bond to raise $42 Million for additional downtown revitalization projects including turning Hwy 527 through the downtown area into a boulevard (bi-directional traffic in the middle with separate one-way streets with parking on either side). And those improvements won’t even cover the costs to finish the plans for the park at Bothell Landing.
All of this while our road maintenance is already under-funded by somewhere around $70 million and our existing roads are crumbling and without adequate pedestrian access such as this article describing 195th St / Hollyhills Dr behind the Seattle Times building.
The Call to Action is simple: Attend the next Bothell City Council meeting Tuesday, June 3 at 6:00 PM. Sign up for the Visitor Comments which come at the beginning of the meeting. Speak your position. Stay for the agenda topic where you will be able to voice your opinion further. Make your voice heard. Remember that you elected them and they work for you. Be sure to watch the May 20th meeting to fully prepare yourself.
Last meeting Former Mayor Lamb also received a gavel in honor of “amazing service to Bothell”. Read this article to learn more about the truth of his character.
Request to repair Bothell road and provide pedestrian access to 1000 homes instead of spending $42M on a Boulevard
Open letter to the Bothell City Council and City Manager:
The 1000 households that live in Morningside, Hollyhills, and Pioneer Hills don’t need a wider sidewalk to connect Pop Keeney to the park at Bothell Landing as you are proposing with AB #14-75 to designate Main Street and the multi-way boulevard as parkways at a cost of $42 Million. What we need is a safe way for our kids to walk or bike from our neighborhoods to the YMCA or the softball and soccer fields in the North Creek business park that are just half a mile away.
While there are many roads within the city that are in great disrepair, I want to bring this one to your attention that is in exceptional need of repairs and improvements.
195th St / NE Hollyhills Dr connects nearly 1000 Bothell homes to the rest of the city. This road is the only connection between these neighborhoods and the rest of the city for pedestrians and the primary route for all traffic going into Bothell from these neighborhoods. Specifically, it has two problems:
First, this road is very badly broken and potholed. The roadway is so badly broken it sounds like a gravel road when you drive on it. It is so deeply cracked that it is now further susceptible to freeze cracking and heaving which is greatly accelerating the destruction of this roadway.
Second, and an even bigger hazard is that there is no sidewalk beside this road one side has no shoulder while what little shoulder there is on the other side is either saturated mud in the winter or overgrown with chest-high weeds and blackberry vines in the summer. Also there is one section where a jersey barrier forces pedestrians into the right-of-way even if the blackberries and mud do not. This is especially dangerous given the 2 blind curves and that it is on a steep hill. This is a very popular bike route but with no safe passage for bikes moving slowly up the hill in the lane of traffic and the cracks in the road make it very unsafe for fast-moving bikes going downhill. See the photos below. One is of a mother pushing her baby stroller on this road approaching a blind curve. This is the only route from the Hollyhills, Morningside, and Pioneer Hills neighborhoods into the City of Bothell including access to the YMCA and the 4 ball fields in the North Creek business park at the bottom of the hill. Today when my daughter and I go the the Y, we have to drive the half mile because there is no sidewalk and no shoulder on Hollyhills Drive behind the Seattle Times building. The Hollyhills neighborhood is low income neighborhood, so many of those residents don’t even own a car. They don’t have a choice. You can see them risking their lives walking down that road. Not because they want to, but because they have to. NOTHING has been done to the roads in these neighborhoods for at least 15 years. It is time to spread the wealth. There are now 39,000 residents in this city. Until you fix what is broken, you don’t need to spend one more dollar on that one square mile of downtown.
Please get this roadway repaired and add a sidewalk and bike lanes.
Readers, you should watch the May 20th recording of the Bothell City Council, in particular, go to 2:54:00 to hear Council member Tris Samberg put things in perspective on the latest bond proposal.