Crime is down 50%, finances are in tip-top shape and the city may be getting a dog park. Woodinville checks all the boxes for a successful city.
City Manager Brandon Buchanan and Mayor Elaine Cook teamed up to present the annual State of the City address at the Chamber of Commerce’s monthly business luncheon Jan. 16 at Chateau Ste. Michelle.
“The city is in great financial shape. Your city is on fire, in the best possible way,” said Mayor Elaine Cook, reassuring Police Chief Katie Larsen.
According to Buchanan, staff is continuing to work on permits, plans and projects. He said sales tax is the largest source of revenue in the city. Construction tax goes to infrastructure, he added.
Buchanan said development continues at “a record level.”
One of those projects includes a new hotel, in addition to Willows Lodge and Hampton Inn, which will provide for additional tourism tax dollars to go towards community events.
Buchanan said the city allocated almost $200,000 to support local activities. The city also partnered with the Chamber and Woodinville Wine County to put together events and resources, such as Celebrate Woodinville, Winterfest and the Visitor’s Guide.
He said the city provided $18,000 for community grants in 2019 and intends to do so in 2020.
In terms of public safety, Buchanan said crime is down 50% since 2016. Most issues are related to mental health and substance abuse, he added. The rate of property crimes in the area has decreased as well.
Local police officers and firefighters continue to serve the community. Most recently, Shop with a Cop helped provide 121 kids and 46 families with toys and clothing.
Last year included many capital improvement projects, which included roads, facilities, parks and public art. A majority of the tasks revolved around street maintenance and pavement improvements.
Buchanan said there are lots of new faces at City Hall, raising the total number of staff members to 50.
He said 2019 featured the groundbreaking for the Civic Campus, also known as the Schoolhouse District. The city received $1 million in state funding for the childcare center at the YMCA, Cook added.
Cook said the city aims to improve community livability by focusing on parks and open space, housing strategy and school impact fees. Cook was adamant that a dog park be created, Buchanan was apprehensive.
She also wants to see a larger variety of housing to accommodate more families. Impact fees are based on construction costs of projects that are undertaken due to growth in the district. Cook said schools are overcrowded and expected to continue increasing in size.
“There is not enough housing for people that want to live here,” she said.
Buchanan said he is anticipating 2,395 new housing units and 4,670 new residents in the next five years. Construction of the Westpoint Project, Woodin Creek Village, Civic Campus and Wine Village will provide for an abundance of mixed-use housing.
Cook said the Vine Village is expected to break ground in spring. The mayor was excited to add that the area will take on an agricultural theme of “forest and farm.”
The City is working with King County on plans to address public safety on Northeast 145th Street. She said there is a pedestrian safety issue on the road, especially after concerts and drunk people. The project intends to bring a pedestrian-activated crossing signal to the busy street.
Buchanan concluded the address with a reminder to the crowd about openings on Woodinville City Council and the Public Spaces Commission.