With the primary behind us, it’s now on to the general election and the issues facing Sammamish.
Here are the issues that are already apparent for the candidates to address in the general election, in no particular order:
- Kick-starting the Town Center. The capital markets still remain very tight for development. How can the city help kick-start the Town Center in the continued challenging economic climate?
- The Community Center. The city is proposing a concept that I’ve already labeled the Taj Mahal. I previously compared the proposal to city hall: 2 1/2 times the size at seven times the cost. I got some pushback on the price comparison from one of the council members, who questioned the figure I used for the cost of city hall. Even granting his figure–which I don’t–there is a mismatch. In the most recent newsletter, the city cleverly separated the infrastructure price (some $20 million) from the cost of the building ($44 million), saying the infrastructure (improvements to 228th and a parking garage) would also serve the Town Center. But don’t be fooled: the infrastructure isn’t triggered without the community center, and taxpayers will be asked to foot the bill in a bond vote. But is this the best solution? I’m not sure it is. The YMCA has tried for years to partner with the city to build a community center. This would shave millions of dollars off the cost (and the Y already owns the land, by the way) to taxpayers for a similar concept. I don’t think this option has received due consideration. This ought to be a big topic of debate for the candidates.
- The city’s fiscal soundness. The so-called cross-0ver point where expenses exceed revenues has been pushed to the right by deferring many road projects. But the day of reckoning will surely come.
- What capital projects should take priority? There’s the community center. There’s development of a lakefront park. There are road projects. There remains an appalling lack of sidewalks or walking paths on particularly dangerous roads (Beaver Lake Drive, SE 24th Way to East Lake Sammamish Parkway, Snake Hill/Thompson Hill Road) just to name a few).