By Scott Hamilton
Founder, Sammamish Comment
The Sammamish City Council held its last meeting of 2018 yesterday, ending the most contentious and divisive year I’ve seen since the incorporation vote in 1998.
As 2019 prepares to arrive, it’s time for a fresh approach to how this city is governed.
The city council, administration and staff has been consumed by traffic concurrency, the resulting building moratorium and related development regulations all year—really, since October 2017, when the moratorium was adopted to give the government time to sort out the concurrency issues.
These issues consumed the city nearly to the exclusion of all else.
Continue reading “Time for fresh approaches”
The Sammamish Community Center, a $33m facility funded with $28m of Sammamish taxpayers’ money and operated exclusively by the Y, generated at least $1.4m in surplus that is being sent to Seattle Y, raising questions regarding accounting methods.
The Community Center exceeded all expectations set forth in the city’s original plan. The city thought the Community Center will attract 1,750 members, with a monthly membership rates for a family at $68. In reality, more than 5,700 memberships were sold, with monthly membership rates for a family at $138.
The difference is sent to Seattle, although it supposed to stay in Sammamish.
Continue reading “Financial statements show Seattle YMCA siphons at least $1.4m annually from Sammamish”
The Sammamish City Council faces several key issues ahead this year.
Many will be discussed at the annual retreat Jan. 19-21 at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma. It’s open to the public.
Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of the major issues facing the Sammamish City Council this year. It probably isn’t a comprehensive list and events may cause new issues to emerge and some of these to drop off.
Continue reading “Looking ahead in Sammamish for 2017, Part 2”
The news that the proposed Sammamish/YMCA community center is already $4m over the price presented to voters is a real concern.
With only 30 percent of the project designed, city officials hope that when 60% is designed, costs will be fined-tuned and closer to the $30m taxpayers were told this project would cost.
I’m not so sanguine.
Buildings and construction projects seem to have a habit of gaining costs. Unknown unknowns can add to the cost. Project delays can increase the cost. Any number of things can do so.
Based on the Sammamish Review article linked above, it sounds like the City Council is pretty much going to bite the bullet and move ahead with a shrug of the shoulders (to mix metaphors).
This project started out as a $64m Taj Mahal. I sure hope it doesn’t have design creep that drives up the cost even more than it is coming out of the box.
That’s what the arithmetic says. See here for the debate.
The Sammamish City Council is poised to approve the management agreement with the YMCA on Feb. 19.
The lengthy agreement is here: ComCtrOpAgreement21413
In a last-ditch effort to alter the path toward the Community Center size and YMCA element, Arthur Goldman, an opponent, commissioned a public opinion survey that concluded an opposite result to the November advisory vote in which citizens approved the Center and the Y deal. Goldman’s letter to the Council is below the jump.
The Citizens for Sammamish this month held a meeting about the Community Center. I attended, as did Councilmen Don Gerend and Ramiro Valderrama; several employees for Columbia Athletic Center/Pine Lake Club and officials of the YMCA.
Frankly (and I more or less said so) I found the meeting to be perplexing since the die was cast. With the advisory vote a clear winner–by nearly 7 percentage points (Obama won by four and Inslee by three)–the City Council fairly could conclude it had a mandate to proceed with the $30m building, the YMCA management agreement and the $1/yr lease of the Y’s property next to Pine Lake Middle School for eventual development of another recreational facility.
The owner of the Pine Lake Club accused the City of double-dealing and dishonesty. But in the end, nothing was going to change and nothing did.
See below the jump for written exchanges and the public opinion survey.
Continue reading “Sammamish to approve YMCA deal Feb. 19”
Through Nov. 14, King County Elections ballot results give the Sammamish Community Center a 53.18% Yes vote to 46.82% No. The margin is 1,402.
Through Nov. 14, 24,504 votes had been cast in all races and 22,030 in the Proposition 1 ballot. Total voter turnout recorded through Nov. 14 was 84.66% of the 28,998 registered voters.
Only 115 ballots from Sammamish were received Nov. 14.
This data is close enough to being finished that I can offer these observations:
- My unscientific poll finished pre-election with a 55.73% Yes polling. (Since then, a couple of more people voted No in the poll, but since this is after the election, these votes don’t count.) My polling was 2.55 percentage points at variance with the Nov. 14 results, well within standard margins of error. (Keep this in mind; this will relate to a future post.)
- With a margin spread of 6.36 points, the City Council has a comfortable win. It’s not a landslide but neither is it a squeaker. (President Obama and Gov.-elect Jay Inslee would have wished they had a similar margin.) The City Council can fairly and confidently conclude it has a solid basis on which to go forward with the Community Center and with final negotiations for a management contract with the YMCA.
- Concerned citizens have no solid basis to try and block moving forward, but they certainly can pressure the Council to negotiate a contract that minimizes risk to the City and, hopefully, shares in the profits. Although the Y is said to want the City to share in the P&L risk if it wants a share of the profits, my view is that the City is absorbing 83% of the construction risk and this is plenty, thank you very much.
- The name “City of Sammamish” better be the Big Type on the side of the building. “Managed by YMCA” should be the sub-type.