Kirkland City Council lays out goals for 2019

Work plan supporting the council’s priorities will be discussed at an upcoming retreat on March 1.

Sustainability, trees and the city’s 2019-20 work program will be the areas of focus for the Kirkland City Council’s annual retreat, to be held at 9 a.m. on March 1.

City staff were set to return with a final agenda and location at the Feb. 19 council meeting, which occurred after the Reporter’s print deadline.

The council is scheduled to discuss the role and purpose of council committees and the work program in the morning and the Sustainability Master Plan and tree issues and codes after lunch. Council members will conclude with a “potpourri” of topics until 5 p.m., though the meeting may end early.

Council has previously discussed the preliminary 2019-20 priority goals and city work program, first as part of biennial budget process last year and again at its Jan. 15 meeting.

The work program includes a series of initiatives that implement all 10 of the council’s goals, which are: balanced transportation, dependable infrastructure, economic development, environment, financial stability, housing, human services, neighborhoods, parks, open spaces and recreation and public safety.

To further the goal of public safety, the city plans to improve fire and emergency medical services by constructing a new Station 24, securing a site for new Station 27 and exploring a potential ballot measure in 2020 to fund fire station modernization and enhanced operations.

Kirkland also will invest funds from the “Enhanced Police Services and Community Safety” ballot measure, which was approved by voters in November 2018, to facilitate community policing, improve school safety, reduce gun violence and foster a safe, inclusive and welcoming city.

The city will also prioritize information technology stabilization and migrate appropriate city applications and information to the cloud to improve resiliency and disaster preparedness, which also supports the goals of financial stability and dependable infrastructure.

Also for infrastructure, Kirkland will construct the Totem Lake Connector and continue capital investments to support growth throughout the city, especially in the Totem Lake Urban Center and the 85th Street/I-405 Corridor. This will help with balanced transportation and economic development as well. The city will also continue to partner with Sound Transit, the Washington State Department of Transportation and King County Metro Transit to ensure that investments along I-405 serve Kirkland’s mobility needs.

A work item that will combine transportation, neighborhoods and public safety is a partnership with the Lake Washington School District to develop a “Safer Routes to School Action Plan” for each elementary school, middle school and high school in Kirkland.

To further the goals of human services and housing, the city will support construction and operation of a permanent shelter in Kirkland for women and families with children experiencing homelessness and implement strategies from the Housing Strategy Plan, along with prioritizing affordable housing and “missing middle” housing.

On the parks and recreation side, Kirkland will renovate the new parks maintenance center building to meet the service needs of the city, and complete major park improvement projects to preserve and enhance quality of life in Kirkland, including Juanita Beach Park, Totem Lake Park and 132nd Square Park.

For the environment, the city plans to develop and adopt a Sustainability Master Plan, which will be discussed at the retreat.

Lastly, Kirkland will prepare for the 2021 annexation sales tax credit expiration by developing specific strategies to sustain prioritized on-going and one-time funded programs during development of the 2021-22 biennial budget to further all goals, with an emphasis on the goal of financial stability.

Since 2011, council has conducted two annual off-site retreats in the first half of each year. The first retreat has traditionally been focused on policy initiatives and usually occurs in February, while the second retreat is dedicated to financial and capital project issues and occurs in May.

See www.kirklandwa.gov for more.

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