Newcastle City Council Roundup | Nov. 7, 2017
Posted on 11/14/2017

Listen to the audio from the Nov. 7 meeting here and view the meeting agenda packet here.

Council Reviews 2018 Preliminary Budget

The Newcastle City Council continued reviewing the 2018 Preliminary Operating and Capital Budget at its Nov. 7 meeting. The group discussed staffing levels and salaries, examined the possibility of adding another police officer in 2018 and considered various budget amendments that would lessen the amount of reserve funds needed to cover 2018. The first iteration of the preliminary budget proposed using about $350,000 from the General Fund reserve. During the Nov. 7 meeting, city staff announced that based on revised revenue and expense estimates, that number is now closer to $235,000.

The council will devote nearly its entire Nov. 21 meeting to the 2018 budget. During that meeting, the council is expected to make a decision regarding the 2018 property tax levy and they could decide to adopt the budget. While the final public hearing on the 2018 budget was held Nov. 7, citizens can still offer their input during public comment at the Nov. 21 meeting.

Council Amends Downtown Development Moratorium 

The Newcastle City Council approved an amendment to the downtown development moratorium that will allow the city to receive and review permits for tenant improvements within existing structures. The exception only applies to tenant improvements that do not alter the building’s current footprint.

In reaction to rapidly increasing development activity in the downtown and a community business center plan that had not been updated since 2000, the council enacted a moratorium in July 2016 to provide the city with sufficient time to develop a downtown strategic plan. The project is extensive with revisions to other planning documents, regulations and standards that align with the new strategic plan under consideration. The work is guided by input the city received from residents and downtown business owners during an extensive public involvement process early this year and during public meetings.

The moratorium on downtown development was most recently extended for three months on Oct. 3, as the council continues reviewing recommended changes to the draft Downtown Strategic Plan.

Police Chief Gives Quarterly Crime Update

Through the first nine months of 2017, Part II crimes (which include vandalism, fraud, trespassing and more) are down compared to previous years, while Part I crimes (including robbery and larceny) remain about the same, according to Police Chief Melinda Irvine’s quarterly police report to the Newcastle City Council. 

There were 178 Part II crimes through September 2017. That’s down from 224 in 2016, 218 in 2015 and 269 in 2014 over the same time period. There were 202 Part I crimes so far this year, which is comparable to the 199 in 2016 and 197 in 2015, and significantly lower than the 297 in 2014 during the first nine months.

Larcenies, the most common type of Part I crimes, were down in the third quarter of 2017, compared to the first half of the year. There were 39 larcenies in the third quarter, 47 in the second quarter and 44 in the first quarter. 

View the presentation and report below
- Third Quarter Police Service Report (PDF)
- Third Quarter Police Presentation to Council (PDF)

Read more City Council Roundups at www.newcastlewa.gov/councilrecaps.

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