City Council News Recap | June 15, 2021
Posted on 06/21/2021

The Newcastle City Council roundups offer a digest of notable items for those who can't make it to the regular meetings. View the meeting agenda packet here, and the meeting video is posted here when available. View past City Council roundups at newcastlewa.gov/councilrecaps.  

 

Council Appoints Tom Magers Deputy Mayor  

Congratulations to our new Deputy Mayor, Tom Magers! Council voted to appoint him to fill the role vacated by Tony Ventrella on June 1. Councilmember Ventrella will remain a member of the City Council until August 1, when he’ll be moving to Pierce County to be closer to family. Tom has been the Position 7 Councilmember since 2018, and prior to that, he served eight years on the Planning Commission, the last two of which as Chair. He'll be filling this post through the end of this year, and the new Council will vote to appoint a Mayor and Deputy Mayor from among themselves at the first meeting of the new year. These ceremonial roles serve two-year terms. 

 

What’s Next for the Vacant Council Seat? 

When Tony Ventrella leaves Council on August 1, his seat (Position 4) will still have two years left on its term. In cases like these, it falls to the City Council to appoint a replacement for the duration of the term. At Tuesday’s meeting, Council discussed how the selection process will unfold. Any voter who has been registered for at least one year in Newcastle is eligible to fill the seat. If you’re interested, watch for an application and official announcement in the next week or so. 

Some things for both potential candidates and the public to note: 

    • Newcastle City Council will have until October 29, 2021, to appoint a replacement for Tony Ventrella’s seat. After that, the decision would go to the King County Council. Since Council will need to move fairly quickly in its selection, applicants should pay close attention to the deadlines that will be published soon. 
    • All interviews will be held in public. We anticipate that this will take place at a Regular Council Meeting, though it’s possible that a Special Meeting may be called. Watch Council Meeting notices in the summer and fall for more information. 
    • The Council will decide how many applicants to interview once applications come in, but the number will probably be limited to about six, so that the Council can vet candidates in public interviews in a timely manner. 
    • Each candidate selected to move forward to interviews will be asked the same set of questions, and each Councilmember will be able to provide a question of their own.  
    • Please keep in mind that all candidate submission materials are public records and will be available to the public right at the start of the process. Whatever information is on an application will be visible as-is to anyone, including items like the applicant’s residential address. That’s a lot more transparent than a typical job application, because the position is an appointment to an elective office. If you’re interested and want to know  how transparent a Councilmember’s personal information is, you may want to take a look at the information the state’s Public Disclosure Commission routinely makes available about elected officials. 
    • Once the application process is open, the City will advertise the vacancy for a minimum of two weeks. Stay tuned for further details. 

 

Juneteenth  

Mayor Newing proclaimed June 19, 2021 as Juneteenth in the City of Newcastle, a day celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. Read the full proclamation. 

  

Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Discussion 

Public Works Director Jeff Brauns presented on the Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan. (See Section 11.1 of the Meeting Agenda for links to slides, the agenda bill, and other supporting documents.) Some items of note mentioned: 

    • Newcastle does not take on debt in the transportation Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). If funds are not available, projects are deferred. 
    • Newcastle does not use general fund monies for the transportation CIP as other cities do, but instead funds these projects through a combination of grants, real estate excise tax (REET), and sometimes surface water fees. 
    • Low-priority items are kept on the TIP so that they can be eligible for grant funding. 
    • There will be a public hearing on the Six-Year TIP on July 6, 2021. 

 

City Manager Report  

In addition to the written report found in the agenda, City Manager Rob Wyman shared some additional news from the City:  

    • The City Manager mentioned aincident within City limits that occurred last week, wherein Newcastle PD responded to a self-inflicted gun-shot wound. While this tragic event is still being investigated and information available is currently limited, the Newcastle PD and the King County Sheriff’s Office responded promptly, and there was no threat to public safety. 
    • Based on feedback, Public Works will be making changes to the parking signs at Newcastle Commons to help clarify instructions. 
    • Error correction for written City Manager report: Newcastle was initially expected to receive $2.6 million in ARPA funds, rather than the $2.9 mentioned in the report. Happily, the amount we’re now expected to receive is $3.4 million. We should expect to see the first half of those funds distributed to us by the end of this month, and we will receive the second half a year later. 

 

Discussion on Homelessness Added to Planning Calendar 

Council voted to add a discussion on homelessness to the Planning Calendar, at a date TBD, to discuss if any measures, beyond the existing ordinances, should be put in place within the City of Newcastle.  

 

Do you want to give your opinions to your City Councilmembers? You can always email them directly at citycouncil@newcastlewa.gov, or you can submit public comment, either live at a Council Meeting or by writing to the City Clerk at cityclerk@newcastlewa.gov 

 

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