Bothell City Hall. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Bothell City Hall. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Bothell wants input on potential public safety ballot measure

City asks citizens to weigh in on fire, emergency medical, police and municipal court services.

This spring, the city of Bothell is gathering community comment as it considers a public safety ballot measure. The Bothell City Council is urging residents to weigh in on the future of their public safety services.

Population growth, emerging social challenges such as the opioid epidemic and an increasingly complicated legal environment are straining the city’s fire, emergency medical, police and municipal court services, according to a press release. The council wants to hear from the community as it explores options to address the mismatch between public safety demands and the city’s financial capacity.

“Keeping Bothell community members safe is our top priority,” stated Mayor Andy Rheaume. “But resources are being stretched and there’s an open question about whether or not we can continue to provide current levels of service much longer. It’s critical that we hear from our citizens on this important topic.”

During eight years of the Great Recession and its aftermath, city property taxes were not increased in an attempt to help residents weather the downturn. Bothell now faces challenges funding essential services, and may consider going to voters with one or more ballot measures this November to fund public safety operational and/or capital needs.

The first in a series of City Council work sessions about public safety will be on April 17, followed by meetings on May 8 and June 5. The council will make a decision about a potential ballot measure in June.

City Manager Jennifer Phillips said that the city has already looked for budget efficiencies and has been proactive about addressing its financial challenges, but has concluded that current levels of service cannot be sustained at current funding levels. She said that Bothell residents have to make a decision about the future of their city.

The city has also looked to grants to fund services like the police embedded navigator program, which operates in Bothell and Shoreline. It has been a very successful program, Phillips said, as a mental health professional is able to ride along with officers on calls and provide one-on-one help and resources right away to people that need them.

The “nature of public safety work has changed,” according to Assistant City Manager Torie Brazitis, as law enforcement officers are often called to respond to incidents involving mental health, opioids and homelessness. The city also has capital needs, and may look to upgrade its fire stations and court facilities to meet growing demand.

Public comment on the city’s public safety services and funding challenges is encouraged. Residents can share their thoughts online through the city’s website or social media channels, and can sign up to speak to the council before each meeting begins at the table outside the council chambers. For those who can’t make it, council meetings are available live on UStream and posted on YouTube.

“No decisions have been made about the best approach for addressing the public safety challenges we are facing,” Rheaume stated. “We want to be responsive to our community. It’s critical for the City Council and staff to hear from our residents about their concerns, needs and priorities around these essential services.”

Share your thoughts:

Web: www.bothellwa.gov/1285/Investing-in-Public-Safety

Fill out an online comment form and sign up for regular updates.

Email: PublicSafety@bothellwa.gov

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/BothellWaUSA

Twitter: @CityofBothell

More in News

King County Flood Control District approves 2019 Budget on Nov. 5. Photo courtesy of King County Flood Control District.
King County Flood Control District approves $93 million budget

The 2019 District Budget will maintain current flood protection services.

Student veterans receive new resource center at UW Bothell

The Veterans Resource Center at UW Bothell was created after student veterans indicated they wanted a space designated for themselves.

Bothell voters approve public safety ballot measures

As of election night on Nov. 6, both the levy and bond were passing.

Democrats lead in 46th Legislative District

Voters are sending David Frockt, Gerry Pollet and Javier Valdez back to Olympia.

Democrats lead in 1st Legislative District

Derek Stanford and Shelley Kloba were successful in their re-election bids.

DelBene leads in 1st Congressional District in early returns

As of election night, incumbent Suzan DelBene was leading with 69 percent of the vote, to Jeffrey Beeler’s 31 percent.

UW Bothell Student Veterans Services held an Open House and Coffee event during this year’s Welcome Week and remains the main arm in helping veterans. The new resource center adds to this support. Photo courtesy of Marc Studer, UW Bothell
UW Bothell opens new veterans resource center on campus

The new Veteran Resource Center is designed to connect veterans and build relationships.

In Kenmore, the SMP applies to Lake Washington, Sammamish River, and Swamp Creek and associated wetlands. Bothell’s SMP, which was last updated in 2013, also governs development next to the Sammamish River (pictured) and Swamp Creek, along with North Creek. Photo courtesy of Mark Hussein
Bothell, Kenmore look to protect shorelines

Shoreline master programs protect and restore valuable aquatic resources for future generations.

Ashe joins Bothell as new economic development manager

She will work cooperatively with both long-time and future business owners in the city.

Said Farzad reportedly called in numerous bomb threats to state agency offices in Olympia. No bombs have been found, but the state agencies are increasing police presence and bomb-sniffing dogs. Reporter File Photo
Suspended psychiatrist suspected of making bomb threats

The suspect was previously convicted of telephone harassment of a Bothell insurance company and has reportedly called in numerous threats from various countries. No bombs have been found.

Suspect steals soccer goal posts | Police Blotter

The Bothell police blotter for Oct. 23 through 26.

Map shows the major river locations in King County. Photo courtesy of King County
King County leaders urge residents to prepare for seasonal flooding

Executive Constantine and Flood Control district chair Dunn urge preparedness to ensure people and property remain safe.