Published November 17 2023
Plus, mid-biennium budget hearing, ARCH work plan and multifamily tax exemption updates
The City Council learned Monday how the city leverages data to enhance community engagement, equity and accountability. Online dashboards that show everything from police data to livability and the state of Bellevue neighborhoods earned the city third place for a national Government Experience award.
Bellevue’s data collection is improving the city’s strategic planning and decision-making. The Council Vision dashboard, launched in July of 2022, continues to provide ongoing transparency into the progress of the council’s vision and priorities and performance metrics.
This marks the sixth consecutive year that Bellevue has placed in the top three for the Government Experience awards, issued by the Center for Digital Government. Bellevue ranked high for digital services across nine focus areas, including training and development, data analytics, and innovation. Councilmembers Conrad Lee and Janice Zahn will accept the award at an upcoming Center for Digital Government event.
More information is available in the meeting materials.
Mid-Biennium budget public hearing
The council held a public hearing on the proposed 2023-2024 Mid-Biennium Budget, which includes adjustments intended to ensure the budget stays on track with the policy direction of the two-year budget adopted last year.
Since early October, the council has been given updates on proposed adjustments. The council agreed to bring back the full mid-biennium package Monday, Nov. 20, for adoption.
After receiving council feedback during the Oct. 16 meeting, staff proposed a one-time $1.65 million transfer of funds from the Capital Investment Program (CIP) Plan to fund a backlog of pavement, sidewalk and vegetation control work in 2024. These funds will help address an ongoing budget shortfall for Transportation maintenance.
The funds will come from a project in which construction has been delayed. Design work is still funded for the project and will continue in 2024. The council will consider including funding to complete the project in the 2025-2026 budget.
No comments were made during the public hearing. The council voted unanimously to move the budget process forward for adoption next week. The full discussion is available on Bellevue Television replay.
ARCH regional housing work plan priorities
The council was introduced to the 2024 administrative budget and work program for ARCH – A Regional Coalition for Housing – a regional partnership of King County and Eastside cities working to increase the supply of housing for low- and moderate-income households.
The 2024 ARCH work program includes monitoring and preservation of affordable housing, along with support for development of new affordable housing. ARCH will also explore how to alleviate cost burdens for tenants from rent increases in new affordable housing projects.
ARCH will support member cities as needed in considering revenue options for affordable housing consistent with each city’s legislative priorities. There are also plans to advance special projects specific to each jurisdiction, including Bellevue. Examples include projects in BelRed near the Sound Transit maintenance base and city-owned land adjacent to the 130th Avenue light rail station.
The council voted unanimously to direct staff to prepare legislation approving the ARCH 2024 work plan and budget, to be adopted at a future meeting. The full presentation is available on Bellevue Television replay.
Multifamily Tax Exemption program updates
The council unanimously passed a motion to adjust the Multifamily Tax Exemption to align it with the Land Use Code. The tax exemption could be changed to allow the inclusion of affordable housing in a project for 12 years in exchange for a financial tax incentive. The code amendments changed certain tax exemption definitions to align with recent amendments to the Land Use Code for micro-apartments.
The changes also increased the eligibility threshold for these types of units from 45% of area median income to 50%. These changes are intended to increase use of the micro-apartment Land Use Code provisions and use of the multifamily tax exemption.
More detail on the amendments is available in the meeting materials.
Note: The next council meeting will be Monday, Nov. 20.