Council hears of school district plans

On Nov. 10, the Bonney Lake City Council held its scheduled meeting a day early, rather than the regularly scheduled second Tuesday of the month, due to the Veterans Day holiday. It may have been sleepy Monday, but it still provided a few lively debates.

Early in the meeting, Principal Susan Black from Bonney Lake Elementary School and Deputy Superintendent William Noland of the Sumner School District requested that the city consider a zoning change and boundary line adjustment on a forested parcel next to the elementary school.

The district's plan is, after the zone change, to sell a portion of the parcel and use the proceeds for a new soccer field on the school grounds.

Councilman Dave King said it sounded like a great idea. "We don't have enough fields in Bonney Lake and this seems like a great way to help that situation."

Teachers and parents took turns describing the various problems with nefarious activity in the forest. A dissenting voice came from Tacoma lawyer Matthew L. Sweeney, who represents Dan and Randy Jensen. He stated a major complaint of his clients was the city's previous denial of a rezone of Jensen's property.

After considerable discussion, the City Council appeared likely to nod yes on this one.

"I'm a soccer coach and I think it's great," Councilman Neil Johnson said. "It's a no-brainer as far as I can tell."

The open-mic section of the meeting was spirited as usual, punctuated by the mayor's nemesis, Dan Decker, elucidating his anxiety with the possibility of duplexes being built in the Church Lake area.

In other action, the mayor sent forward a proposal to lower the city's property tax levy rate by 10 cents to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Also, he suggested the savings be "banked," in case the money is needed at a later date. The City Council voted to maintain the city's property tax levy in 2004 at the current rate of $1.60, rather than lower it. The vote was 5-to-1 with Councilman Dave King voting no. The "banking" proposal, labeled Ordinance 1010, was pulled since the proposal to lower the tax rate had already been turned down.

At the end of the night Councilmen Dave King and Jim Rackley provided a short lesson on the meaning of "banking" the tax savings. It doesn't mean banking real money, but would give the city Council the opportunity to use it in the future if needed.

The next scheduled City Council meeting is a 7 p.m. workshop on Nov. 18.

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