“In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” – Warren Buffett
Do you expect the city or it’s officials would call you or e-mail you to tell you about something you might be interested in? Yes? No! Maybe? Depends. It is our own personal obligation to stay informed. Did you know you can go to the city website and read about just about any and everything? Not tech savvy? Pick up the newspaper or go to the library or any city building and read it in print. And you can attend city meetings and read agendas on the city website. And some stories, like the recent brush fire at Falling Waters, missing vulnerable teens and funeral processions for those taken too soon might actually be on television.
There are so many opportunities to get various newsletters from the city by going to the website. Get press releases and legal notices right at your fingertips on your PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone. You can get general newsletters, the mayor’s weekly updates, the planning commission and land use newsletter, police and public safety newsletter, the BLPD Block Watch newsletter,
The city blog provides information and links for upcoming events, press releases, public notices, and newsletters in a single location. The city also shares this information via official Facebook and Twitter pages.
The Bonney Lake Police Department maintains a separate Twitter feed which is used to post public safety alerts and information.
Per Chapter 1.20 of the Bonney Lake Municipal Code (BLMC) the city has an official newspaper, and it is the one you are reading. It comes in print copy delivered free to your home, and is available online; you can buy it at the newsstands around town, or like it on Facebook and get breaking news.
Notices are posted in city buildings and the library. You can read this newspaper at the library in print or online.
And according to BLMC 16.04.13 that expanded notice requirements in 2009, the city is required to give neighbors notice in certain situations, like that a permit has been filed. And if you are not within the circle of notification, you can notify the city that your public or private group is interested in a certain proposal or in the type of proposal being considered. Like you saw a sign posted, or activity in your neighborhood, or read about a big project coming to your community in this newspaper. If you ask, the city will put you on the mailing list for the notices and updates pertaining to that project. The municipal code is on the city website to get more details and lists the state laws that pertain to notices.
Several weeks of projected agendas are also available on the city website, so you can mark your calendar and attend the workshop and council meeting about the topic you are interested in.
And the current projects page on the city website allows you to click on projects on the city map and read the progress/timelines of projects underway.
Here is an example: In the July 9 City Council meeting packet on pages 21 to 38 was the projected six year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) unveiled for the first time this year on the council agenda. There were no public comments that night about the TIP. A public notice of hearing about the TIP was posted on the city website July 11 for the hearing to be held July 23 at the council meeting. People commented on July 23. No surprises here; there were opportunities to look at the TIP for about three weeks before the hearing. In looking at council minutes, it was actually discussed at the joint council/planning commission meeting in April.
And remember, you can attend Community Development Committee meetings to preview what is in the pipeline, just as you can attend any committee, commission or board meeting, other than executive sessions of the council. The council and executive branch must be able to discuss sensitive issues like personnel or real estate matters confidentially.
If you look back through council meeting minutes, you will find that the discussions similar to what took place at the July 23 council meeting have also taken place previously with downtown property owners as far back as 2008, again in 2010, and 2011. If you look back over the years, you will also see that the TIP happens on an annual basis in the list of resolutions, usually in June or July. And you can compare last year’s TIP to this year’s proposed TIP. Open, accessible government.
The evolution of Downtown, Midtown and Eastown is ongoing, and to quote Michelle Obama, in her recent Parade Magazine article, speaking about new school lunch rules: “Change is hard—it’s as simple as that. You start making tweaks to something that has been a mainstay and you’re going to get some backlash.” As changes happen, these passionate dictums will continue to happen.