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A Message from the Mayor & City Manager

A Message from the Mayor & City Manager: COVID-19
Posted on 04/07/2020

To our community,

These are challenging and scary times no doubt. It appears the whole world has changed in a matter of weeks, and indeed it has in so many ways. One thing, however, that has not changed is how the Council and Staff at the City of Woodinville remain committed to our community.

Under Governor Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation, most local government operations are deemed essential and must continue. However, like everyone else, we ourselves have had to change many facets of how we operate in an incredibly short period of time. For instance, we deployed technology solutions that resulted in roughly 70% of our City Hall staff working from home within about a week. While we continue providing most of our normal services, we have temporarily had to suspend processing of passports, concealed carry permits, finger printing, and pet licenses. For the rest of our services, we have had to adjust how they are delivered. For example, City Council meetings will now only be conducted online, and agenda items can only be those items that are “necessary and routine” or those that are COVID-19 related.

A big piece of what we do at the City is processing construction and development permits. We are working to ensure our construction segment is primed and ready to resume work when the time comes. Thus, we continue to accept and process building permits, albeit only in a digital format for the time being. Large development projects like the much-anticipated Wine Village and Woodin Creek projects continue to work through the approval process to the extent possible. While most construction has been put on hold per the Governor’s Stay Home Order, limited work such as maintenance and repair on existing structures may continue and staff is performing inspections as necessary for that work. Also, per the Governors orders, some work continues on new construction projects necessary to “avoid spoilage” and “make safe” the previous work. For example, crews at the Civic Campus are constructing the roofs of the various structures to prevent weather damage to the exposed wood framing.

Parks and other public facilities have been closed for several weeks to facilitate the recommended social distancing practices and protect staff from potential exposure. Public Works staff continues to maintain the parks and facilities at near normal levels including mowing the grass and emptying trash. However, sports field reservations have been cancelled and refunds issued. Street maintenance is moving forward as the reduced traffic has allowed our crews to get a jump on quite a few projects including filling potholes and rehabilitating street medians.

Our Public Works engineering staff is continuing all the preparations needed to ensure we’re ready for infrastructure projects planned for this summer. Thanks to our Staff now working remotely, engineering and bidding continues on four street resurfacing projects, five pedestrian safety projects, several stormwater system improvements, and numerous other projects. In compliance with the orders to shut down all non-essential work, one project that had been scheduled to start already, installing a signal at the intersection of 175th Ave and 133rd near the new Civic Campus project, has been delayed for now.

The City Council and staff are also working to evaluate how requirements and orders related to the virus will financially impact the City. At this point, the City of Woodinville does not anticipate cuts to service levels thanks to years of sound financial planning and decision making that has resulted in a healthy rainy-day fund. Finance staff continues its regular work in support of city operations including paying vendors and contractors. Additionally, Council and Staff are working to identify community relief programs that might make use of some of those rainy-day funds to help those most impacted by COVID-19.

Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the City has adapted its operations to continue providing as many services as possible. While we’ve had to adjust operations for the time being, our goal is to both keep basic services going and be poised to get back to business as usual when this ordeal is over. In the meantime, keep a close eye on our website, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (both @woodinvillecity), or tune in to our (now all remote!) Council Meetings to keep track of everything going on at the City of Woodinville.

Sincerely,

Brandon Buchanan, City Manager
Elaine Cook, Mayor