Mill Creek to look at cost of annexation analysis

MILL CREEK — Mill Creek has its sights set on expansion, economic development and securing new digs for city departments.

The City Council directed Mill Creek staff to look into the cost of analyzing a potential annexation at a legislative retreat Saturday.

The council is considering annexing areas along Bothell-Everett Highway from Old Seattle Hill Road south to 184th Street SE.

The council also discussed annexing a commercial property in the city’s northwest corner near Swedish Medical Center’s Mill Creek campus. The area is expected to be a high-density urban center.

The council directed city staff to talk to property owners in the area about a potential annexation but not to spend money on analysis at this time.

“We’re only interested in looking at what it’s going to cost us,” Mayor Pam Pruitt said.

The council also addressed where to house departments within City Hall.

Currently, the public works and police departments are cramped into City Hall on Main Street. Over the past several years, the city has been looking at different plans for more space. Estimated costs range from about $10.3 million to $14.1 million, according to plan documents.

“A new public works facility is long overdue,” Pruitt said. “There is also a need for more space in the police department.”

The council asked city staff to look into Silver Lake Water District’s old office building and garage off of 132nd Street SE as a potential new location for public works.

“My gut feeling is it’s going to be a more economical way to go,” Councilman Mike Todd said. “That’s a big deal. We’ve been struggling with this for a number of years.”

The council also asked city staff to look into places to move the police department.

Mill Creek’s Sno-Isle Library site on the Bothell-Everett Highway offers one potential location. The library is considering moving, possibly to a location on top of a Target store, in the future.

The city would first have to ask the family who donated the property for the library if housing the police department would be appropriate, city manager Ken Armstrong said.

The 4,000-square-foot space that the police occupy could then be remodeled and added to City Hall for administrative departments.

“We need to take an honest look at what our needs are,” Pruitt said. “We have a long way to go.”

Armstrong said he expects city staff to have a detailed analysis of options for moving city departments prepared for the council by mid-April.

The one-day retreat included discussion of economic development in Mill Creek.

Pruitt said the council also asked staff to verify that sales taxes from online purchases were going to the city and not to Bothell, which often comes up with Mill Creek’s ZIP code.

The city, she said, is considering hiring a grant writer or a person to make sure Mill Creek isn’t missing financial opportunities.

The council wants to put together an economic development advisory committee that would include local business owners and people who live in the city. There was some disagreement on just how much involvement city staff should have in the proposed brainstorming sessions.

“We just didn’t want staff driving the ideas. We want the ideas coming from the people,” Pruitt said. “It’s an idea that can’t hurt. It’s full of potential for our city.”

Armstrong said the council can expect to see a plan soon.

“It was a positive retreat,” Armstrong said. “We got some clear guidance from council.”

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com.

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