Wednesday, Wednesday, March April 20, 10, 2013 | 75¢
Serving the Mercer Island community since 1947
Wong to run for City Council
Searching for fish
Joint MISD, City Council meeting this Thursday The Mercer Island School District Board of Directors will have its regular April meeting on Thursday, April 11. The meeting will begin with a special joint session with the City Council at 5:15 p.m. at City Hall. The two groups plan to discuss the proposed facilities master plan for the district, as well as the impact on North Mercer campus tenants and the pool. The regular MISD meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. The board will hear an update of the educational spec process. To learn more or to see a full copy of the agenda, visit www. mercerschools.org.
‘Leap for Green’ this Saturday, April 13 The Mercer Island City’s Leap for Green fair will be held this Saturday, April 13, at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., stop by to learn about living green. There will be live music, educational booths and more.
Tax deadline next Monday, April 15 The tax deadline for filing 2012 returns is Monday, April 15. The IRS recommends that the best way to file an accurate return is to e-file with the agency and to choose a direct deposit if expecting a refund. To learn more, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov.
Senior surveys in the mail to Islanders The Senior Advisory Board and the Mercer Island Senior Foundation is sending out its annual senior survey in the mail this week to Mercer Island residents.
Attorney to file for Pos. 6, held by Mike Grady By Reporter Staff
Patti Brawer/Contributed Photo
A young bald eagle, slowly changing from gray to white feathers on the head, sits on a dock post on the western side of Mercer Island near the Brawer home on Sunday, April 7.
City spending to fight tolls to grow Mercer Island likely to hire more lawyers, lobbyists and consultants to fight tolls, conduct studies By Mary L. Grady
In its effort to fight tolls on Interstate 90, the City of Mercer Island has spend about $125,000 to date out of a budget approved for the work of $150,000. From Olympia to Virginia to Washington, D.C., the city has taken its fight across the country. The work of legal counsel and lobbyists hired by the city are part of a two-pronged effort to look at both the state and federal roles in
determining both the legality and the impact of tolling as a way to fund the rebuild of State Route 520. Within those realms, the city has hired help to look at the following areas that might determine if, first, tolls are illegal, and next, if there are other sources of funds to pay for the SR-520 bridge. First, the city is concerned that decision makers may opt for a more abbreviated approach to assessing the impact of tolling by approving the production of an environmental assessment rather than a full environmental impact statement. By law, an EIS implies that the agency in charge fully studies and documents the social, environmental and economic impact of imposing tolls. In addition, the city has hired
lobbyists to work within the state Legislature to look for other funding sources for the bridge rather than tolling. Next, the city wants to be part of the decision about the legality of tolling a federal highway to pay for a state highway. As a part of that effort, the city has hired legal strategists to follow lawsuits brought against tolling in Portsmouth, Va., in a similar situation. Finally, if the state does decide to do a full EIS, the city will likely hire experts to follow the work. The Washington State Department of Transportation will be the lead agency on the report. “If and when an EIS is a go,” Treat said, “we will want to monitor the work being done on the economic impact, traffic changes and other effects from tolling.” In that case, a traffic consultant and an economic impact expert will be hired, he said. A traffic engineer will cost $25,000. According to City Finance
Longtime Island resident, Benson Wong, has announced that he will run for Mercer Island City Council Position No. 6, currently held by Mike Grady. Wong said, “I am excited about the opportunity to work for the residents of the Island if elected onto the City Council. While I was born and raised in Seattle, the Island has been my home for almost 30 years. My family and I love living here. I want to use the talents, skills and energy that I have to help make the Island an even healthier community.” As an attorney with the Seattle law firm of Keller Rohrback L.L.P., Wong believes that the skills used while representing clients in his business practice are well suited for
Wong | Page 2
Read the full paper online Mercer IslandREPORTER www.mi-reporter.com
MI | THIS WEEK
Tolls | Page 2
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April 10, 2013 edition of the Mercer Island Reporter