MI Weekly

    A weekly update from the City of Mercer Island

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(For event details, visit the City's online calendar or click on a specific event)

Oct 17

Oct 18

Oct 20

Oct 21

Oct 22

Oct 23

Oct 24

Oct 25

Oct 27

Debbie Bertlin

Volunteer Opportunities 

9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040



Monday - Friday
8:30am to 5:00pm

Donations Requested 

The Mercer Island Food Pantry relies on your non-perishable food donations to keep the shelves stocked year-round.
Click for more info.
Oct 17, 2018 | Vol. 13 | No. 42
BudgetHow Will the City Balance the Budget?
Click to view the City's budget page
At the Tuesday, October 16 meeting, the City Manager presented the 2019-2020 Biennial Budget to the City Council. The fundamental purpose of the City's budget is to allocate resources that support the community's priorities. It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the community's expectation for quality services considering the City's ongoing structural deficit.

To help balance the budget, the City will use $2 million in one-time resources, $1.2 million in reductions, and set aside $4.6 million for the City's Rainy Day Fund.   While the 2019-2020 Biennial Budget is balanced, the growing budget shortfall for each of the following budget years is summarized below:

Remaining General Fund forecasted deficits
3,442,004 3,820,426 4,222,163 4,656,490
YFS Fund forecasted deficits
293,291 315,702 357,962 405,799
TOTAL forecasted deficits

Given the magnitude of the projected deficits, all City services will likely be impacted, including public safety. As a responsible municipal corporation, the City will need to identify additional reductions beginning in 2019, beyond those currently proposed, to lessen the impacts on future years. By law, the City must balance its budget: there is no opportunity to live on credit. And with reduced revenues, the City will have to focus on providing only legally mandated services, which will fundamentally change the way the community is served.

The City will hold two public hearings for the proposed budget: October 23 and November 20. For more information visit the City's Budget page.    
TC_ParkingComment on Commuter Parking and Mixed-Use Proposals
Location of proposed project at site of old Tully's Coffee; click to submit comments or read conceptual proposals
Next Monday, October 22, from 6:30-8:30pm at the Community Center, the City will host an open house presentation for residents to meet and ask questions of the five semi-finalists selected to develop a proposed commuter parking and mixed-use project in Town Center.

For residents unable to attend in person, or who prefer to learn more online, the project has been added to the City's public engagement portal, Let's Talk Mercer Island. This custom website makes it easy for anyone to follow and comment on major issues at a time and place that is most convenient for them. We invite all Islanders to visit the site and set up an account today, and then submit comments on individual proposals or the overall process.

The five firms were chosen from a pool of nine submittals, based on demonstrating a clear understanding of the City's goals and an ability to work with local communities, as well as a track record of solid qualifications. The submittals are conceptual only, not actual designs: the concepts are intended to provide examples of what is feasible on the site. Once the City Council chooses a finalist (tentatively scheduled for November 15), design work would begin, with ongoing public engagement.

View the conceptual proposals and make comments online today; or come to Monday's open house. 
Earthquake_PrepStatewide Earthquake Preparedness Day: Oct 18
Click to learn more about being prepared for earthquakes
At 10:18am on Thursday, October 18thousands of Washington residents will practice how to "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" in the state's largest earthquake drill ever:  The Great Washington ShakeOut. City staff will also be participating. 

Major earthquakes can happen anywhere you work, live, or travel in Washington, and we all need to be prepared. The annual ShakeOut drill is our chance to practice how to protect ourselves when an earthquake strikes, with a goal of preventing a major earthquake from becoming a catastrophe for you, your family, and your community. You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake, so frequent practice results in more successful outcomes.

The City encourages individuals, families, businesses, schools, colleges, and other organizations to practice their emergency plans and prepare. Learn more about the statewide program here

To learn more about emergency preparedness on Mercer Island, visit that section of our 
City website and sign up for emergency alert messages too!
Mercer Island Goes Green
Tree_CanopyTree Canopy Coverage Increases 8 Percent in a Decade
Pioneer Park trees; click to read the full press release
A recent report showed an 8% combined increase in Mercer Island's urban tree canopy across all land use categories.  Plan-It Geo, a consultant for King Conservation District, analyzed high-resolution aerial imagery and LiDAR data from 2017 and 2007 to assess current canopy and canopy change over the 10-year period.  Canopy cover on single-family residential parcels, which account for three quarters of the island's land area, increased 7% to 47% coverage; parks and open spaces canopy increased by 6%; and the business district (Town Center) saw a 10% jump in canopy cover since 2007. The report also highlights areas that could benefit from increased tree canopy and future tree plantings.

Many factors contributed to this growth, including: tree protection and replanting requirements in the City's development code; a robust restoration program that plants thousands of trees each year in City parks and rights-of way; and voluntary planting efforts.

Evan Maxim, the Interim Development Services Director commented, "We are very pleased to see that the City's tree protection and replanting requirements have been effective in expanding our tree canopy in residential neighborhoods as well as Town Center, even with substantial redevelopment and growth on the Island over the last 10 years.  This is incredibly important in maintaining quality of life as our community grows."

Alaine Sommargren, Parks Natural Resources Manager, was excited and encouraged by the results of the assessment. "Tree canopy measurements are an incredibly useful tool in assessing how well we care for our natural resources," Sommargren said. "Tree canopy expansion does not happen quickly, so this 8% increase in canopy city-wide speaks to the island's long-term commitment to stewarding the natural environment." 

The City expanded its commitment to tree protection last fall when the City Council adopted stronger tree protection regulations in the development code and increased the city arborist position from half- to full-time.
Read the full press release to learn more about forest stewardship and the many  aesthetic, health and community benefits of trees.
Meds_Event Medicine Take-Back Day: Oct 27
Click here to learn what is accepted
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the City of Mercer Island are once again coordinating on a nationwide drug "take-back" day on Saturday, October 27, 2018 from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the Mercer Island City Hall (9611 SE 36th Street). Please take drop-offs to the west side of the building, in the loading dock area. 

This one-day event provides residents with a no-cost, anonymous collection of unwanted and expired prescriptions or over-the-counter medicines.   Click here for details -- clean out your medicine cabinet!       

Protect our kids, families and environment by properly disposing of your unwanted and expired medicines. Medicines in the home are a leading cause of accidental poisoning, and flushed or trashed medicines can end up polluting waterways. Rates of prescription drug abuse are alarmingly high: over half of teens abusing medicines get them from a family member or friend, including the home medicine cabinet, and often without anyone's  knowledge. Call the  Youth and Family Services Department at (206) 275-7755 with questions.       


For questions and comments on the MI Weekly, contact
Sustainability & Communications Manager Ross Freeman at

ross.freeman@mercergov.org or 206.275.7662.