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April 2015 Biz News

KIRKLAND BIZ NEWS – April 2015

Welcome Kirkland Biz News – a monthly e-newsletter that features current news and information important to businesses and for businesses.

Kirkland City Council adopts its 2015-2016 City Work Program; Organizational changes to achieve ambitious goals

The Kirkland City Council approved its City Work Program identifying priority goals and initiatives for 2015 through 2016.  New to the Work Program are the update to the Capital Improvement Program to incorporate projects identified in the Kirkland 2035 master plans and Comprehensive Plan; the refurbishing of City Hall, and the implementation of an email archiving system to increase transparency and accountability to the public.  Other new priorities include actively engaging the Sound Transit (ST) Board to ensure that any ST ballot measure connects the Totem Lake Urban Center to the region with high capacity transit, partnering with A Regional Coalition of Housing (ARCH) and non-profit housing agencies to site a permanent Eastside women’s shelter in Kirkland and taking the steps necessary to proceed with a 2015 or 2016 ballot measure for the proposed Aquatics/Recreation/Community (ARC) Center. The full Work Program is featured in recently published City Update, city newsletter (PDF).

Legislation on the mind of Kirkland officials

State and Local Transportation Revenue

A statewide Transportation Revenue Package (SB 5987 and SB 5988) is one of the City's top legislative priorities for 2015 (PDF). Within the transportation package, City officials are asking state officials to restore the NE 132nd and I-405 Interchange project funding ($75 million) that was included in the 2005 Transportation Package. The ramps at NE 132nd interchange at I-405 will help gain concurrency capacity to fully realize the zoning potential and growth of the Totem Lake Urban Center. The Growth Management Act says that Urban Centers should be prioritized for transportation investments.  The Totem Lake designated Urban Center in Kirkland is experiencing an influx of development and infrastructure improvements that is expected to catalyze economic growth, bringing thousands of jobs and housing to the area.  Kirkland conservatively estimates that a fully developed Totem Lake Urban Center would generate an additional $140 million dollars per year in state revenues.  The area’s growth will be stymied however, if it is choked with congestion and gridlock.  An investment of $75 million from the State, by including this project in the transportation package, would benefit the local and state economy.   

Investment in Research and Development

As a member of the Washington Tech Cities Coalition (WTC2), an issue that is on the City's 2015 Legislative Support Items Agenda is a bill to reinstate tax preferences for high-technology research and development (SB 5665) sponsored by Senator Andy Hill. If passed, the proposal would reinstate, and extend until Jan. 1, 2025, a state B&O tax credit for qualified research and development (R&D), as well as a state and local sales tax deferral program for high-technology R&D manufacturing facilities. R&D incentives are particularly important for start-up companies that are evaluating a presence in the State of Washington vs. other states.  The WTC2 believes that investments in R&D gains a significant return on investment.

Washington’s cleantech industry needs your support

A call to action and information on funding for cleantech startups from Cleantech Alliance: The Clean Energy Fund (PDF) provides essential funding to advance Washington’s cleantech industry. More than 800 projects are driving innovation and job creation.  A Clean Energy Fund extension is being considered as part of the 2015 capital budget. The House announced its budget on March 27, including $40 million for a Clean Energy Fund extension. Cleantech Alliance will be in Olympia on April 6 to gain support and spur cleantech innovation in Washington State.

SCORE offers small business counseling, April 11, Kirkland Library, 308 Kirkland Ave
While the City of Kirkland provides free assistance to small business through its consultant, Duncan Milloy, dbmilloy@gmail.com, alternatively, the advice of business executives who volunteer for SCORE can be extremely valuable. The Kirkland Library will hold free small business counseling sessions from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 11.  Volunteers from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) will be available by appointment to advise current and future small business owners. Participants can register online at www.kcls.org/programs or call 425-822-2459.

Waterfront Demand Study: Market it and they will come

The Waterfront Demand Study was presented to City Council on March 3, 2015 by Paul Sorenson, BST Associates. The study, as noted in a previous Biz News, indicated that there is a demand for expanded moorage opportunities and more immediately, if the City expands promotion and provides a reservation system, boaters will certainly come, spending as much as $150 a boat at downtown businesses and boosting the economic vitality of the city. The City Council supported moving forward on marketing and exploring a reservation system, asked for more information regarding infrastructure improvements and narrowed further review to the Downtown Marina, omitting Juanita Beach Park. Staff has begun reaching out to other waterfronts with marketing and promotion on schedule to attract boaters this coming season.

Welcome new member of Kirkland’s Tourism Development Committee

Lori Goldfarb was appointed by the Kirkland City Council to the Tourism Development Committee on March 24, 2015. Ms. Goldfarb is the Director of Industry Relationships and Sales for NXT event, a destination marketing company that “Partners with hoteliers, venues, convention bureaus, etc. to help attract inbound group travel and help design their itineraries.”  Lori’s event planning skills will complement an extremely qualified group of tourism stakeholders that include three hotel executives representing the Marriott, Heathman and Woodmark, a restauranteur, Michelle Quisenberry, owner of Volterra and Chair of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), and Kirkland Art Center’s Development Manager, Jennifer Gill. The TDC advises the City Council on allocating the lodging excise tax fund for tourism promotion.

Cut your waste costs with the Smart Business Guide

Businesses in Kirkland recycle about 24% of their waste – but so much more is recyclable! Increasing the amount that your business recycles can allow you to reduce your garbage service and save money, since recycling is free. The City’s Smart Business Guide to Waste Reduction and Recycling allows you to compare garbage rates, learn where to recycle tricky items, and reduce waste through easy-to-apply tips. Download the Smart Business Guide (PDF) on the City website or request a hard copy from the Recycling Hotline at (425) 587-3812 or recycle@kirklandwa.gov. Businesses can also receive up to ten free desk side recycling containers to make recycling easier for their employees.

Seattle Voices: Inspiring Conversation with the Co-Director of Seattle Good Business Network

The City of Seattle television channel produces “Seattle Voices.”  In its latest episode the show interviews Christine Hanna, co-director of Seattle Good Business Network.  Hanna discusses why it matters to think local and buy local. One of Seattle's strongest proponents of "localizing" the economy, Seattle Good Business Network has inspired thousands of residents and businesses to buy, produce and invest locally through initiatives like Seattle Made, a collaborative effort to support and grow Seattle's urban manufacturers and producers.  Watch the interview.

Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities with the Kirkland Downtown Association

Kirkland is well-known for its summer events: concerts in the park, farmers markets, classic car show and art/music festivals.  The Kirkland Downtown Association (KDA) offers business sponsorship and volunteer opportunities.  Upcoming events include the Wednesday Farmers Market, Kirkland Summer Concert Series, Celebrate Kirkland/4th of July, Kirkland Classic Car Show and Kirkland Summerfest.  Contact Barbie Collins Young, Direction, KDA, at barbiey@kirklanddowntown.org or 425-766-6982.

Each edition will be posted on the City of Kirkland’s website at www.kirklandwa.gov/biznews.  We want to provide the information that is most important to subscribers so send your suggested topics to mjensen@kirklandwa.gov.
(04.06.15)