Letters to the editor for Oct. 25, 2019

Daylight Savings Time

Now that the state has decided to adopt DST throughout the year, it looks like something that will really happen eventually. So what is Bellevue doing to prepare? Do they even realize that they actually do have something to do? If not, here is something for them to consider.

I live in Northwest Bellevue and walk six mornings a week, often before 7 a.m. With time zones as they are now, the sun rises before 7 a.m. eight months of the year. If DST is adopted throughout the year, the sun will rise before 7 a.m. only five months of the year. Both calculations plus or minus five minutes.

Why is this important? The sidewalks that exist in Northwest Bellevue. Few as they are, are very poorly lit and many sidewalks are notoriously uneven from growth of tree roots, and only band-aided with an asphalt transition. Unseen tripping hazards abound! Street lighting is designed for auto traffic, not pedestrian traffic, and the lighting that does exist mostly is blocked from the sidewalks by trees — yes, even in the winter.

So we will have dark sidewalks with tripping risks (where we even have sidewalks) over half of the year in Northwest Bellevue and I would presume elsewhere. Is this a risk that the city might want to consider mitigating? I would think so.

Dick Thompson


Rising property taxes and seniors

Rising property taxes have negatively impacted many Bellevue residents, particularly seniors. Between 2013 and 2018, property taxes on a median Bellevue residence increased by 65.41%. More and more Eastside seniors cannot afford to stay in their homes due to increased property taxes, limited income, and high medical expenses.

While for many years our state has had a property tax deferral and exemption program for senior citizens and disabled persons, the income requirements have not kept up with inflation and have been based on the same income level throughout our state. In addition, many persons eligible for participation under current requirements have not enrolled. In 2019, our state Legislature modified the income requirements (ESSB 5160) and thus increased the number of King County residents who will qualify for reduction or deferral of property taxes commencing next year. Thus, in King County, the 2020 exemption income limit for senior citizens and the disabled will be $58,423, a considerable increase from $40,000 in 2019 and the 2020 senior/disabled deferral income limit will increase from $45,000 to $67,411.

From 10-11:30 a.m. Nov. 13 at the Bellevue library, 1111 110th Ave. NE, King County Assessor John Wilson will discuss the property tax eligibility requirements for Senior/Disabled Property Tax Relief under the new law. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn who will qualify, how and when to apply, and where to get help with the required application.

This program is presented by the Eastside Neighbors Network (ENN) in collaboration with the Bellevue Network on Aging (BNOA) and the Telos Student Organization. Registration is advised. You can register on the ENN website, www.MyENN.org by sending an email to Village@MYENN.org or by phoning (425) 270-8408.

For additional information on property tax see www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor/TaxRelief.aspx

Diana Thompson, advocacy chair of the BNOA, and Joanne Gainen, president of the ENN