Council eNewsletter
NEWS  from Councilmember John Koster  December 3, 2009



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John Koster's eNewsletter
 John Koster
Snohomish County Council
3000 Rockefeller Ave., M/S 609
Everett, Washington 98201
8th floor, Robert J. Drewel Building
Phone: 425-388-3494
E-Mail: [email protected]

Barbara Chapman, Legislative Aide
Council Adopts 2010 Budget


The Snohomish County Council adopted a 2010 budget on Monday, November 23rd that preserves essential county services without increasing property taxes for either the general fund or the road fund.  This marks the 7th year in a row in which the county has not increased the general fund property tax.


No department was spared during this difficult budget year.  "These were difficult decisions, but we had to keep the focus on providing services that are essential to the health and safety of Snohomish County residents," said Councilmember John Koster.  "When the economy improves we can review funding for these valuable programs, but for now we simply can't afford them," he added.  Councilman Koster was disappointed that this budget did not cut non-essential services and lower the property tax rate to correspond to negative inflation.  Instead of lowering it to just over 99 percent, the council kept it at 100 percent.


Centennial Trail Construction- Arlington to Skagit County


Snohomish County and the City of Arlington hosted a Ribbon Cutting on October 26th to mark the beginning of construction to complete the section of the Centennial Trail from Arlington to the Skagit County Line.  Councilman Koster spoke to the group assembled prior to the ribbon cutting regarding the importance of finishing this project.  This new section will stretch eight miles along the abandoned railroad providing more access to county residents.  The Centennial Trail serves walkers, bicycles, equestrians and others and is used by an estimated 400,000 persons currently.


Construction is expected to take a year and will include trailheads located in Bryant and at the Skagit County Line.  The county received 17 bids and awarded the low bid, Strider Construction for $4,858,500.  The Snohomish County Parks Department received a funding assistance grant from the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office for this project.


Several Trail Coalition members as well as interested community members joined officials from the City of Arlington and Snohomish County in this celebration.




Verizon's Pending Sale of Rural Landlines:


To clarify any doubts regarding the transfer of services from Verizon to Frontier Communications.  I would like to share information that I have learned regarding this upcoming business agreement and to lend my support to this agreement.


The transaction includes all of Verizon's landlines in 14 states:  Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as property in northern California.  High speed internet, long distance and FiOS cable TV are also included if Verizon is providing those services today.


Verizon Wireless is not part of the transaction.  Over 11,000 Verizon employees in the 14 states who support these services today will transition to Frontier.


Verizon billing systems will be used after the close to help insure the transition is seamless to customers.  Frontier has been around for over 70 years and today operates in 24 states with over 2.3 million access lines.  They serve many rural properties as well as small to medium size cities like Rochester, NY, Burnsville, MN a suburb of Minneapolis and Oak Grove, CA outside Sacramento in the Silicon Valley.  These areas are very similar to properties being acquired in Washington State.


Frontier operates today in: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Utah.


Frontier has a strong local focus with a "Customer First" performance culture.  Their local manager business model places General Managers throughout a state.  These people live locally, are responsible for quality customer service and community based partnerships. 


Frontier has deployed broadband to more than 90% of their footprint in the 24 states they serve today.  By comparison, Verizon, with a different business model, has only about 62% broadband penetration in its states.  Frontier will bring their broadband model to Washington's rural communities.


Frontier's commitment to broadband deployment in rural areas will boost economic development and support tele-medicine, distance learning, schools and libraries. 


Frontier will honor all current existing bargaining agreements with unions in place at the time of the close.  To date, the transaction has been approved by Utility Commissions in NV, SC and CA.  The transaction in Washington is expected to close during the 2nd Qtr. of 2010.




John Koster's Business Roundtable


Don't miss the opportunity to listen to and interact with our state legislators from Snohomish County on Tuesday, December 15th at 7:00 - 8:30 am at the Monte Cristo Hotel, 1507 Wall Street, Everett.


Cost:  $25 per person.  Please RSVP Today to Cindy Brengman 425-397-7799 or e-mail:  [email protected]


Get your questions answered... find out what our legislators are planning for the upcoming legislative session


I hope you found this eNEWSLETTER to be informative and useful. You can make it even more valuable by suggesting topics and issues for future newsletters. Please contact me at 425-388-3494, or e-mail [email protected]. If you would like to share this newsletter, select the Forward email link below.

John Koster
Snohomish County Council