Founded in the 1860s and incorporated in 1953, Bellevue has grown from being merely a Seattle suburb to a city with…More its own distinct identity. Nearly 120,000 people live in Bellevue, which makes it the fifth largest city in the state. About 30 percent of the population is foreign-born and a third of residents speak a language other than English at home. It also boasts some of the most academically accomplished public schools, with many of its high schools recognized nationally for their level of achievement and college-readiness.
However, it is still a city in transition, with major changes that will change the face of Bellevue. Regional transportation authority Sound Transit is planning to bring light rail from Seattle to Bellevue, but the exact location of the route is under debate. The city also is working on a new park that would connect downtown to Meydenbauer Bay and a new road connection between downtown and the eastern parts of the city.
The seven-member city council meets at City Hall 6 p.m. every first through fourth Monday of the month, except for August and December, which have fewer council meetings. The city has seven city council members. The city council alternates between four-hour long extended study sessions and evenings with a study session and city business meeting. The meetings are televised on BellevueTV, which is available on the web or on cable channel 21. People may address the council but are asked to keep their statements under three minutes -- or five minutes if they are speaking for a group. The council limits the number of speakers allowed to the microphone to three on a particular side of any topic.
The City Manager works at the direction of the city council and handles the day-to-day business of running the city. The mayor is chosen among the council members.
City hall is located at the corner of Northeast Fourth Street and 110th Avenue Northeast. Most departments are headquartered there, including departments with stations throughout the city, such as the police and fire departments. The parking structure under city hall is free for people who are conducting city business, such as paying a utility bill, applying for a business license or applying for a building permit. Parking validation is available at the Service First desk in the lobby area of the first floor.