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Mayor’s agenda focused on partnerships | Mayor's Message

 

February 10, 2016



As I shared two years ago, I am committed to creating a culture of continuous improvement at City Hall. We shouldn’t rest on our laurels, and we should be leaders in addressing the challenges our region faces.

This year, my Action Agenda is focused on partnerships, within our community, with other governments, with the private sector.

Japanese Gulch stewardship

Four months into my term, Mukilteo became the proud owners of the remaining undeveloped land in Japanese Gulch. This tremendous asset will now take careful stewardship.

We must engage our community to help care for the gulch. Building on successful stewardship programs in other cities, state and national parks, I proposed funding for a gulch stewardship program. The funds will provide supplies and training, but the work will be done by dedicated volunteers.

We all worked so hard to save the gulch, now it’s time for us to work together to take care of it.

Reducing energy use

In addition to partnerships, we need to build on our previous successes. In 2014, we created a Green Team of city employees.

This year, we will utilize the expertise of our team to comprehensively survey energy use at all our facilities to help us measure our baseline.

Using this baseline information, we can take action to reduce energy use and save money in our operations.

Fire prevention and community engagement

I believe when we work together, our city and our community, we can accomplish a lot more.

After we have our new assistant fire chief on board, we will be relying on residents to participate in the work of community engagement and fire prevention.

By taking common sense steps to make our homes and community safer, we can avoid the costs and heartache that come with accidents and disasters.

Youth health and safety

In addition to preventing fires and preparing for disasters, we also have to face a sad reality that substance abuse and mental health pose great risks to our young residents and families.

My 2016 budget proposed continuing funding for outreach efforts by our Crime Prevention Officer Colt Davis to address youth substance abuse and mental health, and I am grateful the City Council supported this request.

We have lost too many young people to suicide and addiction. We can and must do more to prevent these tragedies.

Expanding recreational opportunities

There are many tools we can use to encourage our younger residents to stay healthy and safe. One proven solution is expanding recreational opportunities, to give our younger residents healthy outlets.

We are blessed to have some amazing school facilities in our city, and this year, I am directing our staff to engage with the Mukilteo School District and search for more opportunities to partner together to create expanded recreational opportunities for our kids.

Whether it’s the pool, the gym or the theater, we should be finding ways to partner to support our youth. The city’s 2016 budget set aside some funding for facility rental, and we will be looking at opportunities to trade services and space at our facilities as well.

I am so grateful for the partnership with our Mukilteo schools and for the leadership of Superintendent Marci Larsen. I look forward to growing this relationship so we can work together to support our community’s future – our kids.

Aerospace workforce

While we’re on the topic of the next generation, we should consider a sobering statistic from Boeing’s president: About half of Boeing’s top engineers and mechanics will be eligible to retire over the next five years.

This turnover is both a challenge and an opportunity. Our community depends on the aerospace sector, and we have many bright young minds who would make excellent engineers and mechanics right here in Mukilteo.

However, at the same time, these career pathways aren’t being fully explored by all of our young residents. In 2009, just 24 percent of scientists and engineers in this country were women, not because women aren’t smart or motivated enough to study these subjects – studies have found that our girls aren’t being encouraged to consider these careers.

Encouraging women to pursue careers in aerospace isn’t just about preparing the future of the workforce. The fact is that jobs in science, technology, engineering and math — also called “STEM”—pay 33 percent more on average than non-STEM jobs.

Closing the pay gap between men and women means encouraging girls to explore all the same opportunities as boys.

That is why I will be hosting a Cool Girls in Aerospace seminar this year, to encourage some of our bright young women in Mukilteo to really consider careers in aerospace and other STEM fields.

I want them to get some hands-on experiences, meet some brilliant women and be inspired to dream big.

Partnering to serve seniors and kids

In my 2016 budget proposal, I asked the council to fund the construction of a new senior center as part of the Boys & Girls Club’s new Shin Center in Harbour Pointe.

By partnering with the club, we could provide enhanced service to both seniors and kids, at a much lower cost than building a stand-alone facility.

The council decided it wasn’t the right time to fund this request as part of that budget. I respect and understand their reasons. This is a big, new idea and we have a lot on our plates.

But this unique partnership opportunity will not be here forever, and so I will respectfully ask my colleagues to join me and take a deeper look at the issue.

Our community is aging, and we need to ensure that our seniors have the space and the opportunity to remain active, engaged residents.

Plus, I plan to grow old here in Mukilteo, and as Babs Williams, the seniors association president, has reminded me, that day comes faster than you expect.

In closing, the last two years have been the most rewarding personal and professional challenge of my life.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to lead our fantastic city staff, work with our council, and find new and better ways to connect with all of our residents.

We have a lot left to do, but I know that if we work together, we can achieve great things for our community.

 

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