My 2018 action agenda l Mayor's Message


January 10, 2018

Serving as mayor has been the best job I have ever had, and I am so proud and honored to lead my hometown. Of course, these four years have not been easy.

Our city has been shaken to its core, but we have come together and rebuilt our sense of community and our sense of safety.

Two years ago, I could never have imagined what it would feel like to be woken up in the middle of the night to the news that there had been a shooting and young people had lost their lives. However, that experience reaffirmed everything I believed about our community and our city. We are "Mukilteo Strong."

Over the last four years as your mayor, I have worked hard to strengthen what makes our city special, but also tackle the big challenges that face our small town.

Every year I have shared an action agenda of what I hope to see accomplished in the year to come. Our city team knows that these are things we are all going to focus on, and I am proud of their help in delivering so many important accomplishments.

In my first action agenda, we made important strides that shaped my first term.

I asked our police department to focus on domestic violence and do more to help victims. In the last four years, we have made this a priority and hired a victims coordinator to support victims, connect them to services and make sure that their abusers are brought to justice.

While we may never completely eliminate this crime, we can make sure that every victim we encounter receives all the help and support we can give them.

Also in 2015, we worked on business license reform, which led to fee reductions for 60 percent of our businesses as we simplified the system for our smallest businesses.

We began a process that will culminate next month, as we join the state’s Master Licensing system, so businesses in Mukilteo have a one-stop shop to get fully licensed for the state and city.

Looking forward to the future, and as I think about the important challenges that we face, I would like to share my action agenda for this year.

I’ll begin with fiscal responsibility.

At the end of the day, managing the resources we receive from taxpayers and delivering good services is our core responsibility. It is time for us to join many of our neighboring cities in making smarter, long-term budget decisions by passing two-year budgets.

Neighboring cities like Lynnwood and Mill Creek, as well as larger organizations like state government, pass two-year budgets that plan on a longer time horizon.

I am asking the City Council to partner with us to make the switch this year and add more discipline into our budget by thinking further into the future.

Two-year budgets alone won’t assure fiscal responsibility, but they are one more tool for public accountability and transparency.

When it comes to delivering services efficiently and well, there is nothing more important than public safety.

These services come at a cost, and it’s time for us to talk about how we pay for emergency medical service.

In 2010, 70 percent of Mukilteo voters approved a permanent, fifty-cent property tax levy for emergency medical service.

Unfortunately, due to a state initiative, our EMS levy has fallen to forty-cents and no longer covers all costs.

This year, I will be asking the City Council to consider sending a measure to voters to reset the levy to the fifty-cents they overwhelmingly approved for this vital service.

And speaking of voter support, I am making it a priority that we keep the promises we made last year with Proposition 1 and deliver transportation improvements on time, on budget, everywhere in the city. We must produce an annual report to residents, and I look forward to reporting back to you that we have done exactly as we promised.

One other public service that is important, impacts everyone, but is often overlooked is garbage collection.

This most basic service keeps our community clean and protects public health, and is regulated by the city.

I have heard from residents in Old Town and the north end that they would like recycling service like the rest of the city—in one bin. This year, we will negotiate a new garbage contract, and I have made it a priority that every resident get the same level of service citywide.

My final two priorities are focused on the future.

One important legacy I believe that we must leave for the future is a Mukilteo Peace Park. I want to make sure that future generations have a space to remember loved ones we have lost, as well as a place of hope they can visit when they need it.

We have been so fortunate to have hundreds of residents share their thoughts, and we’ve been blessed with volunteers who have already donated their professional skills. I have heard the respectful concerns of councilmembers to manage the costs and ensure that we are being wise stewards of tax dollars. So this year, I will work with the City Council to finalize a plan that will build a beautiful park, using community support and volunteers, in a way that balances all of these values.

Finally, I want to make sure that our next generation can afford to live here.

I was fortunate to grow up here, leave for college and return. With rising housing costs, I am concerned that this dream will become out of reach. So this year, we will work inside City Hall to make sure our permitting processes are efficient and cost-effective, so we aren’t adding to the cost of new homes through red tape or delays. And I will also work with regional efforts to help fund affordable housing projects throughout our county to ensure that families have quality, affordable homes throughout our region.

As I close my first term and begin a new one, I can say with confidence that the state of our city is strong. We are faced with great challenges, but even bigger opportunities. From our beautiful waterfront redevelopment, to the new Harbour Reach Corridor Project, we are literally building a new future for our community.

I hope that all of you here will join me in the work that we have to come, and that you will keep sharing your thoughts, advice, and constructive criticisms too. You’ve got my email, my phone number and you know where to find me.


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