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Letter to the Editor: Are City Council's priorities your priorities?

 

Last updated 2/10/2021 at 11:53am



Recently, the Mukilteo’s council discussed 2021 priorities. Improved communications was their top priority. Waterfront development and annexation were priorities two and three.

Most agree better communication is needed. How about annexation? How is annexation a top priority without citizens being fully informed and requesting annexation? Better communication needed to solve our failure to know about annexation being a priority at any level.

In 2007 then Mayor Joe Marine, now a Councilmember, was pushing hard for annexation. Spending more than $300,000 for consultants and fees.

Those living in the Snohomish County annexation area wanted to be part of Mukilteo. Mukilteo would provide much better fire, EMS, police and public works services. Poor streets and roads, stormwater drainage problems and few sidewalks. They needed major attention then. They still need major expenditure.

The proposed annexation area included Picnic Point and as far south as 148th Street SW. From Highway 99 east to Airport Road. Mukilteo’s mayor and council are again considering much of the same area.

After spending more than $300,000 in 2007, then-Mayor Joe Marine arranged to get a former Councilmember appointed to the Boundary Review Board, trying to obtain annexation approval. The board rejected it.

In 2010 annexation was put to a Mukilteo advisory vote. Voters rejected it 2 to 1.

Now we are told annexation is a top priority with no publicity or public demand? Maybe to obtain tax dollars from the annexed area to increase city revenue for Mukilteo spending. Council said their top priorities also include finding more “revenue options.”

In December when the 2021 budget was adopted they said Mukilteo was in pretty good financial shape. Mukilteo received hundreds of thousands of dollars sales tax from construction of the new ferry terminal, sales tax spent on day-to-day operations, unnecessary expenditures and waste. Such as the mayor paying more than $250,000 to terminated employees without council approval, Rosehill Community Center being closed since March, continuing to pay its director and staff with annual payroll budgeted at $750,000. Yet totally shut down since March. Now paying the director and one staff almost $22,000 monthly while still totally closed.

After 12 years, council said it is time to figure out the future of Rosehill. Some want to continue subsidizing it. Others think it should operate “to make money.” When they decided to demolish former Rosehill instead of restoring it for several million dollars less, former Mayor Joe Marine was the leading proponent of building new. Mayor Gregerson was then a Councilmember. She made the motion to demolish and build new at millions additional cost. Councilmember Emery was on council then and now. He voted for building new.

There were no projections for the new Rosehill’s use or cost to operate. Marine told the public whether Rosehill was restored or rebuilt “either way would not cost taxpayers a dime more in taxes.” Rosehill loses about $500,000 a year, pre-virus, plus $900,000 a year long-term bond payment.

Are Council priorities your priorities?

Charlie Pancerzewski

Twice former councilmember

 

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