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Nehring announces he will run for mayor in November election
MARYSVILLE — Jon Nehring is asking the city of Marysville's citizens to retain him as their mayor.
Nehring was unanimously appointed by the Marysville City Council on Aug. 2, 2010, to serve the remainder of former Mayor's Dennis Kendall's term, and on Jan. 9, Nehring announced that he's running to serve a a full term as mayor this November.
According to Nehring, his eight and a half years on the City Council, including four years as mayor pro tem, helped prepare him for many of the challenges that he's faced as mayor. Nonetheless, he admitted that even he hadn't fully grasped how difficult it would be to craft the city budget.
The city's budget process in the fall of 2010 placed a priority on looking beyond 2011, to try and create long-term financial stability by reducing expenditures, replenishing depleted reserves, and paying off the city's debt more aggressively. If elected to his first full term in November, Nehring noted that the benefits of his initiatives might not materialize right away.
"We don't have stable sources of consistent funding for our roads programs, even simple maintenance and overlays," said Nehring, who represents Marysville on the Community Transit Board of Directors. "Economic development is both a challenge and an opportunity, because if we do the right thing, our city will be one that businesses look to as the economy gets back on its feet. This may not pay dividends in its first year, but we can lay the groundwork and the infrastructure now."
Nehring likened the challenges faced by the city to those faced by its citizens and businesses, which he identified as one reason why it's imperative that the city operate with disciplined efficiency, maintain its current and growing infrastructure responsibly, and guarantee solvency across all its funds.
"As times get tight, we've got to tighten our belts along with everyone else," Nehring said. "I want to assure our citizens that we take their tax dollars very seriously. We always ask ourselves how we can meet the needs of our citizens with the staff that we have. We have between 4.1 and 4.2 city workers for every 1,000 citizens, which is one of the lowest city workers to citizens ratios in Snohomish County. Some cities run as high as 11 or 13 city workers for even 1,000 citizens."
While Nehring emphasized the importance of continually reforming government, some cost-cutting measures have been relatively simple, such as allowing online sign-ups for city parks and recreation programs, to afford that department's staff some time off in the middle of the workday. At the same time, he remains committed to quality-of-life initiatives for citizens and entrepreneurs alike, from plans to connect the city's sidewalks more fully to ways of offsetting the initial costs of doing business in the city.
"We've already streamlined our permitting process, and are looking to make much of it available online," Nehring said. "We're looking at making the fees we charge easier to pay."
Nehring has also placed a priority on fostering a transparent and open city government, not only by continuing the informal and informative coffee klatches with citizens that began under Kendall, but also by launching "Marysville University" quarterly civics classes. He also maintains an "open-door policy," inviting individual citizens and community groups to engage in dialogue with him on issues of importance to the community.
"We are taking the approach of cash-strapped families and businesses everywhere: be honest about what we can afford, focusing funding on our core priorities, and save for tomorrow's needs," Nehring said. "It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Marysville and I would be honored to continue to serve as their Mayor, should they choose to give me that opportunity this coming November."