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Nehring 'bullish' on Marysville's future
TULALIP — Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring's first "State of the City" address focused on the city of Marysville's plans for long-term financial stability and some of the developments that its citizens can expect this year.
Many attendees of the Jan. 28 Business Before Hours, conducted by the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce, reacted favorably to Nehring's optimistic prognosis of Marysville's progress and future.
At the same time, Nehring acknowledged that it remains uncertain how long it will take the economy to recover, which he identified as the reason why the city has based its budgets on the current recession continuing.
"Businesses and families have been making tough decisions adapting to the new economic realities for the past few years," Nehring said in the Canoes Cabaret Room of the Tulalip Resort Casino. "Your government should be expected to do the same."
To that end, the city reduced its employee workforce by 10 percent in 2010 through layoffs and leaving vacant positions unfilled. Nehring cited the city's adoption of a "more disciplined operating philosophy" of balancing its budgets, building its reserves, paying down its debts aggressively and ensuring that its funds are solvent.
Nehring pointed to the Cedarcrest Golf Course as an example of why enterprise funds must be kept solvent. While he praised the golf course as an important aspect of the city's quality of life and commitment to healthy lifestyles, he noted that even the user fees from its increased attendance haven't offset the costs of operating the course.
To help generate revenue, the owners of Bleachers sports restaurant in Marysville will be taking over management of the golf course's family grill.
Looking to the past year's accomplishments, Nehring touted not only the completion of Ingraham Boulevard, which connects Interstate 5 and Highway 9 through 88th Street and offers an alternate transportation route to the Marysville Getchell High School campus, as well as the strides made by the Marysville Police Department in enforcement, through programs such as School Resource Officers and the Pro-Act Team.
"Overall instances of criminal activity decreased 7 percent within the old city limits between 2009 and 2010," said Nehring, who reported that residential burglaries went down by 18 percent, vehicle prowls dropped by 21 percent and thefts decreased by 7 percent. "Adjusted for the entire city limits, including the annexed area, we saw an overall rise in criminal activity of 20 percent between 2009 and 2010, while the population grew by 54 percent."
Nehring deemed the doubling of single-family residential permits issued from 2009 to 2010 as "a good barometer for future economic activity," and detailed plans to help foster commercial business growth in "the Lakewood triangle" and Smokey Point through the construction of an I-5 overpass connecting the Smokey Point and Twin Lakes boulevards. In addition to his goal of bringing 10,000 high-tech and other light industrial and manufacturing jobs to Smokey Point, Nehring aims to make the Ebey Slough waterfront more attractive to prospective developers by using grant monies to clean up the Geddes Marina property and the city-owned former mill property on the east side of Highway 529.
With the scheduled July opening of a new $33 million Armed Forces Reserve Center on 25 acres adjacent to the Navy Commissary and PX at 136th Street NE in north Marysville, Nehring sees the city expanding from a "Navy town" into "a multi-faceted military town."
Nehring spoke glowingly of the value of the partnerships that the city of Marysville has forged with the Tulalip Tribes, Snohomish County and neighboring cities such as Arlington, Everett and Lake Stevens, and assured his audience that he's fully invested in the community.
"I'm bullish on Marysville's future," Nehring said at the closing of his speech.
"I'm a little bullish too," Crystal Donner of Perteet told Nehring after his address, when he mingled with the crowd. "I appreciate those partnerships, and I think we've turned a corner."
"Now all you need is to get a four-year college here," laughed Tom Larsen, director of the Marysville-Everett campus of Columbia College.
Community Transit Intergovernmental Relations Manager Todd Morrow echoed Nehring's enthusiasm for the city's economic development plans, while Patricia Hochreiter shared his declared admiration for the Marysville Police Department.
"They do a great job," said Hochreiter, sales manager for the Marysville Holiday Inn Express. "When those crime numbers came up, I was really surprised."
"I'm encouraged by the leadership of Marysville's mayor and City Council," Tulalip Tribal Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. said. "They understand the importance of working together."