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Mayor gives State of the City speech — Kendall talks about city’s accomplishments, looks toward future
MARYSVILLE — Challenging times and community teamwork were the touchstones of Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall’s Jan. 30 State of the City Address given to the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce’s Business Before Hours meeting at the Tulalip Casino.
“The city of Marysville enters the new year expected to bring continued times of economic uncertainty,” Kendall said. “While we are not immune to the financial stresses ahead, our community was built on an ability to turn adversity into opportunity. Together, we have faced challenging times before and emerged a stronger, more efficient and effectively run community in the process.”
Kendall touted the city’s focus on partnerships as a key to its success, citing its long-time partnership with the Marysville School District as one example. The city’s sale of its community campus property led to the opening of Grove Elementary, while the school district has made its school buildings and sports fields available for city parks and recreation activities and other community use. Kendall deemed the results a “win-win” for all involved.
Kendall also pointed out the city’s role in the Marysville Healthy Communities Project, among other partners, which promotes recreational and fitness opportunities as well as healthier eating. The city recently obtained a purchase agreement for the 10th Street School property to turn it into a city park, and is working with the school district to get the Marysville-Getchell High School permitted and built. The city is also working on the 88th Street NE extension in time for the new high school’s opening in 2010.
Kendall explained that the city has provided permitting, construction inspection and other services to help the Marysville Fire District open their sixth and newest facility, Station 66, to serve those in the Sunnyside and Whiskey Ridge area who were annexed into Marysville three years ago. He described this part of the city and fire district’s shared commitment to ensuring that all Marysville-area residents receive fire suppression, emergency medical response and other such services.
Kendall, who serves as chair of the Community Transit Board of Directors, announced that the city’s “important relationship” with Community Transit will yield a new park and ride facility at Cedar Avenue and Grove Street. It will include approximately 200 parking spaces and boarding platforms for three buses, and will primarily serve existing commuter routes, although it will be near other local bus connections. Construction on the city’s fourth park and ride is scheduled to start this spring and will be funded through local and federal tax dollars.
Kendall noted that the city and the Tulalip Tribes have worked together on issues of mutual interest, such as bringing the University of Washington North branch campus to Smokey Point, as well as on economic development, transportation, and social and cultural needs, since the signing of a government-to-government accord in 2007. He added that the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce has promoted tourism and new business opportunities in both the Marysville and Tulalip communities, and has “taken the lead on social issues of nationwide significance,” including the Military Family Friendly Employment Partnership Initiative.
Looking back on 2008, Kendall expressed pride in the Fourth Street road improvements and re-signalization, from 47th to 67th avenues NE, as well as the ongoing improvements of State Avenue, from 136th to 152nd streets, widening it from two to five lanes and adding sidewalks, medians, decorative lighting, and a signal and crosswalk at 152nd Street. He estimated that the State Avenue work would by completed by August of this year. He also mentioned the city’s $1 million asphalt overlay and annual road maintenance program, to improve city roads in various states of disrepair.
Kendall elaborated on the Marysville Police Department’s progress in 2008, including its restructuring under the direction of Chief Rick Smith, its addition of two new lieutenants and several new sergeant positions, and its formation of a “ProAct” team, a specialized, high-visibility, swift-action group of officers dedicated to combating graffiti, gangs and drug houses. The police department also established a crime analysis unit and hired a new crime analyst, while its graffiti task force instituted an online graffiti reporting form, at marysvillewa.gov/graffiti.aspx. From June to December of 2008, the city received approximately 100 requests to remove graffiti, and from June to October of that same year, police made 31 arrests. The year saw a 50 percent drop in the number of graffiti occurrences.
During the Marysville Municipal Court’s first full year in its new building, Municipal Judge Fred Gillings’ position went full time, and total filings rose 7 percent, from 11,988 in 2007 to 12,790. To address what Kendall identified as a growing need, the city hired two former Snohomish County prosecutors and an administrative assistant at the end of 2008.
The city has adopted a balanced $140.7 million budget for 2009, which includes a $33.5 million general fund, an 8 percent general fund reserve and no layoffs. The budget anticipates a 16.5 percent increase in sales tax, from $6.5 million to $7.5 million, based on major retail store openings, construction activity and gains from the streamlined sales tax that took effect in July 2008.
Kendall listed a number of recreational projects that were completed in 2008, including improvements to the parking lot and sidewalks of Jennings Park, the installation of a drainage system at the Strawberry Fields Athletic Complex, which also became the site of the city’s first off-leash dog park, “Strawberry Fields for Rover,” and the renovation of Asbery Field, thanks to a joint effort by city and school district staff, as well as several area churches. The city likewise installed bike lanes along Grove Street and Armar Road and is pursuing development of the Bayview Whiskey Ridge Trail.
Looking to the future, Kendall named five initiatives for 2009 — the continued pursuit of a UW North branch campus at Smokey Point; the annexation of Central Marysville’s 2,846 acres and approximately 20,000 residents into the city; the development of a new Marysville Civic Complex to consolidate city departments into a single location; master plan urban design and redevelopment of the city’s downtown and waterfront; and the Smokey Point master plan to guide development of a light commercial and industrial park in the city’s northeast.