Tourism, SRO’s, flagpole heights share stage at council meeting

MARYSVILLE – Tourism, school officers and flagpoles shared top billing at the City Council meeting Monday.

Amy Spain, executive director of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau, talked about the importance of that industry not only to the county but to Marysville as well, bringing in $483,000 to this city alone.

Countywide, tourism brought in $1 billion, providing 10,750 jobs. Statewide, tourism brings in $21 billion, providing 175,000 jobs. Washington still is the only state in the country without a statewide tourism bureau. To compare, Idaho has $8 million in its budget, Oregon $17 million and Montana $19 million.

The county’s bureau is funded by the lodging tax, so it focuses on overnight stays, which outspend day users by a 4-to-1 ratio. Those stays benefit other businesses as well, such as restaurants, gas stations, etc.

Areas of focus for the county bureau are:

•Sports development: using county, city, schools and parks for events.

•Marketing: Including its website at snohomish.org.

•Trade shows: Trying to bring events here.

Mayor Jon Nehring gave out the first Dare to Soar awards in two years. “We don’t just hand these out to anybody,” Nehring said.

They were presented to the five members of the Student Resource Officers team. He specifically mentioned Chris Sutherland and Jeremy Wood for going to local businesses and getting donations to bring to town two national speakers on bullying. They raised $27,000 to bring former World Wrestling Federation standout Mark Mero and Amy Briggs, the mother of a young man who committed suicide, to Marysville.

They didn’t know what to expect for a crowd, but it ended up being standing-room only. Some in attendance said the experience was life-changing.

As part of the weeklong effort Mero and Briggs also talked at numerous schools in the district about bullying, which is a part of life 24 hours a day, seven days a week because of the internet.

The others on the team honored were officers Angela Fawks and David White, and the supervisor, Sgt. Rick Sparr.

As for flagpoles, resident Evan Kaiser again spoke against increasing the height limit. He also said the new ordinance would not regulate what the flags would say, which could lead to advertising in residential areas.

The council ended up approving a height limit of 25 feet for single-family homes and 35-feet for multi-housing. Building officials will decide if a permit is needed, depending on the structure.

In other news, the council:

•Approved a bid for work on Grove Street, which will include new sewer, curbs, sidewalks and asphalt.

•Discussed having the council adopt by May 12 an Emergency Medical Services levy to be voted on in August. City finance director Sandy Langdon said the EMS levy is at 38 cents per $1,000 valuation, and it really should be closer to the allowed 50 cents.

•Discussed construction on Third Street. Public Works director Kevin Nielsen said normally such a project wouldn’t take place in winter due to the weather, but the city did it to help out businesses on that street. However, there have been many delays due to rain. Council Member Jeff Vaughan and others said they have received complaints about how deep the rain gardens are on that project. “Those are big holes,” Vaughan said. Nielsen responded that the city will try to see if more beauty bark could be placed in them so the drop-off is not so great.

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