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Investing back into the community | GUEST OPINION
Last year, the city of Marysville made significant headway in re-building funding for some core government services put on hold while we waited for the economy to improve.
While our city government today is by no means flush with money, 2014 should rightly be remembered as the year that we began to invest back into the community. This will be a pivotal year for Marysville’s future.
Investing back into our community is about public safety, streets and roads, parks, neighborhoods, downtown, and job creation and retention.
It’s a commitment to taxpayers that while we continue to look for ways to increase revenues to keep Marysville sustainable and continue a quality of life that builds toward the future, we will always look for new opportunities to save dollars, to be more innovative and operate more efficiently.
And, it’s a statement that living by a disciplined operating philosophy that emphasizes fiscal good health for the short and long-term helps keep us on a course where our young people stay and enjoy successful careers and families, a cleaner and more enticing downtown grows and thrives, our business climate remains second to none, and our streets, roads, sewers and water services are top-notch.
We have reduced expenditures, built reserves in excess of a sustainable goal of 10 percent, paid down city debt including a substantial reduction in a golf course interfund loan, set aside funds for fleet, IT and building maintenance reserves while also starting a capitol reserve fund to allow us to make key investments with less debt in the future, and made city government operations more efficient.
Here is a look at some of the more visible ways that we will be investing back into Marysville this year:
- Six new patrol officers (one grant funded) — the 2014 Budget incorporates full year funding for six new police officers (five were added mid- to late-year in 2013, in addition to this year’s hire). The added law enforcement positions — combined with a series of commander, lieutenant and sergeant promotions in 2013 — put the department at full strength, and reinforce the value we place on public safety. A north precinct will be opening soon at Smokey Point Boulevard and 156th Street, creating quicker response times to calls for service in the north end.
- Renovation of Foothills Park and other neighborhood park maintenance that includes replacement of furnishings and new play systems.
- Bayview Trail extension to 84th Street — $100,000 for Phase II construction of Bayview Trail from 75th Street NE to 84th Street in across the eastside Marysville foothills. The project will provided connectivity to the current trail, resulting in a 1.24-mile corridor for pedestrian and non-motorized uses. Most of the project will be carried out by City maintenance crews.
- Spray Park — We will be making a big splash when we turn on the taps at the new Spray Park in Comeford Park this summer. The spray park will become a refreshing new way for families to safely enjoy fun in the water on hot summer days, and it will be a great attraction for helping create a sense of community in our downtown.
- Downtown Revitalization — $150,000 dedicated for revitalization efforts within the downtown area such as gateway improvements, waterfront trailhead or other downtown infrastructure. The city will continue to use public participation involving citizens and businesses to identify potential projects and prioritize improvements.
- Qwuloolt interpretive trail — $200,000 for design and trail construction costs tied to the Qwuloolt Estuary Restoration Project.
- Street maintenance and pavement preservation — Increased by $150,000 this year to a total of $500,000 for surface rehabilitation treatments to extend the life of the pavement for some well-travelled roads most in need of repair as determined by Public Works. Funding for these types of improvements has dried up in years past due to passage of certain voter initiatives and the recession.
- “Clean Sweep Week” code enforcement neighborhood cleanup — $60,000 for multiple cleanup and beautification activities deployed as part of Clean Sweep Week activities. The cost-effective, successful community event would again involve proactive code enforcement to address neighborhood livability and general aesthetics.
- We are moving forward with funding for an Interchange Justification Report (IJR) that involves work on the permitting, design and ultimately the approval process for a new interchange. This work will continue moving us towards our ultimate goal of an I-5/SR 529 full interchange alleviating the pressure on the I-5/SR 528 interchange and providing a way in and out of the city around the train tracks. This IJR process is the first step that takes about 12-15 months and is intended to put us in a position to aggressively compete for state and federal grant funds for the construction of a full interchange. Snohomish County has also agreed to help with the cost of this IJR process that is underway and will continue throughout 2014.
The city’s finances are healthy and stable; it is this stable financial picture that gives us the confidence to invest back into Marysville, and move ahead with strategic investments to create the opportunities and a chance at prosperity that our citizens demand.
I want to extend my best wishes to the citizens and families in Marysville for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.
Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at email@example.com or 360-363-8091.