Opinion

A look back at our accomplishments in 2013

I recently had the opportunity to present the 2014 State of the City address to business and community leaders, sharing an optimistic message that this year citizens can expect to see significant investments back into our community after guiding our financial resources responsibly through a challenging economic period.

Citizens with cable TV service can currently watch a video presentation of the address on Marysville Community Cable Channel 21 (Comcast) or Channel 25 (Frontier) daily at noon, 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. You can also view it on the city website starting Feb. 10.

In last month’s column, I wrote about investments on tap this year that will raise our quality of life and build toward the future, through more innovative means and a continued disciplined operating philosophy. Investing back into our community is about putting our resources where they can do the most good; in other words, public safety, streets and roads, parks, neighborhoods, downtown, and job creation and retention.

In this column, I want to take a look back at 2013, to review some of the successes accomplished by the city of Marysville, thanks to a solid working relationship between the City Council, department directors and dedicated staff, and our indispensable partnerships with citizens, business owners, neighboring governments and regional organizations.

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. We have accomplished much.

All roads begin — and end — with the city budget. At the end of 2013, the City Council adopted a $139 million budget for 2014 that includes a $42.1 million General Fund budget for funding basic public services. It’s worth sharing with taxpayers that our departments under-spent their budgets by a $1.5 million.

Public Safety

Public safety is a very high priority in Marysville. The men and women of the Marysville Police Department provide “service with honor,” and they remain committed to providing outstanding service in partnership with the community to enhance our city’s safety, growth and livability.

Among highlights:

  • Police carried out a series of commander, lieutenant and sergeant promotions in 2013 which, combined with new hires, reinforces the value we place on public safety.
  • Police and other city departments took several steps to more vigorously address quality of life issues in Marysville that included nuisance houses, panhandling and encampments.
  • Worked with county and regional entities on targeting certain crimes that impact us all, such as the Regional Narcotics Task Force and Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force.
  • Began planning for a new evidence building to be constructed this year.
  • Contributed to neighborhood livability through expanding our Neighborhood Block Watch program, which has 18 groups plus six new ones.
  • Implemented a new Business Watch program to help provide businesses with a way to actively reduce and prevent crime through cooperation and education, working together with police.
  • New crime mapping on our website offering residents a unique way to access and analyze interactive maps of recent crime activity near any address.

The Municipal Court stayed very busy in 2013. Judges Fred Gillings and Lorrie Towers, and Court Administrator Suzi Elsner and her staff, and our great team of City Prosecutors kept the wheels of justice turning smoothly.

The Court:

  • Received 7,920 filings from the three cities served by the court.
  • Our judges heard 2,500 arraignments.
  • Heard more than 3,387 in-custody cases, 2,051 of them at the Marysville jail.
  • Handled 293 cases requiring the use of interpreter services, mainly Spanish.

Last year was our first full year providing domestic violence advocacy services. The Executive Department, Prosecutors Office, Court, Police and Community Development department worked together for seamless integration of these services into the city’s law and justice system. These services assist those in our community who fall victim to this horrible crime.

Fire Chief Greg Corn and his dedicated firefighting crews, EMTs and staff are always there for us with the best “first response” resources and emergency services.

Some highlights from the Fire District:

n Acquired a firefighters staffing grant, or SAFER, that helped the District refill two firefighter positions that had been cut due to the poor economy.

n The Fire District responded to 10,700 calls for service, with EMS calls representing about 80 percent of them.

n The District plans to add two new aid cars to the fleet this year, replacing a couple that now have more than 240,000 miles on them.

Public Works and Community Development

Public Works accomplished a multitude of projects in 2013.

Road improvement projects were highlighted by:

  • Complete overlay of State Avenue from 92nd to 100th Street, and
  • Widening of 51st from Grove Street north to 80th by Public Works crews, as well as shoulder improvements to help pedestrians and bicyclists.

In utilities, Public Works maintenance crews spent more than a year installing required infrastructure improvements in the Sunnyside area in order to complete the transfer of water service from Snohomish County PUD to the city. Crews gave it their all, even working through the holidays in December to “turn on the taps” in time to meet our commitment of Dec. 31 to provide Marysville water to 4,000 new customers.

The city also dedicated its new decant facility that will help us process our own waste materials picked up by our street sweepers and vactor trucks, and ultimately eliminate pollution runoff and keep our surface waters clean.

Public Works also took steps to construct the Qwuloolt interpretive trail which take advantage of water recreation and ecotourism opportunities embodied along Ebey waterfront and the Tulalip Tribes’ Qwuloolt estuary restoration project.

The Community Development worked at fever pitch to keep up with significant increases in permit and building activity last year. The city issued permits for 173 single-family residential units, a sign that the housing industry sees Marysville as a good market.

Commercial buildings that opened included Wal-mart, Big Lots, Lakewood Pointe office area, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Community Development staff also continues to work with an assortment of commercial and residential projects.

Parks and Recreation

Among Parks and Recreation Department highlights, staff did their usual impeccable job of coordinating numerous family-friendly annual events and activities — most of them free — that are appreciated by our community and integral to the quality of life for any community. The Holiday Tour of Lights, Merrysville for the Holidays and Electric Light Parade, Challenge Day, Easter Egg Hunt, Fishing Derby, and summer concerts and movies are just few calendar favorites.

Thanks to the many businesses and individuals who provide valuable sponsorship to keep these favorite activities going in Marysville.

Marysville benefits from hard-working and selfless individuals who don’t hesitate to answer the call to volunteer.

With limited tax dollars to do everything we might otherwise wish we could, we depend on volunteers to make our community better.

Total volunteer hours contributed by residents through Serve Day events, Graffiti Paint Outs and other park maintenance, Parks and Recreation youth sports, community center support and program volunteer events totaled 3,399 hours in 2013.

Nowhere is volunteerism more abundant than during our community Clean Sweep Week code enforcement and neighborhood cleanup. This event in April is a highly successful partnership between the city, neighbors, community volunteers and groups, and businesses, and 2013’s event just in time for spring improved Marysville’s appearance by addressing code enforcement issues, painting over graffiti, landscaping and other improvements.

To Marysville citizens, we look forward to meeting and working with you to do great things in our community in 2014 that we can all be proud of at the end of the day.

Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at mayor@marysvillewa.gov or 360-363-8091.

 

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