Arlington mayor looks back, looks ahead

  • Friday, December 28, 2018 12:19pm
  • Opinion

By Barb Tolbert

As I look back on 2018, I am astounded at the accomplishments made by our city. It continued its focus on economic development to bring family wage jobs to Arlington, infrastructure to support those jobs, and enhanced public safety. The city also invested in staffing and provided tools that staff can use to be more efficient, effective and transparent in our daily business of providing service to you.

Accomplishments include:

Economic Development

•Volunteers constructed a stage at Legion Park, paid for by donations and tourism grant funds

•Arlington was designated as a Washington State Main Street Affiliate. The Mayor’s Main Street Committee attended the Revitalize Washington conference to learn tips to grow Arlington’s Main Street businesses.

•Arlington was nominated by downtown businesses and is now one of 10 cities competing nationally to receive $500,000 in investments and additional training as part of the Small Business Revolution – Main Street Makeover program.

•The Smokey Point Business Committee was established to discuss business issues and public safety in Smokey Point. Organized by Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert and Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, the committee has been meeting quarterly.

•The city received Washington State Capital funding for a renovation to the former Howell service station on Olympic Avenue to create an Innovation Center. The city has been working with the NW Innovation Resource Center to provide programming and outreach in advance of opening the center.

•The city assisted in the opening of 72 new business in 2018.

•Community & Economic Development department processed 523 building permits, 21 land-use permits, and 17 full site civil reviews for new development

•Arlington adopted the AMMIC Subarea Plan for development and infrastructure in the manufacturing industrial center to provide certainty to developers.

•Arlington also adopted a Complete Streets Policy to ensure that all development and transportation projects address all users of the Public Rights of Way.

Infrastructure Investment

•Arlington Municipal Airport completed $1.3 million in capital improvement projects making the airport safer and more beautiful.

•Staff redesigned the 67th Avenue NE median landscaping and replanted using the new design.

•Contractors reached substantial completion on the new Arlington Valley Road, which will be open to traffic in early 2019. It will provide additional access to the AMMIC and open new properties to development.

•The city completed 1.12 miles of water main upgrades and repaved and preserved 1.38 miles of roads.

•The city received a $1.6 million grant to construct a roundabout at 204th Street NE and 77th Avenue NE to increase safety and mobility.

Public Safety

•In partnership with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Marysville, the Arlington Police Department launched the Community Outreach Team, including the embedded social worker. The program has reduced the negative impacts of the opioid epidemic, with substance abuse treatment provided to 28 people, 15 graduates of long-term treatment programs, and housing secured for 22 clients.

•Arlington police have implemented a new strategic plan to address issues, including recruitment and retention of officers.

•The Ambulance Utility was adopted to ensure the city’s Emergency Medical System is fully funded.

•Arlington Fire received improved electronic patient care reporting hardware and software to increase efficiency.

•Arlington Fire garnered over $870,000 in grants to increase staffing and improve patient care and responses.

Staffing and Tools

•Due to retirements and attrition, the city filled 21 vacancies in 2018, not including seasonal maintenance workers in the M&O department. In addition, four new positions were created and filled in Community and Economic Development, and Public Works.

•New accounting software was implemented that integrated financial systems citywide into one place, which has strengthened internal controls, streamlined processes, and enhanced reporting and tracking capabilities.

•Through leadership of the finance department, the city received another clean audit.

•A more-transparent budget process was created, involving all levels of the organization.

•Multiple Information Technology hardware and software upgrades has provided City staff with tools that have increased efficiency and efficacy.

•TV 21 equipment was updated to provide viewers with a better experience and way to obtain information from the city.

•Resolution of outstanding labor issues and the AFSCME contract settlement.

•A new, more user-friendly website was launched.

As the New Year approaches, I look forward to see the new opportunities that 2019 will bring. We remain committed to working cooperatively with all of you to preserve the quality of life we treasure and make Arlington the best place to live, work, play and visit. The city’s focus on economic development, infrastructure, public safety and increased efficiency will continue.

Some of the things our department directors are looking forward to completing in 2019 are: •Adding two police officers, which will allow us to shift our emphasis toward proactive policing, focusing on increased crime prevention, building relationships and community policing.

•Completing construction of the Splash Pad at Haller Park after years of planning and fundraising from the community.

•Launching a document-management program within our financial system that will allow departments to access and view electronic documents such as invoices, contracts, leases and quotes to improve efficiency and reduce the amount of paper handled by departments.

•Updating IT infrastructure hardware and software to help departments be more efficient and effective.

•Rehabilitating runway 11/29, a $1.4 million project.

•Implementing the adopted plans and policies that will preserve the city’s unique culture and character, while supporting creation of new family wage jobs.

•Increasing our focus on organizational development to provide our staff the tools to grow and increase our efficiencies and effectiveness.

•Obtaining regional designation for the Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center from Puget Sound Regional Council to provide access to additional grants for key infrastructure.

•Completing the community outreach and design for the roundabout at 204th Street NE and 77th Avenue NE intersection to improve safety and accessibility.

Happy New Year!

Mayor Barb Tolbert

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