Mayor’s priorities list update

By Jennifer Gregerson | May 14, 2014

Today marks my 134th day as your mayor.

It’s been an exciting and challenging few months: I’ve met many new people, made some changes and done my best to serve you well. It is a great job to be the Mukilteo Mayor, and I’m so happy to be doing it!

In January, I committed to an action agenda of initial priorities. The following is an update on what I’ve been doing with those priorities.

Japanese Gulch

All of the undeveloped portions of Japanese Gulch are now owned by the city. The gulch is protected, both because it’s what the City Council and I believe in doing, and because our conservation grant dollars require it to be preserved.

There are some activities that make sense in the gulch: well-maintained and safe trails for people, pets and bicycles, animal habitat, water quality features, and all those things that make an urban forest an amazing place.

I want to make sure we take our time and handle the future right, and ensure that all the activities in the gulch fit together well. The master plan process has been reviewed by the council, and we will soon be presenting a list of committee members for approval.

This group will work with our staff and a landscape architect to understand where recreational activities can happen, and where we should focus on restoration and conservation. It will take time, but the possibilities are exciting!

Our waterfront

I promised to find ways to return Mukilteo’s waterfront to our residents, and in a few weeks, that will be happening.

Once this column is printed, I expect that the Port of Everett will have approved an agreement to allow Mukilteans and visitors to access Edgewater Park, legally, for the first time in many years.

Over the next few weeks, our Public Works crews will install a simple gravel path from the end of the Sound Transit turnaround to the existing paved access road that runs along the water.

Once we open the path officially, I encourage you to head down First Street from the Art Building, to the turnaround.

Try out the gravel path, and watch for port or Sound Transit vehicles, and then wander down the paved road to Edgewater and the quiet beach that is a pleasant counterpoint to Lighthouse Park’s energy and excitement.

Sustainability

A few weeks ago, I held my first Green Team meeting with city staff. An energetic and passionate group of staff from throughout the city organization, they shared a number of ideas and new initiatives we can pursue.

Paper reduction was a theme that rang true, especially for staff inside City Hall, while others rightly pointed out that our cleaning supply sourcing could be improved, based on the example of what Rosehill Community Center staff has already done.

The team may have started as my idea, but I can already tell that they will be taking the lead. That’s exactly what I meant during my campaign when I talked about empowering our staff. They are ready for it!

Reorganization

Last week, we started advertising for a new human resources manager at the city. This new HR professional will be able to ensure we reduce risks and liabilities for our taxpayers and that we protect and serve our city employees in the best way.

We have not been working efficiently or effectively in this arena. I’m glad to have kept my promise to improve these services.

Fire service

I also promised that I would find ways to effectively partner with our neighbors and ensure that we serve you with high quality services in a cost-effective manner.

I’ve continued our conversations with Snohomish County Fire District 1 regarding regionalized fire service. We have taken this first part of the year to ensure we have an apples-to-apples comparison of what it costs to run our department, and what it would look like to work with Fire District 1.

I believe it’s important to understand all the costs in both scenarios. That analysis is something I’ve been looking for, and wasn’t completed last year. Part of that assessment is a reminder of upcoming liabilities.

In 2017, we have a $1.3 million bill for a ladder truck, and no funds set aside for it. We’ll also need to consider battalion chief services at that time. In 2016, our agreement for shared paramedic oversight expires. All of those service needs would be included in a contract.

According to our Finance Department’s analysis, contracting could save us millions of dollars in future years.

We are still completing our due diligence, but I will soon bring the full details of the proposal both to the council and to the public. We’ll have a vigorous process and opportunity for tough questions to be asked and all the data to be shared.

Chip seal

I also promised that I would reconsider our strategy of chip-sealing all city streets. We now have accurate bid pricing for a new technique called bonded wearing course (BWC).

Bids came in as expected: It lasts twice as long and costs between $4.60 and $7.60. For comparison, our average chip seal cost was $3.36 per square yard (and $7.25 for the double chip seal on more damaged roads).

I’m hopeful that this is a technique that could be affordable and meet our quality demands. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough money in our budget to attract a vendor to do a big job in Mukilteo this year. I’ve recommended to Council that we bank our budgeted dollars, and double up on the project next year.

It is a pleasure to serve as your mayor. Please contact me anytime with questions. If you’re not on my mailing list for my monthly accountability report, let me know if you’d like to be added! Just email me at jgregerson@ci.mukilteo.wa.us or call 425-263-8018.

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