Mukilteo Strong: City budget reflects our values | Mayor's Message

By Jennifer Gregerson | Oct 12, 2016

Every year that I have presented a preliminary budget to the community, I have been guided by the firm and abiding belief that our budget is more than simply a book of numbers, it is an expression of our values as a community.

The choices we make will influence the lives of our residents, the success of our businesses and the world we leave to the next generation.

On July 30, our city was changed forever. We lost three beautiful young people – Anna Bui, Jordan Ebner and Jake Long.

In the months since that tragic night, we have seen our community come together to comfort one another, mourn and grieve together, and rally around our resolve to be Mukilteo Strong.

If our city budget could be summed up in one phrase it would be: We are Mukilteo Strong.

While the preliminary budget has many important priorities, more than any budget I have presented, this one has an overriding priority: rebuilding our sense of community, commemorating those we have lost, and working together to confront violence and spread compassion.

Our budget includes funding for investments in prevention and to support the Mukilteo Strong Alliance and other important community partners, like the Mukilteo Youth Coalition.

I have also asked that we set aside funds to remember those we have lost. It’s my hope that we can work together to find a permanent place to reflect and remember those we have lost to tragedy, and also to find peace and resolve to make our community better in their memory.

Our budget also improves community-school partnerships by funding a full-time school resource officer in partnership with the Mukilteo School District.

We will also work to create more recreation opportunities for teens. One of the messages I have heard loud and clear from parents and youth in our community is that kids often feel isolated, marginalized and like they don’t belong.

City government cannot solve this problem alone, but we can find new and better ways to bring our teens together in positive, constructive ways to create community.

This work will take more than one year and will require more resources than city government alone can muster, but this budget takes the first steps.

Beyond this important work, our budget builds on past priorities and continues to meet several benchmarks I have set for the city.

I remain committed to my vision for Mukilteo: A sustainable, well-run city with safe, strong neighborhoods.

Just like the past two budgets I have presented, this year’s budget will balance our revenues and expenditures to ensure sound financial decision-making. We also fully fund our city reserve fund and other reserves to prepare for a rainy day.

In the first two budgets I proposed, I asked us to take a break from tax increases and live within our means.

For two years, we have not raised taxes to support our city services, although I have been clear this is not a long-term strategy.

This budget proposes raising our property tax by 1 percent, a modest increase to ensure that our revenues better match the rising costs of providing core services.

Last week, Tim Eyman wrote a letter to the editor expressing concern that I want to raise our car tabs. I want to be clear that our budget doesn’t include a new car tab tax.

For over a year, our City Council and a citizen taskforce have been examining ways to invest in our transportation infrastructure.

One of the tools state law grants the city is a local car tab to pay for street maintenance, but there are many ways to fund these needed investments.

If Mr. Eyman or any other resident has concerns about car tabs, they should share that with the council at elected@mukilteowa.gov.

There is much more to our budget proposal than can be described in one message, but I wanted to share some of the key priorities I considered as I worked to prepare it.

Every day, I am reminded that serving as mayor is the best job I have ever had. All of us who live here know that Mukilteo is a strong community, I am proud that we have shown the world the true meaning of Mukilteo Strong.

Mayor Jennifer Gregerson’s column appears in the Mukilteo Beacon on the second Wednesday of the month. The opinions expressed are her own and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Mukilteo City Council.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.