Last updated 9/15/2017 at Noon
Every August, the council suspends its meetings to give staff time to take their vacations, catch up on paperwork and prepare for the busy months ahead. During the other months, staff members have to do their daily work as well as assembling information for the council to make decisions.
We may not have had regularly scheduled council meetings, but we still attended our regularly scheduled outside committee meetings. In addition to my day job, I serve on outside boards for SNOCOM (emergency dispatch services), SERS (emergency radio system) and a long-term funding committee for SERS. Other councilmembers also have their outside assignments. It’s not enough to show up to council meetings. Part of our jobs is also to represent the City on outside committees and activities.
Anyway, we are back and ready to get to work.
Mill Creek grows up
Speaking of getting to work, we have a lot of it coming up. As our city matures, we need to focus on budget sustainability, infrastructure maintenance and redevelopment.
When Mill Creek was new, there was lots of growth that paid the bills. Those days are over. As we age, hopefully gracefully, we need to attract businesses to help keep our taxes low. We need to maintain our infrastructure while it’s just maintenance, not a more expensive total rehab. And we need to have a sustainable budget so we can all continue to afford to live here.
After much delay, we will be starting our Capital Improvement Program or CIP process. I’ve been waiting for this for two years, but as many of you know, we had major obstacles to overcome. Well, we are almost through the morass, and there is exciting work ahead.
It’s not going to be easy, and there are still obstacles. For example, the City has been “scoping” its roads for several years. “Scoping” is done with a little video camera, and tells us what the underlying condition of a road is, especially the stormwater pipes that are our financial responsibility.
We recently learned the pictures had been taken but no one had looked at them for evaluation and prioritization. I’m serious! We can’t prioritize repairs, maintenance or anything else until the films are reviewed and analyzed. We don’t know yet if it can be done with current staff or if we will need an outside consultant.
Keep in mind, next year, our City engineer will be overseeing a $6 million road project when we fix 35th Avenue, on top of all of his regular responsibilities.
We finally will begin planning for the 10 acres of parkland the City owns adjacent to the Sports Park. That’s a really long-term project that will require grants and outside funding. We need to plan and pay for road overlays, replacement police cars, street sweepers and new technology.
This is going to be fun and painful, and take months to accomplish. I will keep you all posted along the way.