Determined visions for the New Year
Last updated 1/18/2018 at Noon
Many well-intentioned people may have already broken their resolutions for the New Year, but civic leaders in Mill Creek have committed to resolving some long-standing concerns in 2018 that will enhance the lives of residents while maximizing the city’s commercial potential.
Mike Todd has been a member of the City Council for more than a dozen years, and firmly believes the upcoming year will be the most challenging of his tenure.
“We have realigned our structure and processes (to meet) our current needs, and in today’s good economy, we are doing well,” Todd told The Beacon.
“Now we need to turn to planning for infrastructure needs within he city, as well as expand our horizons to work with neighbors and partners on important regional growth and transportation needs.”
Todd’s council colleague, Mayor Pro Tem Brian Holtzclaw, agreed with Todd’s observations by predicting the next year will be both “challenging and spirited” for the policymakers.
“I am looking forward to implementing the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) and working with developers on the final 12 acres of undeveloped land in the city near Gateway to see that come to fruition,” Holtzclaw said.
Holtzclaw was reelected to his second four-year term on the council in November, and was chosen unanimously by fellow councilmembers to his second consecutive two-year term as mayor pro tem at the first council meeting of the year.
He is optimistic about the financial health of the city based on the opening of the Arena Sports Complex.
“Arena Sports and Mill Creek Sports fit well with our plans for economic development in the city,” Holtzclaw said. “Those types of businesses will provide economic stability as well as a positive image that will help Mill Creek grow in the eyes of our residents and our neighboring cities in Snohomish County.”
Todd and Holtzclaw both proclaimed confidence that development of the city’s economic base will help City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto maintain a balanced budget.
Mayor Pam Pruitt had even more ambitious plans for the coming year. She expects the council will be able to approve a Capital Improvement Plan that covers the next six years with fees from development and mitigation as well as grants that will pay for the much-needed improvements.
“We need a strategic plan that covers the next 10 to 20 years,” Pruitt said. “Mill Creek must realize what it will need to plan and pay for our future instead of letting outside forces decide for us.”
The mayor’s plan parallels the strategy outlined by the city manager. Polizzotto anticipates the council will use 2018 to develop a multi-year forecast that will create a working budget document for the current biennium, by identifying efficiencies and alternate sources of funding.
Polizzotto told The Beacon that she plans to work with a “myriad of stakeholders” to develop the CIP. She also would like to include strategic planning for work plans for various City Hall departments.
The only deviation from the council’s agenda came from the board’s newest member, former Planning Commissioner Jared Mead. The 26-year-old graduate of Jackson High School was elected to the council in November in his first bid for public office.
Mead said he plans to “sit back and listen” to members of the council before contributing on what he described as “social and environmental issues that are important to 26 year olds.”
Mead pointed out that he takes his role as “the youngest person ever elected to the Mill Creek City Council” seriously. He plans to bond with other councilmember and gain their respect before interjecting his new ideas.
One thing the city manager and councilmembers could agree on is that 2018 promises to be a year that will help shape the future of Mill Creek for many years to come.
Carmen Fisher, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the council last fall, agreed that the council “has a very full plate this year” and would like to see local lawmakers address historic inequality by observing days that honor marginalized groups of citizens.
“We (the city) could also consider creating educational activities as a part of strategies to increase tourism and provide recreational opportunities.”
Whether they stick to the agenda at hand, or venture into new arenas for city governments, the coming 11-plus months promise to be an exhausting time for the people in city hall.
“It will be a busy year,” Todd summarized. “But I think the council and our citizens recognize this is the time to get this important work done.”