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By Jana Hill
Mill Creek Beacon Editor 

Zoom in to a connection to your community

Get take-out, attend a virtual meeting, write a letter


Last updated 3/23/2021 at 8:27pm

Photo courtesy of Azul Lounge, in Mill Creek

Blackened Salmon Tacos with Chimichurri sauce is one of the many items you can find in the Mill Creek community. The project includes two parts: public meetings, a take-out dining experience. Combine both to take advantage of the the silver linings, in a pandemic era, and connect with your community.

Mark your calendar for the next Mill Creek City Council meeting: 6 p.m. Tuesday March 23. The link, past meeting information, as well as ordinances and resolutions are posted here:

Community connection, through March

The Beacon invites you to take part in a community connection practice, in three steps that will take some planning.

The three steps are these:

1) Get local take-out.

2) Attend a public meeting on Zoom.

3) Share ideas by writing a letter to the editor: millcreekedi[email protected], "community connection" in the subject-line.

Share any part of the experience – did you go to your first-ever city council meeting? Tell me about that. Did you get take-out and have a conversation with a local business owner? Tell me about that. Did you find a subject you don't understand and want a story on it? Tell me, and I'll write about it.

The opportunity for community connection in three steps is available anytime in March – then, maybe you'll keep going. Make that a practice and help keep the community thriving, by sharing experiences, supporting each other, and sharing ideas.

The take-out step: restaurateurs are nurturing the community in a way that can be unifying and supportive. Remember the last time you felt a little down and someone made you a nice dinner? That is a community connection.

Town Hall, Mill Creek

On Tuesday, March 16, the Mill Creek leaders hosted a Town Hall meeting on Zoom at 6 p.m. hosted by Mayor Brian Holtzclaw and Mayor Pro Tem Stephanie Vignal: 14 people attended.

Town Hall meetings are open, casual, question-and-answer events. The next regular city council meeting is an official meeting of the full city council. Public comment is taken but limited to three minutes.

The meeting included discussion on federal stimulus funds, revisions to the governance manual, and an inquiry on how to get feedback on the needs of Mill Creek's cyclists. The more casual forum of a Town Hall provides a way for questions and answers, and is less formal than an official city council meeting.

Sean Paddock, who has lived in Mill Creek almost seven years, asked about funding from the federal government and whether the city would be receiving it. The New York Times reports that $350 billion is available for state, local and tribal governments. The aid is anticipated to be available through the end of 2024, the Times reports.

"We may be eligible for up to $4.55 million," Holtzclaw said. "That'sabout 30% of our revenues."

Holtzclaw said he is not sure if they will be able to use it, because they do not yet know what the criteria is for that money. He hopes the city will be able to use the funds on the DRCC property – the Dobson, Remillard, Church and Cook plats – a 19 acre site near Mill Creek Sports Park on North Creek Drive. An online survey on how that property will be used is open through March 31: #

The site has potential for use in recreation, entertainment, education, commerce, municipal or in some other way.

Paddock said in an interview with The Beacon that he has been following COVID-relief stimulus funding in the news, and wondered how it would impact Mill Creek.

"The tax-revenue base is shrinking" due to COVID-19, he said. "I think there's a lot of people who are going to feel that investment."

Barbara Heidel, Mill Creek resident and regular attendee to city meetings, asked for an email-protocol to be considered for the Governance Manual, to urge council members to be more responsive. She said sometimes she emails a question to a councilmember, and "I want an email back."

Councilman John Steckler said when he receives email from constituents, he forwards personnel issues to City Manager Michael Ciaravino. Some information on personnel is confidential.

In general, Steckler said, "if someone sends me an email, I need to respond to that," but added that if a person sends email to multiple councilmembers, he only responds if it is a question he is able to answer.

The city is in the process of revising its Governance Manual. Changes discussed in a March 2 city council meeting circled around public disclosure and conflict of interest. The council will revise the manual with final revisions anticipated in May.

Holtzclaw ended the meeting at the one-hour mark and thanked people for attending. During the meeting, he invited comment from the public and mentioned contact information for councill members was posted on the city's website.


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