Monthly Archives: June 2019

Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 6/25/2019

“In space travel,” repeated Slartibartfast, “all the numbers are awful.”
–Douglas Adams, “Life, the Universe, and Everything”

An awful lot of numbers were proffered this meeting regarding two major decisions before the Council: How much money should we borrow through our bond ordinance?; What technology will we use to make necessary upgrades to City servers? First, however, Sarah Sidman, the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives & Communications from the ArtsFund organization, presented the results of a recent study on the social impacts of the arts.

ArtsFund is a non-profit organization dedicated to support of the arts in the Puget Sound region. Having seen the presentation in Seattle, John (Councilmember) and Lisa Steckler arranged to bring it to Mill Creek. A healthy crowd turned up specifically to listen to the PowerPoint presentation.

An interesting paradox is that a large majority of people feel that art has a big impact on them, but very few believe that it similarly influences the community. However, research shows that art programs improve education outcomes, contribute to well-being, and enrich the vitality of communities. This is on top of the financial benefits from tapping into a 2.4 billion dollar segment of Washington’s economy.

These are some of the many reasons I support Councilperson Steckler’s vision of building a Performing Arts Center in Mill Creek, as part of the development of the city-owned Dobson-Remillard-Cook Properties. A performance space for our students, dance, theatrical and musical groups is one of the very few important things that Mill Creek lacks.… Read More “Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 6/25/2019”

Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 6/11/2019

Audience Communication was star-studded at this meeting, we heard from Chuck Wright, columnist for the Mill Creek Beacon, and Rep. John Lovick, speaker pro tem and representative of the 44th district in the Washington House of Representatives. Mr. Wright spoke in favor of this year’s Memorial Day Parade, saying he found it very respectful. He mentioned that there are some arguments in favor of changing to a Memorial Day service, and a parade on Armed Forces Day, but that he has been assured we will not do so. Rep. Lovick expressed admiration and gratitude for the Council’s ongoing work, and specifically praised the management of construction on 35th.

Moving on to New Business, both items related to the extensive repairs that must be done on Mill Creek’s surface water infrastructure. This project has actually been discussed in prior meetings (3/12/2019, 4/23/2019, 5/14/2019), but the specific votes to be taken qualified as “new business.”

First, Public Works Director Gina Hortillosa and Finance Director Peggy Lauerman gave an update on the project costs of pipe repairs. Where the previous conversations have been about planning and estimations, this discussion was a foray into execution and actual costs. The biggest change from the original budget comes from the surprisingly high bid for work that was approved at the May 15 meeting. A cash flow analysis projecting out to 2026 shows that, without intervention, our capital improvement reserves will drop below a safe amount. Options to increase revenue or redistribute funds will be evaluated as the project unfolds.… Read More “Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 6/11/2019”

Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 6/4/2019

Audience Communication was hopping at this meeting, with three of us rising to speak Jon Ramer presented a plaque on behalf of AmVets, in appreciation of Mill Creek’s support, as well as inviting all City staff to a thank you BBQ. I had a bit to say about the recent Snohomish County Housing Affordability Regional Taskforce, which I’ve included at the end. Finally, Benjamin Briles spoke in appreciation of the youth in attendance, regarding his application to the committee to be appointed during the meeting, and in support of accepting the fee in lieu of settlement to be discussed second under New Business.

A Presentation recognized the 23 graduating seniors who have been part of the Youth Advisory Board. The YAB contributes to many community programs throughout the year, logging over 2600 hours during the 2018/19 school year, in almost 20 service projects.

Updating our wireless communications ordinance, as discussed at the last meeting [my report], was pretty easily handled. A notice requirement was added, and the wording turned me around on my previous opposition. By focusing on making a notification of construction, it is much less likely that the notices will create fears where there were none previously. Having addressed all of the Council’s previous concerns, the measure was approved unanimously.

The next piece of business to return to the table was the proposed agreement with Puget Sound Energy for a fee in lieu of services. The gist of the question: PSE tore up our pavement, and are obligated to update the current, temporary patches, and fix them to our standards.… Read More “Mill Creek City Council Meeting, 6/4/2019”