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A Note From Your Mayor


Aug 31

Mayor's Update - August 30, 2019

Posted on August 31, 2019 at 8:58 PM by Joshua Stecker

Summer is wrapping up, kids are going back to school and fall is on its way. I hope everyone was able to enjoy Summer Sounds, Movies at the Park and all of the other beauty the harbor has to offer this time of year.

At the August 12th meeting Council authorized staff to go after two grants for projects on Stinson Avenue. The first will be a roundabout at the intersection of Stinson and Rosedale and the second will be a free-standing traffic light at the 3-way intersection at Stinson and Harborview. Both projects should make Stinson Avenue much safer for cars and pedestrians and should greatly improve traffic flow through downtown. Both projects were considered safe by our consulting traffic engineers.

Council also revised the terms for most of the City’s advisory boards, adding term limits and making it a requirement that Planning Commissioners and Parks Commissioners be City residents. For most of the boards, members are now appointed for 3-year terms and cannot be appointed more than 3 terms in a row.

The Gig Harbor Arts Commission awarded $13,830 to six recipients as part of their Creative Endeavors Support Program. Congratulations to the recipients which were Peninsula Hands on Art, Gayle Beard Design, Kate Everling, NW Choir Resources/Spectrum Choral Academy, Gig Harbor Film Festival, and Bike Gig Harbor!

Congratulations to Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team’s Nevin Harrison who became the first American to win a world championship in sprint canoe, taking home the gold at the 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Hungary! We are proud of her accomplishments and we wish her the best in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo representing the United States and Gig Harbor!

Several key business developments are coming soon to Gig Harbor:

  • Key Bank:  The City has received applications for a change of use and remodel of the old Key Bank Building Downtown along Pioneer.  The applicant proposes to make the building more align with the City’s Design Manual and will provide the much needed pedestrian frontage improvements while also providing more open space than is required.  Currently, the uses proposed are a pharmacy and tap room.  
  • Old Fred Meyer: The City has received applications for remodel of the old Fred Meyer on the east side of Highway 16.  The front façade will be modified and the building will be split into 2 or 3 tenants.  Currently, we are aware of Ross and Ulta Beauty stores occupying the spaces. 
  • Main and Vine: The City has also received applications for a new grocery store tenant in the old Main and Vine (QFC) building along Olympic Drive. 

On August 12, CHI Franciscan launched its Mission Control Center in Gig Harbor to enhance services, optimize patient care, and increase its capacity to serve more patients throughout eight of its acute care hospitals. Built in collaboration with GE Healthcare, the NASA-style Mission Control Center harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics to coordinate patient care and resources across the entire health system. By streaming real-time data on key aspects of patient care staff can direct resources to areas of high need and give health care providers the critical information they need to best care for patients, which ultimately increases patient access to care and improves health outcomes.

Mary Bridge will be expanding their services in the Point Fosdick area by providing a pediatric clinic and more.

Our Police Department will once again be hosting the popular Citizens Police Academy this fall.  This six-week course will provide citizens insight into law enforcement and how our police department operates.  Instruction is provided by our own police officers which includes topics such as patrol procedures, evidence collection, criminal law and procedures, use of force, and what it is truly like to be a police officer.  There will also be field trips to our 911 dispatch center and the jail.   There is no cost to attend, but we ask that citizens signed up for the academy commit to attending all of the class sessions.   The course will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from September 17 through October 17 with one Saturday morning session along the way.   For more information or to sign up, please click on https://www.cityofgigharbor.net/359/Police, contact our Citizens Police Academy coordinator Allen Beck at becka@cityofgigharbor.net or stop by our police department.   Space is limited, so be sure to sign up soon.

Please help us welcome our newest City employees both Michelle Thomas who comes to us from the City of Port Orchard as our new Planning Technician and Josh Gilchrist who joins from a private consulting firm in Oregon as our new Associate Engineer.

On June 26th Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (“S&P”) upgraded the City’s water and sewer utility revenue bonds to AA with a Stable Outlook.  With this upgrade, the City is the highest rated utility provider in Pierce County.  This upgrade was in conjunction with the City’s sale of $8.6 million of refunding bonds.  The City received nearly $700,000 in net present value savings over the term of the bonds.  This upgrade also positively affects any potential future bond sales, and the ability of the city to lock-in low tax-exempt rates.

On Tuesday, September 3rd at 5:00 p.m., the Gig Harbor Evening Rotary will be hosting the two candidates for City Council position #5 at Heron’s Key. Robyn Denson and Michelle Matheson will be attending. This event will be open for the public to get a chance to hear what the candidates have to say. The League of Women Voters will also be holding a forum for the Council candidates on October 7th at 6:00 p.m.

Have an excellent Labor Day weekend!

Cheers,

Kit


Aug 01

Mayor's Update - August 1, 2019

Posted on August 1, 2019 at 5:13 PM by Joshua Stecker

This Friday, August 2nd, is our last Family Fun Movie Night. We will be featuring “Sgt. Stubby” at dusk, approximately 8:30pm. The evening is pet friendly. We will also be presenting a certificate of appreciation to Mud Bay for providing waste pick up bags at 24 locations throughout Gig Harbor. This is a generous donation of over $3,456 that provides bag service to our community that helps keep Gig Harbor safe and sanitary.
They supply over 120 bags per month at 24 locations. Thank-you, Mud Bay!

We have had great bands down at Skansie Park and Tuesday the 6th is National Night Out. Join us for this community block party starting at 5:00. At 6:30 the band Funaddicts will play until 8pm. The street will be blocked off at 3 p.m. for the event so we are allowing people to set up their chairs on the lawn at 1:00 instead of the usual 3:00. Please come and celebrate with our community. The Police Department is sponsoring this event to promote crime prevention awareness.

Moving forward onto city business, the council has approved an agreement in which we have accepted the resignation of Mr. Farris as City Administrator. On behalf of the City, I want to thank Mr. Farris for his service and dedication. This agreement is in the best interest of the City of Gig Harbor and Mr. Farris with no fault by either party.

Over the next few months, we will be conducting a search to find a new City Administrator. During this transition period, it is our priority to find the best individual to lead while still maintaining a stable and effective City administration.

I would like to welcome some new employees to our city and some promotions:

  • •Brienn Ellis – Engr Tech P.W. Stormwater. She is coming from the Dept. of Ecology
  • David Boyer – Building Inspector who moved from California to join us.
  • Kimberly Mahoney - Associate Planner who came from the Port of Tacoma
  • Michael Simmons - GIS Coordinator who was local prior to joining us.
  • Matthew Bonsib was appointed as the City’s newest Police Officer this month.
  • Officer Jeff Martineau received a promotion to Sergeant.
  • Chuck Roy was promoted to Senior Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator after Norine Alvarado retired. Thank you, Norine, for all your years of service.

At our July 8th Council Meeting, Council approved a contract with Guy Capoeman to design and install an Honor Symbol at Austin Estuary Park. The sculpture, titled “Our Fisherman, Our Guardian,” will stand at the edge of the park overlooking the estuary as a tribute to the native Puyallup Tribe of Indians. Thanks to the Gig Harbor Kiwanis for their generous donation to make this project happen.

The Council and citizens have been reviewing all the options for the intersection at Harborview and Stinson. This week they met and directed staff to prepare a resolution to put in a pole-mounted traffic light at the intersection. They will vote to make this the official plan at the August 12th Council meeting so that staff can meet the grant application deadline.

Council and staff will be working to develop an Arts Element for the City’s Comprehensive Plan. This will help give the City direction to making Gig Harbor a destination for artists and arts supporters. Supporting the arts is also a great way to boost the City’s economy.

At our Council Meeting on July 22nd Council passed a Resolution requiring City staff to request that all union negotiations happen in public to the greatest extent feasible and allowable by law. Gig Harbor is the first Washington City to pass a resolution like this. The unions do not have to agree to this request and if they don’t want to, negotiations will happen in private like they always have.

Also, at this Council Meeting there was much discussion about the kayaker’s storage in Skansie Park. Some council and mayor wished to have the amount of storage raised. It was decided by council to give the kayak team notice to comply with the 1000sq. ft. of the lease or be given 90 days’ notice. Also, an ad hoc committee made up of mayor and three council members was established to try to work towards a solution for the floating dock which is in the plans to be built at Ancich Park.

This coming Tuesday the 6th of August will be Coffee with Kit at Kimball Coffeehouse at 7am. Please join me to find out more about our city or have a chance to ask me questions.

Enjoy your August.

Cheers,
Kit

Jul 05

Mayor's Update - July 5, 2019

Posted on July 5, 2019 at 3:17 PM by Joshua Stecker

The City has recently received several inquiries about the City Administrator being placed on administrative leave. We understand our citizens would like more information regarding the circumstances, but at this time we need to make sure we are following the proper process. We are not trying to withhold information from anyone and we are willing to disclose all the information we can, but we must respect Mr. Farris’ rights in this matter.