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A Note From Your Mayor

May 08

Mayor's Update May 4, 2018

Posted on May 8, 2018 at 9:32 AM by Karen Scott

May 4, 2018

Interim City Administrator  

Tony Piasecki began as Interim City Administrator on April 16th. He has hit the ground running at City Hall and has assisted me with several issues involving large matters, benefiting from his expertise. Tony has over 30 years of public service experience and over 15 years of experience as a City Manager with the City of Des Moines and Burien, WA. Together, Tony and I are working very well together and I know the staff are very appreciative of the knowledge he brings. He is helping me address the needs of staff and council and will help complete projects to the benefit of our citizens.  We continue to work with a recruitment company for the search for a permanent City Administrator. They will be conducting first round interviews over the next month.

New Hires at City Hall

We have worked hard to complete necessary positions to satisfy our growing needs. We have added a person for our Human Resources department which continues to be a very busy. On May 14th we will have a new Assistant Clerk, Josh Stecker. Josh is coming from Port Townsend where he is a Deputy Clerk presently. He has a tremendous amount of experience and we are looking forward to his arrival.

 In the past 30 days, we have hired several seasonal workers in Public Works, and we have hired two full time regular Public Works employees. We have completed our court staff needs to 3.5 FTEs from 2 but continue to search for a regular part-time court clerk. Our Tourism & Communications Department hired their administrative assistant, a part-time regular position. Also, we have an open position for a new police officer and are recruiting for that. As part of our recruitment, Human Resources hosted an employment fair at City Hall, with many other Gig Harbor businesses. We hope to make this fair an annual event.

Residential Moratorium

For the last two plus months, we have held public meetings, council meetings, and advisory meetings on the residential moratorium and changes we want to make to our codes. We have heard from many of our citizens and we are listening to what you say. It is loud and clear.  The council, staff and citizens advisory committee have been reviewing the zoning code to examine how to better manage growth, focusing on multi-family residential. We have broken our efforts into three groups of issues. The first group is mostly related to residential density.  We plan on having these code changes adopted in late May. The second group, related mostly to location of density, will be considered by the middle of July. The third group of larger impact issues will be worked on over the next 3 to 6 months.  At the May 14th City Council Meeting, we will consider two technical amendments to the moratorium ordinance and conduct a public hearing on the ordinance that address the first group of issues.

Haub Property

At the May 14th City Council Meeting we will decide on the purchase of the property. At this meeting we will be presenting a power point show casing the urban forest, the house, the land surrounding it and what the city will be getting from this sale. The appraisal for the Haub Property, the triangle property, has come back good. The arborist report showed a healthy forest.

It is fortunate that we can purchase this property, the property that is part of the gateway to our downtown. We will have the ability to provide open space in the heart of our community. This is a beautiful piece of property that will be a gem near the waterfront for years to come.

 Our plan continues to be keeping the forest property as raw land as it is written in the land sale purchase.  We hope the citizens come to council and voice their support because we need you, our citizens, to show the council how supportive you are. 

Sports Complex

We have received a lot of public input on the sports complex design. We are currently working through finalizing the design. We have made some improvements to the roads and layout of the fields. This design should be finalized by the end of May.

FISH Food Bank Property

Pierce Transit is proposing transferring two parcels of land along the west side of SR-16 to the City of Gig Harbor for a new FISH Food Bank and Community Services facility. The environmental report has come back good. We are proceeding forward to help them with the transfer. Right now, we are waiting for Pierce Transit to sign over the land and then council will look forward to approving it.


Mayor Kuhn

Apr 11

April 11, 2018 A Note From Mayor Kuhn

Posted on April 11, 2018 at 8:58 AM by Shawna Wise

I have been working as Mayor for 4 months now. As we know,  I let the past City Administrator go right away as I had a different direction where I felt the city should go. Dave Rodenbach has been acting as the Interim City Administrator and has been helpful,  but his main job has still been Finance Director.  Dave and I have been working closely on this role together to help guide the city. This has enabled me to learn how the city is functioning first hand.  However, it has also been a tremendous amount of work with many 12 -14 hour work days.  I feel we have made a lot of progress in helping the city move forward from its previous administration. We have made great changes and advancements and accomplished a lot.  But, there is still a lot of work to do.

We have the recruitment company in the process of searching for a permanent City Administrator, but this will take 4-6 months before that person will be hired and take office.

Shawna Wise, my Assistant City Clerk also will be leaving on the 20th of this month for a new chapter in her life, which will add more work to my plate. I appreciate all that Shawna has done and she will be greatly missed.

Therefore, I feel we need to hire an Interim City Administrator to be fully engaged to only that role. This will help with the workload for the 4 to 6 months until the permanent person will be hired. This will free Dave Rodenbach to go back to his role as Finance Director.

I have found an excellent Interim City Administrator and have been discussing his qualifications with each councilmember privately to assist me in this decision. Tony Piasecki is one of the best in the South Sound. He is a proven leader that possesses the expertise we need to help guide us through this transition period. Mr. Piasecki has over 30 years of public service experience and over 15 years of experience as a City Manager with the City of Des Moines and Burien, WA. I have gathered a lot of knowledge in assessing the way our city is run and have compiled a long list of projects we need to complete.  He will help me address the needs of staff and council and help complete projects to the benefit of our citizens.  In fact, we have saved over $70,000 by not filling this position to date.

On April 9th the council voted in favor of Mr. Piasecki’s contract and his will start April 16th. We all look forward to his expertise in helping to shape our city and work for the mission and vision that we have put forth.

Mayor Kuhn



Mar 09

March 9, 2018 Mayor Kuhn Has Posted to His Blog

Posted on March 9, 2018 at 12:06 PM by Shawna Wise

We’ve been busy trying to satisfy the needs of our community.

1. Our local food bank, FISH, has been looking for another location for their facility.  There was government land on Hunt St, to the east of TCC, that was waiting to be signed over to Pierce Transit.  Pierce Transit was willing to sign it over to the City once they owned it, but it had been stuck in the government process for over a year.  I met with Derek Kilmer and he was able to push it through just recently. In April, Pierce Transit’s Board will hopefully sign it over the City and then it will come before our City Council for adoption.  Once we own the land, we hope to partner with FISH and lease the site to them for a nominal fee.  FISH hopes to raise the funds for the future building. We are looking forward to this partnership with FISH.     

2. In 2017 the City purchased 11.4 acres north of YMCA for $3.5M, to be paid over 3 years, with the stipulation that it had to be developed as a park.  This property, in addition to other City-owned property adjacent to the YMCA, is part of a developing master sports complex plan. We have received $206,000 of state funding and this project remains one of the City’s top legislative priorities.  On March 6th, the City held a public meeting to hear the community’s desire for the park.   Lit turf fields received the most public interest and this vision will be included in the design concept.  This concept / master plan will be shared at future community meetings and we will continue to solicit public input.   The YMCA has expressed their desire to partner with the City for the development of the park and we are interested in hearing from all community groups for ways in which we can work together. This project will be done in phases.

3. Several months ago, I reached out to the Haub family, owners of the triangle property across from the Tides Tavern.   I explained to them how important it was to our citizens and the community to keep the entrance to the Gig Harbor bay a natural preserve.  They also saw the importance of this and were willing to discount the land for the City to move forward on a purchase, upon Council approval, to secure this crown gem for present and future generations. After two months of negotiations and positive conversations, I presented the purchase and sale agreement to Council.  Council voted in favor of the agreement at a public meeting on March 6th.  I feel the Haub’s will soon accept and sign the agreement.  The contract, which the Haub’s have seen, allows us to put only 25% down, $625,000, and pay the remainder over three years at low interest, the federal applicable rate by law.

This purchase is by no means completed.  There are stipulations that require public input, appraisal, environmental phase 1 studies, arborist reports, and due diligence.  This work will be done within the next 60 days with a hopeful close on this beautiful piece of land on May 31st.  It is also stipulated in the contract that we keep this as a nature preserve and not sell to a developer for profit. Our plan is not do to any capital improvements on this property for quite some time. We hope the citizens come to council and voice their support because we need you, our citizens, to show the council how supportive you are.  

By making this purchase we are not neglecting our other obligations. We are still here to solve the Public Works shop needs.  They have been patient and we must show them we are sensitive to their needs.  Also, our community is in dire need of lit fields and other outdoor amenities.  We are working hard to make this a reality so the community can have year-round sports.  There are many other needs within our community and we also need to be mindful of our finances.   The Council and City will be working hard to see where we can trim our budget to continue to help our community.

I look forward to updating you again soon.  Ask your friends to join my blog!