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.

Cheers,
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!

Feb 14

Mayor's Update February 14, 2018

Posted on February 14, 2018 at 5:36 PM by Shawna Wise

February 14, 2018

On February 12, 2018, the City Council passed Ordinance 1383 declaring an immediate six-month moratorium on the acceptance of certain residential development applications.  At a January 31st council worksession, many councilmembers expressed the need for a moratorium.  It started with several councilmembers wanting a complete moratorium.  As Mayor, I tried to pinpoint where their concerns were so there would not be broad repercussions.  As a result, the moratorium was narrowed down to only include residential development. This exempted the following:

- Permits for one single-family home on an existing recorded lot

- Permits for  repair, restoration, refurbishment, replacement and remodels of existing residential dwellings

- Permits for additions to single-family homes 

- Permits for accessory uses and structures

- Boundary line adjustments

It also excludes vested homes and projects that already have a complete application filed. Presently, there are 1200 homes that can be built under this category.

We were the fastest growing city in Pierce County in 2017.  There is a need for responsible growth. I have tried to guide the council forward to make decisions.  As Mayor, I do not even vote unless there is a tie.  Council passed this ordinance 6-1. 

Our city prides itself on transparency.  A moratorium is used under emergency measures and is not something that is widely publicized prior to enacting.

By law, we have to allow public comment within 60 days of the moratorium.  We are not going to wait that long to hear the citizens voice.  At the March 26, 2018 City Council meeting, there will be a public hearing on the ordinance and we will take public testimony.  I encourage anyone who wishes to speak on this topic to attend the meeting so that Councilmembers can listen to your views. After the public hearing, the Council may continue, modify, or repeal the moratorium. If continued, a work plan will also be adopted.

As Mayor of Gig Harbor, I feel I represent not only the 10,000 citizens that live in our city limits, but the other 55,000 that surround our city and call Gig Harbor home.  They all work here, shop here, play here.  

My goals as Mayor are:

1. Transparent Government and respect for citizens.  Provide accurate communication to and from our citizens.

2.  Preserve the Character and culture of our Maritime city and strengthen our downtown business district. 

3.  Protect Our Environment. Protecting our beautiful bay, natural evergreens, and spectacular mountain views.

4.  Responsible Growth.  Have infrastructure concurrent to development to create a vibrant city while maintaining our small-town feel.

Cheers,
Mayor Kit Kuhn