Jan 02

Mayor's Update - January 2, 2020

Posted on January 2, 2020 at 2:42 PM by Joshua Stecker

Happy New Year to all! I hope all of our Gig Harbor residents have a happy and healthy 2020.


Cheers,


Kit


Dec 18

Mayor's Update - December 18, 2019

Posted on December 18, 2019 at 5:03 PM by Joshua Stecker

Happy holidays to all! Gig Harbor is a special place to spend the holiday season and I hope that all of our citizens are enjoying all that our City has to offer.

On Saturday, December 7th, we held the City’s annual tree lighting ceremony. Santa arrived by fire truck and greeted all the kids while the Skansie Netshed provided hot chocolate for everyone.

Its also a season of change for the City. Councilmembers Ken Malich, Michael Perrow and Spencer Hutchins are wrapping up their terms. A reception was held honoring these councilmembers for their service before the December 19th Council Meeting. Their contributions to the City will be felt for years to come and I thank them for their dedication.

We will be welcoming new Councilmembers Tracie Markley, Robyn Denson and Le Rodenberg at a special reception at 4:45 on January 13th, right before the Council Meeting. This is a great chance to come and meet your newest representatives. It will also be an opportunity to meet our new City Administrator, Bob Larson. Bob officially starts on January 6th and I am looking forward to the experience he can bring to us.

Once we have our new City Administrator on board, we will begin filling some key positions. We are already collecting applications for a new Tourism & Communication Director and IT Manager and we plan to start recruiting for an in-house City Attorney in March. I’d like to thank our HR staff for all their hard work in helping keep us at full staff.

A couple weeks ago I gave Chief Busey permission to start the process to add two more police officers to our Police force. This will bring our Police back up to full strength so they can do their vitally important job of keeping our City safe.

The City Council adopted the 2020 Budget on November 25th. The new budget is a good balance of providing for the City’s needs while also saving enough to make sure we are in a good place in the future. In past years the city managed to save about $80,000 and $50,000 annually in the Strategic Reserve and Equipment Reserve funds respectively. The 2020 budget not only carried these contributions forward, but also contributes another $1,000,000 which was achieved through disciplined budgeting.

One of the key discussions in the budget was how to proceed with the floats at Ancich Waterfront Park. Council decided to move forward with the plan to construct a float for human powered watercraft off of Ancich Pier but agreed that a feasibility study needs to be completed first on the eventual construction of a Fisherman’s Home Port. Staff has already kicked off the process of conducting the feasibility study and we hope to get the float project underway soon.

There is a new piece of art in Grandview Forest Park thanks to a grant from the City’s Arts Commission. Local artist George Kinney has transformed one of the large tree stumps near the restrooms with his chainsaw carving. Stop by and take a look at it.

Council has been busy revising the Municipal Code on developments. Chapter 19.08 which allowed the City to consider and enter into development agreements was repealed in its entirety. Council also approved an Ordinance which set subdivision minimum lot sizes at 7,500 square feet in the R-1 zone, 5,800 square feet in the R-2 zone, and 4,400 square feet in the R-3 zone. An additional Ordinance was passed that prohibits new Planned Residential Developments after 2019. These changes were all made to help preserve the character and small town feel of Gig Harbor.

City Public Works/Engineering division staff prepared and submitted two grant applications, for two City Street improvement projects, to the Washington State Transportation Board (TIB) in August 2019, and on November 22, 2019, the TIB awarded the City both grants. TIB awarded $459,400 for the construction of the Stinson Avenue/Rosedale Street Roundabout, and $816,000 for the construction of the Stinson Ave/Harborview Dr Intersection improvements.  The TIB grant application and award process is where Municipal agencies within the State submit grant requests in an effort to compete for State gas tax dollars to help fund local transportation projects based upon the needs, merit, and value of the projects to improve the mobility, safety and function of transportation and pedestrian facilities within the region. Congratulations and Thank You to the Public Works/Engineering Division staff for all their hard work in preparing these grant applications and for their success in obtaining these grants! Construction of these road improvements will start July of 2020.

Peninsula School District is placing a renewal of their Educational Programs and Operation Levy on the February 11th ballot. Dr. Art Jarvis, Superintendent of the District, came to a Council Meeting to educate citizens about the need for the levy renewal. Council unanimously voted to issue a Resolution in support. This levy doesn’t increase any property taxes. It just renews the taxes that you are already paying to fund the salaries and maintenance costs of the District.

Council has authorized an agreement with Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One (Pierce County Fire District No. 5) to have the District conduct the City’s fire inspections for local businesses. This agreement has been in negotiations for over a year and is awaiting final approval by the District Board.

Again, I am excited to have Bob Larson as our new City Administrator start on January 6th.

I hope that each of you have a wonderful holiday season surrounded by family and friends!

Cheers,

Kit


Nov 19

A Note from the Mayor - November 18, 2019

Posted on November 19, 2019 at 9:24 AM by Molly Towslee

The holiday seasons are near, and the end of 2019 is rapidly approaching. I am happy to announce that our City Council has approved the contract for our new City Administrator, Bob Larson. We are excited and eagerly anticipating welcoming Bob to our team, who will officially start on January 6, 2020. Bob is presently and has been the City Administrator of Snoqualmie for approximately 15 years. He comes to us with over 20 years of City Manager/City Administrator experience in both Washington and Minnesota. We are excited to welcome Bob who will come support our council, staff, community and myself as we move towards fulfilling the needs of our city.  I have spent many hours with Bob getting to know him. He is supportive of our vision and mission and is eager to start a new chapter of his life with our city.

We are sad that many long-term employees are retiring, but we are excited for their new adventures. I’d like to thank Marline McClane and Kay Johnson for their commitment of serving our community. Marline has touched so many of our hearts in the past 29 years, and we are happy that she still wants to be connected to our city through volunteering. Kay has served all departments as our Information Systems Manager for over 21 years, and her contributions have made our communications to our citizens run smoothly. Thank you both for your longstanding commitment to Gig Harbor.

We are pleased to welcome two new employees who have recently joined our team. Kerri Rowan brings over 14 years of experience from the City of Auburn Police and is now serving as our Police Service Specialist. Tressa Smith brings several years of experience where she worked as a Legal Assistant and Deputy Clerk in Wisconsin and is now serving as our Court Clerk. Please say “hello” and welcome both Kerri and Tressa to our team.

We would like to thank Mimi Jansen and Diane Bertram for their dedicated contributions to our Tourism and Communications Department. Mimi has been the Interim Communications and Tourism Manager for almost a year. She accepted the challenge and jumped right in when the city needed help, and we are so honored to have her temporarily fill that role. We would also like to thank Diane who worked part-time behind the scenes to aid in the department’s success.

We would also like to congratulate and welcome our new City Councilmembers Robyn Denson, Le Rodenberg and Tracie Markley. Tracie will be sworn in on November 26, 2019 at 3:30 PM and on January 13, 2020, all three councilmembers will be sworn in to take the Oath of Office. On December 9, 2019, we will be honoring three outgoing councilmembers Ken Malich, Michael Perrow and Spencer Hutchins. A reception will be at 4:45 PM prior to their last council meeting that evening at 5:30 PM. I’d like to encourage the public to attend these events, thanking some for their service to our community and welcoming others. We have been hearing that the traffic is a major problem in our city and now our citizens have passed the Transportation Benefit District “TBD” Proposition #1 to help fund solutions. This allows our city to raise the sales tax two tenths of a percent to 8.7% for our road improvements. This will only amount to 20 cents per $100 and will remain one of the lowest sales taxes within the Puget Sound Region. This will allow our city to raise roughly $16 million over the next 10 years for new construction of roads and traffic improvements. It is not for maintenance, sidewalks or curbs, that will be funded in other ways. The city will also now be in a better position to obtain matching grant opportunities that come our way. This will benefit everyone that enters our city, yet only a small portion will have to be paid for by our citizens.

At the last two council meetings, Councilmembers worked on Ordinances that deal with Recreation Halls in our Waterfront Zone, Minimum Lot Size, Development Agreements and our 2020 Gig Harbor City Budget. We will still be finalizing the budget at our next council meeting on November 25, 2019.

On Veterans Day I was fortunate enough to be in our Nation’s Capital on a personal vacation. I walked through the Smithsonian Museum, the American History Museum and through many of the monuments honoring our men and women who fought for our country. Many never came home or were wounded and were never the same. Without each of them, and many more at home supporting their efforts, we would not be here today. Thank you to all of our veterans for your sacrifice and for allowing us the freedoms we enjoy.

Kit Kuhn