City Administrator Report
After 7 months, I’m happy to say we finally have found a new City Administrator. Wade Farris, who is running the City of Othello and is a retired 2-star Air Force General, will be starting here on August 9th. I have shared my goals and vision with Wade and he’s excited to work with Council and myself to implement these. His calm leadership skills and past military and city administrator experience gives me the proven management I was looking for. On Monday Council approved the terms of his contract.
The first four months of this year have been a tremendous amount of work with Dave Rodenbach and myself sharing the responsibilities of City Administrator. In May we brought in Tony Piasecki as an interim City Administrator. I have been thrilled with Tony and all the help he has given us through this transition time. Tony has been very helpful guiding the City and the Council. He has helped me a great deal with the day-to-day operation that was so badly needed. Tony will be overlapping for about a week and I thank him for his help.
Transportation Benefit District (TBD) Proposed 2/10ths of a percent Sales Tax Increase
We know that we need to fund more infrastructure for roads and traffic. Impact fees cannot do it alone. A lot of what is being built was approved in 2006. Therefore, on Monday night Council approved the creation of a Transportation Benefit District (TBD). This allows the City to put forward a ballot measure to the citizens this fall to approve a .02% sales tax increase.
If approved this would raise sales tax in Gig Harbor from 8.5% to 8.7% starting in January 2019. This tax would expire in 10 years. This would result in an extra 2 cents per $10. This would bring in as much as $16 million over this period of time. This money would be available to be used for road construction projects, some of which have been waiting for years for funding. This would only be for roads and traffic, not maintenance, bike lanes, curbs, etc. That would come from other sources. We have very strict rules we are adopting so that it is only used to relive traffic and road congestion. This will benefit everyone who comes to our City and the citizens, but the citizens would only have to pay roughly 20% because of the other visitors and shoppers from outlying areas that would help support the tax. As much as 80% of the sales tax we collect comes from people who don’t live here but come here to shop. These shoppers put additional stress on our roads and this is a way for them to help pay their share of our transportation improvement needs. We could have done a 1% increase without the voters but we wanted the citizens to have a say and help support our decisions.
I’d like to start out by saying thank you to our Public Works Department who are responsible for our parks and streets maintenance. Though I’m proud of all of our departments, I’ve had a lot of calls that the citizens and community are pleased with how our parks look. I myself have witnessed the care that they have given our City.
Many goals are happening this summer in our parks:
- The Sports Complex is in its final design. We are looking forward to working with our partners like the YMCA and our sports clubs, but you will not have to join a group to benefit from this park. Council will vote on approving the Sports Complex Master Plan on July 23rd.
- Ancich Park will be pouring the roof and the sidewalks this month. We are working with the kayak team to help them figure out their dock that they have to pay for.
- Eddon Brick House will be getting demo’d inside very soon so we can proceed in finishing this historic house to be a recreational hall.
- Crescent Creek Park – we are hoping to add two new temporary sand volleyball courts by the Masonic Lodge. This will be until funding is available for them to become permanent. This will create 4 courts total.
- Our new park at Soundview and Harborview (Haub Property) will have three cleanup days scheduled: July 28, August 25, and September 22 from 9am to noon. I would like to thank George Pollitt, who (with my ok) has already single-handedly cut the ivy that was hurting the trees. There will still be much to do so please show up.
We continue to help our food bank FISH raise money for the property which we hope to give or lease to them for their new food bank. At our concert in Skansie Park Tuesday night I went around collecting donations for them and in 35 minutes our community gave $1,790! And the Beatniks were an awesome concert to dance and listen to.
We are working hard to support all of our important community organizations. These groups are an important part of our culture and community.