On the Mayor’s Mind 6.27.15

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Shoreline Mayor
Shari Winstead
On the Mayor’s Mind 6.27.15
By Shoreline Mayor Shari Winstead

What a world we live in!  This past week has been one of excitement, contemplation and busyness, but that’s not really unusual. With Council on break for the July 4 holiday, I’m happy to finally find a bit of quiet time to write, because there has been lots going on!

Last week, a few Councilmembers and I attended the Association of Washington Cities conference in Wenatchee. The conference was attended by over 450 councilmembers and mayors from cities in Washington. This being my sixth year on Council, it’s great to catch up with councilmembers I met years ago, who are still serving their city.

One of the things I enjoy about these conferences is hearing that many cities face the same challenges, and learning how they have dealt with these challenges. 
It’s also really great to hear that Shoreline is much better positioned financially than many other cities, who are still struggling from the “great recession”. 
Our strong financial position comes from great planning, finding efficiencies and making the appropriate cuts at the right times.  

One item that I know is of interest to many of us, and that I heard a lot about, is how cities are growing - from dealing with the legalities of the Growth Management Act to creating a vibrant downtown. It’s great to hear from cities who share these challenges and learn from their lessons of success. Of course every city is a bit different, but the courses and conversations at the conference are really helpful as we make policy decisions about the growth of Shoreline, and many other issues.

It is also very flattering to have other city leaders ask us for advice, because we have gained a reputation for doing things right in Shoreline!

Though the conference was just three days, I listened to many great speakers on topics such as creating a “main street” (a vibrant downtown area), supporting entrepreneurs, and leading cities through crisis (disasters). I also learned 60 of the best local government ideas in 60 minutes, toured a marijuana grow operation (talk about a tough way to make money - it’s harder and not as profitable as you think!).  Councilmenber McGlashan and I also took a historical walking tour of Wenatchee (in 99 degree heat!). 

Our very own Councilmember Will Hall gave a great presentation on “Everyday local actions to improve water quality.”

Councilmember Hall also serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Washington Cities. Having our Councilmembers serve in these key leadership positions helps to keep Shoreline well positioned to keep Washington cities strong, and is another example of the dedication of your Shoreline Councilmembers.

Prior to that busy week, the Council discussed the future of the Shoreline community pool. The pool was originally built in 1971 with “Forward Thrust” bonds, and is about at the end of its life. Last year we had an emergency (and very costly) replacement of the boiler. We know that the pool is used by many of our community members, whether it’s water aerobics, lap swimming, swimming lessons for the little kids or swim team and water polo for the high schoolers.

Council agreed that the pool is an important part of the community and directed staff to make the necessary improvements to extend the life of the pool another eight years or so.

In the next few years we will likely start discussions about a possible community center and the fate of the pool. So stay engaged! Read your Currents and visit the City’s website. We do our best to communicate in our effort to keep people engaged. Because it’s your Shoreline!

The other changes in our country over the past few days have been exciting. Seeing the confederate flag come down, the pride flag go up, and the validation of universal healthcare. It definitely gives you hope that our Country is progressing.

While change can be hard, the old way is not always the right way. I believe that change, done right (like creating housing density around accessible public transportation) is a good thing.

I hope you are enjoying your summer at one of our fabulous parks or Richmond Beach, and that you find some time to stop by the fabulous Shoreline Arts Festival!

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