Cities Reopen

Gen Geddes, right, talks with Marysville front desk worker Rosa Deluna on July 16.

 

After being closed for more than a year because of the pandemic, both Marysville and Arlington city offices are now open to the public, and city council meetings will return to in-person.

Some COVID-19 safety measures will remain for offices in both cities.

“In some of the smaller lobbies we’re still asking people to socially distance,” said Connie Mennie, communications administrator with the city of Marysville.

She said they may ask people to wait outside if too many people are there.

“Social distancing and the state requirement to use a mask if you’re not vaccinated remain in place,” said Sarah Lopez, community engagement director with the city of Arlington. “We have dispensers with hand sanitizer still out in our lobby, as well."

Both cities had online bill payment options before the pandemic and those options will continue to be available.

“We’re still offering all of our online options for bill payment,” said Lopez.

Online bill pay received a lot more use in Arlington and Marysville throughout the pandemic than before it.

“Customers have really engaged with the online payment system more because of the pandemic,” said Lopez.

“A lot more people started using the online payment options than had in the past,” said Mennie.

Other online capabilities also improved, such as efforts to provide city council meetings online.

“I think in the time of the pandemic we learned that there are a lot of people out there who would prefer online options to pay their bills, watch the city council or attend the mayor’s coffee klatches,” said Mennie.

Marysville’s coffee klatches are casual community conversations between the mayor and community members that typically happen every couple of months.

“There were more attendees online than what we had with the in-person meetings traditionally,” said Mennie.

Those virtual coffee klatches may continue in some capacity.

“We’re working out the details of what we want to do for the future,” said Mennie. “We might alternate between live and virtual events or we could hold in-person events with the option to watch and participate online."

Providing online access to Marysville City Council meetings has also been used to increase government transparency.

“We have made the decision for the next three meetings that they will be available online,” said Mennie.

The Marysville City Council traditionally does not meet in August, so that policy will continue into September.

After those meetings, Mennie said city staff will see if people are watching those meetings online and if they will continue.

Arlington’s City Council meetings have also been broadcast online, as well as posted onto the city’s YouTube page.

Even with in-person council meetings, Lopez said that will continue.

“We have video set up now in the council chambers,” she said.

In addition to online access, city council meetings will also be broadcast on the city’s channel, which is channel 21 for Comcast subscribers.

Lopez said she hopes these continued distance options help the community.

“Hopefully, the online options are more convenient for people,” she said.

She said city staff was glad to have the offices to the public open again.

“We’re happy to be able to open again and see our regulars,” she said.

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