Mayor covers variety of topics including COVID, budget and development during Nov. 9 coffee klatch
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring talked about COVID-19, the city's new budget and future development during his most recent virtual coffee klatch on Nov. 9.
City officials try to provide public meetings for the community to ask questions of public officials every couple of months, although because of COVID-19 the last three such meetings have been held online.
One of the issues Nehring talked about was the city's recently passed two-year budget.
"It was a rollover budget. We didn't do a whole lot new," he said. "There were a number of plans we discussed with the City Council in February, before the pandemic hit, but we thought it would be prudent to take care of the essentials right now."
The pandemic is creating uncertainty regarding incoming tax dollars, and so the city passed a budget that continues current projects and staff without anything new.
"We believe at some point we'll be able to go back to the City Council and ask for some budget amendments," particularly if the economy bounces back, said Nehring.
COVID-19 cases have shot up in Marysville, said Nehring.
"I don't think it's a secret to anybody that COVID cases are climbing rapidly throughout the nation, and the world," he said.
The city's rate is now well above the county's rate and they saw 75 cases in the first week of November according to Nehring, which broke the city's record of 49 cases in a week.
"We're at a crucial stage here where we are asking people to do everything they can to help get these numbers back down to where they're manageable," said Nehring.
He acknowledged the amount of sacrifice that people have been making this year.
"I know folks are weary, I'm weary, we're all tired of this," said Nehring.
Because of the continuing pandemic the city's holiday events have been canceled said Nehring, including the Tour of Lights and the Merrysville for the Holidays parade.
"We are trying to do some fun things but the Merrysville for the Holidays parade won't be a part of that, unfortunately," said Nehring.
There will be a virtual lighting of the tower.
"We have a Christmas lights contest and we're asking people to decorate their homes," said Nehring. A map of those homes will also be available so families can tour them if they wish.
Nehring also talked about development of many parts of the city.
"There's a number of things that we can see in our downtown I think," he said. "Unfortunately we're not in a good economic time to start new things."
One resident asked about mix-used development, which mixes business and residential spaces more than most development does.
"I think it's a great idea and I think it's something that Marysville is ready for," said Nehring. "We do have areas zoned for that and we try to recruit to that."
Some residents had concerns over the new owners of Glenwood Mobile Estates and worried if prices increase there the community could be dispersed.
"I hope they take into account the great residents there. There is a lot of people that have put in a lot of time to make that a great community," said Nehring.
He acknowledged the city has little power to interfere in the market in this case though.
"There's not a lot legally that the city can do to protect you," he said, although he noted that higher levels of government do have some powers if they wish to use them.
A number of transportation projects were also discussed, including the I-5 and SR-529 interchange that will provide a new route off of I-5 into downtown Marysville.
That interchange is expected to begin construction 2022 and be finished in 2023.
Because of state budget shortfalls the project could have been postponed. "We got a little scare when the state legislator told us they may need to delay that project," said Nehring, but the funding is still on track.
A train overcrossing at Grove Street is in the works, although only the design work is funded for that project, which was partially funded with state funds.
"That's a good sign because if the state helps to pay to design it a lot of times they'll pay to construct it," said Nehring.
Grove Street was identified as the best train overcrossing for the city because it wouldn't block access to businesses or other main roads like other projects would.
Sidewalks are still important for the city, said Nehring, and the city is working on sidewalks for roads without them.
"Every new area with construction in the city will have sidewalks," said Nehring, however some areas are older or were annexed in and didn't have those requirements, and therefore lack those new requirements.
"We try and prioritize the areas around schools," for sidewalks.
Nehring has held his last three coffee klatch events online as Facebook Live events and said the city may keep holding them online even after the pandemic is over.
"We're typically reaching well over 100 people here," said Nehring, when typically the in-person meetings drew about 20 to 30 residents.
"There are some things we're learning how to do during this difficult time that I think we'll keep doing," he said.