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Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring talks with Marysville’s safety and risk manager Will Stuflick on Jan. 7.

 

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring sat down with the North County Outlook to talk about the city’s 2021 accomplishments.

The city stayed on track for many of their big construction goals last year, such as the new Civic Campus.

“We’ve been getting a lot of projects done, even among some of the supply chain issues and COVID still being a reality,” said Nehring.

The expansion of the culvert area of State Avenue, from 100th Street to 104th Street, made a good deal of progress.

“It’s not completed yet but a lot of the difficult work is done and we were able to keep that on track,” said Nehring.

Marysville has also dealt with the retirement of many of their major department heads over the last two years, including the directors of the parks, utilities and community development departments, as well as the retirement of their police chief.

“It was basically a turnover of our entire director team,” said Nehring. “We knew those retirements were coming and were actually able to put them off for a few years."

The city looked outside to fill a few of those positions, such as the chief of police, and promoted from within for others, such as the city’s Parks, Culture and Recreation Department director.

“That type of transition is always critical for a city,” said Nehring, who added you can lose a lot of experience and institutional knowledge, but added that the new directors are filling their roles well so far.

Nehring noted a number of challenges for the police in 2021.

“There’s a lot of things that have been put in place that have made it more difficult to do proactive policing,” he said. “We’re still doing the best we can with that but some of that has been limited."

Embedded social workers, along with new mental health workers are still part of the city’s strategy to help individuals get out from under addiction issues.

COVID-19 continued to challenge the city in new ways.

“Supply chain issues affect us like they also affect the private sector,” said Nehring.

Planning for the future gets more complicated with uncertainty in availability and cost.

“It makes it difficult to budget for our future,” said Nehring.

The biggest effects of the pandemic came in 2020, said Nehring.

“It was an underlying issue with certain things, but I think 2020 was really the heavy wave of impact with closures. We moved beyond that a little bit,” he said.

In 2022 Nehring expects the largest challenge for the city to be the economy.

“It’s the strangest economy I’ve seen, certainly in my time as mayor but really in my professional life,” he said. “We have a situation where there’s a lot of demand but there’s not a lot of supply and there’s a worker shortage."

The city has many open job positions right now and the labor shortage effects their ability to fill those openings. That inevitably causes a delay in the work the city wants to do.

Nehring said a number of projects are still scheduled for the city though.

“I’m also excited to hopefully see the groundbreaking on the new interchange,” he said.

The long-planned interchange at I-5 and SR-529 would add a new route into Marysville and is currently planned to begin later in the year.

“I am a little concerned because the state, who are the lead agency, notified me that they did not receive any bidders within the bid amount,” said Nehring. “Due to a labor shortage no one bid with the amount they put out there."

Washington state will need to find a contractor for the project within the budget for it to proceed.

“I’m still hopeful that will happen,” said Nehring.

Marysville’s new Civic Campus will provide a new building for all the city’s major departments, including for police, jails, courts and administrative offices.

“And it’s not just the building. I think people are going to be excited about the outside amenities available,” said Nehring.

The area around Comeford Park is being redesigned to become a public downtown hub.

“It’s a community asset. It will be an incredible gathering place for our community,” said Nehring.

Recreation projects such as trail extensions are planned for 2022.

“I’m also excited to see some of the smaller projects such as the pickleball courts up in Jennings Park,” said Nehring.

There are a number of people who have requested the courts over the last couple of years.

“We have an active pickleball community and this thing is going to get a ton of use,” said Nehring.

“If you go down to Cedarcrest Middle School in spring or summer you’ll see a ton of people playing pickleball in just a makeshift court that they have made,” he added.

Through the COVID pandemic Nehring said the city’s main goals are still to provide necessary services while making progress on larger plans.

“We’ve always made it our goal to deliver all the essential services of government and move forward with our projects,” he said.

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