Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert said the city accomplished a lot in 2018 and is ready for transportation and public safety projects for the upcoming year.
Tolbert was happy with the number of local organizations and communities city officials worked with.
“I think the outstanding amount of teamwork to move our priorities forward is what I’m most proud of,” she said.
The business community participated in the Smokey Point Business Committee to discuss safety around Smokey Point with both Arlington and Marysville police.
Local businesses also helped get the city nominated for the reality TV show Small Business Revolution: Main Street, and they are currently one of the 10 candidates remaining.
The Marysville and Arlington communities worked together on the Arlington Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center plan.
“That makes sure that as that land develops, it develops in a way that makes sense with roads that connect from our city side to roads on their city side,” said Tolbert.
The city also saw a nice increase in economic activity, said Tolbert, who added Arlington has seen an increase of around 3,000 jobs over the last few years.
That’s important to keep people away from long commutes and also to improve economic equity in the town, said Tolbert.
“One in three households in Arlington struggle to make ends meet, even if they aren’t below the federal poverty cost of living,” she said.
“If we want to have a culturally connected city we have to make sure our neighborhoods are strong,” she said.
This year local police worked with embedded social workers so that officers could push harder for solutions besides jailing homeless individuals dealing with addiction issues.
“That wasn’t really helping anyway and the jails weren’t really accepting them,” said Tolbert. “We now have a plan and a direction to go to get people out of that lifestyle."
An ambulance utility fee was passed by the city council that will fully fund the fire department’s emergency response and allow other funds to expand the police department.
“I was really pleased through the budget process that the council agreed to expand the police department and fire department,” said Tolbert.
Two more positions are scheduled for the police department in 2019. Three positions for the fire department were scheduled for 2021, “but we got a grant that allows us to start them two years earlier,” said Tolbert.
“I think as the city grows we have to pay attention to growing the services that will come with it,” she said.
“Every city has seen increasing use of EMS services. It’s harder and harder on the staff and I think this will be great,” she said.
Transportation projects are also scheduled to get off the ground in 2019.
“I’m happy our staff landed the grant to put the roundabout in [at 204th Street] … often infrastructure follows growth so staff pushed hard to make sure we could design and build that this year,” said Tolbert.
In addition, 172nd Street will be expanded with additional lanes soon and the design work is beginning for that. “To add two more lanes should really ease the congestion there,” said Tolbert.
The construction is expected to begin in 2020.
“It’s hard for people to understand that we acquired the funding but it didn’t start until five years later,” said Tolbert.
Although it may be difficult for people driving through Smokey Point while being constructed, Tolbert said the extra lanes will help relieve traffic once completed.
“Like anything that goes under construction it will be challenging for people who go through there on a regular basis,” she said.