Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring talked about public safety and infrastructure at his State of the City Address on Feb. 28.
Nehring said that public safety is one of the top priorities of residents in the city, and that last year the city saw a 7.58 percent decrease in reported crime.
“There’s a four or five year trend that is slowly trickling down,” he said, as the city’s statistics show a drop since 2014.
Burglaries were a big focus for the department, said Nehring, and they have decreased over the last couple of years.
Nehring said the credit goes to initiatives the police have undertaken such as the regional property crimes unit, which was a joint project between many local police agencies.
“Criminals don’t know boundaries … all they’re looking for is an easy place to commit crime,” said Nehring.
The city has been looking at ways to reduce the amount of homelessness and addiction as well.
“It’s not lost on anybody that we have a drug problem in this country, a serious opioid problem, and it exists in Marysville, although thankfully not to the level that Seattle or Tacoma has it,” said Nehring.
Last year was the beginning of the Embedded Social Worker program, which partners a social worker with a police officer to go out and build relationships with those suffering from drug addiction.
“Let’s offer them a way out of that lifestyle,” said Nehring.
Putting a social worker out there can be a more effective solution than simply arresting a homeless individual, said Nehring.
“Jailing those with addiction is a never-ending cycle that never really fixes the problem,” he said.
The program began in March but took a couple months to get running. Over the last year they got 46 individuals into a drug treatment program and secured housing for 50 individuals.
“Problems still exist. I’m not naive, but we are putting a dent in it,” said Nehring.
The city also made progress in forming a Regional Fire Authority, which would change the Marysville Fire District from a contracted service to different structure.
“That’s really something that needs to happen to properly finance and manage our fire services,” said Nehring.
“Most cities and entities are going to Regional Fire Authorities,” he added.
Expanding street infrastructure and jobs over the next few years is also important for the city, said Nehring.
“We know a lot of people with jobs are moving here and commuting, so we’ve got to provide local jobs and road infrastructure,” he said.
The Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center near Smokey Point is close to getting an official manufacturing industrial center designation, said Nehring.
“There’s only a handful throughout the Puget Sound … there’s a lot of resistance in Seattle and Tacoma who control most of them and they don’t want to designate another area so it would be a big deal,” said Nehring.
The designation would help bring attention and potentially money for infrastructure to the area.
That area has been saved by the Marysville City Council for a while in the hopes of attracting manufacturing jobs.
“We’ve had a lot of developers come in and want to turn this area into housing and we said ‘no, we have enough areas for housing and we need to preserve some area for a jobs base,’” said Nehring.
Upcoming street projects include a new interchange in south Marysville at SR-529 and I-5 and the design work for a over-crossing that would go above the trains at Grove Street.
An over-crossing at other places is not feasible due to the amount of property the city would have to buy, said Nehring.
“At Grove we don’t have to buy up any properties and would drop you right off by the Community Transit Park and Ride,” he said.
This is the second year that Nehring has delivered his State of the City to the public at the Marysville Opera House in addition to the Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce.
In past years he only gave the address at the chamber.