This past year at the City has been busy, exciting, and filled with accomplishments. I am proud to share just a few of these accomplishments in some of our key focus areas.

In economic development, the City achieved a milestone 10 years in the making with the regional designation for the long-established Cascade Industrial Center. This designation opens doors for the city to access grants for infrastructure that were not available before. We have already started to see the results of this, with new employers opening facilities, providing family wage jobs for our residents and reducing the need to travel outside of the area for work.

In public safety, we achieved a reduction in reported crimes, especially in the area of property crimes. We have seen steady use of our Law Enforcement Embedded Social Worker program, which engages the homeless and opioid addicted with services with the goals of these individuals once again being productive members of society. In 2019, we have made 588 total contacts, obtained housing for 37 people, enrolled 41 in treatment, with 15 completing that treatment. We established a new way of handling domestic violence cases, providing more interaction and services to victims with the goal of reducing the number of cases with the same involved parties. At Arlington Fire, we focused on examining the opportunities for partnerships with our neighbors to the north at North County Regional Fire Authority. These conversations netted the sharing of three positions between the two agencies. It also allowed us to introduce a new program to help reduce the number of repeat transports to local emergency rooms: the Community Resource Paramedic program. Finally, we increased staffing in both Police and Fire Departments to maintain response times.

On the transportation front, we developed and adopted a 20-year transportation improvement plan to help smooth future congestion and provide safety to all the users. This plan was developed by overlaying where growth and development is likely to occur or occurring, targets congestion and safety issues, and folding in our plan for Complete Streets plan to connect neighborhoods with different types of transportation in mind. We also spent 2019 designing key projects such as the new roundabouts at 77th Ave NE and 204th St NE and SR-530 and Smokey Point Blvd, which are anticipated to be constructed in 2020.

Fiscal management continued to be a focus for City Council, the City staff and me. Our updated financial policies and continued growth in reserves resulted in a bond rating upgrade. The City also paid off equipment debt six years early, resulting in a savings of approximately $100,000 in interest costs. Because of the focus on fiscal sustainability, our utility rates have not increased for seven years and the City did not increase property tax rates for 2020. At the same time, our staff aggressively pursued grants for future planning, construction of streets and other infrastructure, and increased staffing. In addition, for the third year in a row, the City received a clean audit.

The City also invested in our curbside appeal in 2019, with the completion of improvements to a number of City amenities. The terraces at Terrace Park received a facelift. The Splash Pad at Haller Park opened, along with new concessions in the park. We implemented a new online shelter reservation system for Haller Park and Hadley Hall to make it easier for our residents to reserve City facilities. The City updated the City-owned Merchants Parking lot with new storm drainage, pavement, and parking markings. The Community Garden was relocated to the corner of 3rd Street and French Avenue, with an expanded space for residents and our students to tend. In partnership with the Arlington Arts Council, we saw new public art installed. The City Council adopted a more consistent stream of funding for the acquisition and maintenance of public art in Arlington. Beautification projects were completed, including new lighting on the trees on Olympic Avenue and the installation of artistic bike racks that were created by Arlington High School students. Finally, our staff constructed a temporary lot for parking at the Arlington Library.

As we look to the New Year, we look forward not only as individuals, but collectively as members of this wonderful community to meeting the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead of us. Our staff is already busy preparing for the plans, projects, and programs that will be accomplished in 2020 and beyond. Together, we have accomplished much, and still have much more to do. I hope you will take the time to participate in your local government as we continue planning for our city's future. As long as we can continue planning ahead with our residents and businesses, we can ensure that we will build the best city possible for Arlington.

You make me proud to be Mayor of Arlington and I am sincerely honored to continue to serve you.

 

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