As state restrictions have begun to ease, allowing our community to move toward being fully reopened, I’m pleased that all city buildings are once again open to the public. It has been great as well to see our families once again be able to enjoy our spray park that has been back open since Memorial Day weekend. We are also pleased to be able to begin offering more events and activities that have been popular with so many in our community over the years.
For nearly a year and a half now, city staff have remained hard at work throughout the pandemic. In many cases they were challenged to reimagine how to deliver city services safely within state and federal guidelines; then they restructured internal processes to meet that challenge.
As you may have also experienced, meetings simply changed. Nearly everything moved online as virtual meetings became the norm for City Council as well as in the workplace and in conversations with community partners.
Over the past year, many people have found it more convenient to access city services online at www.marysvillewa.gov. Nearly all building permit activity took place online or by phone. While some assumed that permitting would be drastically reduced because of economic impacts of the recession, city staff processed only 12% fewer permits in 2020 (5,073) than they did in 2019 (5,757).
City workers continued to clean and maintain streets and city parks. Because of pandemic regulations about distancing, city workers were no longer able to share vehicles or work side by side. They adjusted routines and continued to collect garbage and clean and maintain streets, city parks, and water and sewer services.
City parks, trails and Cedarcrest Golf Course offered bright spots as residents and visitors sought respite and recreation outdoors. Even after a 40-day closure period last spring, Cedarcrest had a record-setting year in 2020 with a 22% increase in revenues over 2019. When we couldn’t accommodate the usual large crowds due to pandemic regulations, city staff reimagined programs and events. We relocated the 4th of July fireworks show to make it more visible to a larger number of Marysville residents. At Christmas, a holiday lighting contest and self-guided tour map also proved very popular.
On the law and justice side, Police continued to serve Marysville residents 24/7 and have done an amazing job protecting our community. Marysville Municipal Court moved to nearly all online hearings last year, and now is gradually adding back more in-person court calendars.
Thanks to the hard work of our Information Services staff and the adaptability of city employees, what seemed difficult last year is now more routine in regards to conducting day-to-day city business. Along with experiencing some difficulties, we have also discovered some advantages; it is easier for many people to tune into an online meeting than to attend a physical one, for example. We are now experimenting with hybrid meeting models to offer residents a choice when possible. In general, we will continue to strive to provide excellent customer service while performing all essential services that you rightly expect from your city government in as efficient a manner as possible.
Jon Nehring has been Mayor of Marysville since 2010. You can reach him at 360-363-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.