Mayor and Council Member
My focus on the Des Moines City Council has been to help the city realize its full potential. This involves new development in both the residential and commercial sectors. My support for this is and has been reflected in many areas.
Since being elected to the Council I have:
- Supported the streamlining of our permitting process; approved multiple Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) ... many of which were put on hold due to the economy, but which are now being built.
- Voted to support an ordinance that eliminated the requirement for the construction of frontage improvements (curb, gutter & sidewalk) for very small single family home projects
- Voted to provide for the payment of impact fees at the end of the construction process (in Des Moines' case, when a Certificate of Occupancy is issued).
- Voted to eliminate the City's no longer necessarily tough standard for windows replacement [they no long require independent testing].
- Supported numerous zoning changes to allow some previously approved projects to go forward (Blueberry Lane is an example)
Upon re-election I will:
- Continue to find ways to streamline our permitting system, and encourage the construction of single family homes for the growing number of people fleeing the expensive Seattle housing market.
- Continue to promote business development including the redevelopment of the Marina District supporting the desires of the community.
- Support issues that will improve our quality of life.
- Focus on our maturing the City’s emergency management preparedness.
- Continue to find new and effective ways to improve the communication between the City and its citizens, ensuring a common understanding of the issues and that voices are heard.
Key challenges addressed:
- The negotiation of franchise fees with our utilities instead of implementing a utility tax that would have resulted in legal action against the city. The result was a win/win Franchise agreement yielding Des Moines over $550k annually.
- Implementation of traffic cameras in high incidence areas with the focus of safety and law enforcement work force multiplication. Any revenue generated above cost, supports the strengthening or our resources so long neglected issues can be addressed.
- A full review of all of the City’s tax and fee structures to ensure competitive but appropriate rates.
- Implemented furlough (1 per month) days for 9 months to prevent layoffs. These were ended as soon as finances were stabilized. I am grateful to our employees for their dedication through that difficult time.
- Marina paid parking – Approved a pay model to capture revenue from 70% user base that doesn’t live in Des Moines. The cost to the local citizens has been capped for the first year at $30 for an annual pass. This covers the cost of administration.
- Partnered with the banks, council, developers and staff to allow and encourage projects like Blueberry Lane and other housing developments to move forward after being on hold for several years.
- Supported efforts to develop both our commercial (Des Moines Creek Business Park) and housing stock so people have the choice to live and work in our community.
- Partnered with small businesses to help them develop, creating a neighborhood and community draw to our downtown.
- Supported housing projects like the Adriana Senior Apartments in the Marina District increasing the local demand for goods and services (like a new grocery store).
- Participated on the Finance and Economics Committee. While committee chair, lead the ordinance review process to make it easier for people to invest in and upgrade their homes. This is helping to increase the value of Des Moines properties.
- Developed and supported nuisance code empowering the city to work with derelict landlords and neglectful property owners, cleaning up neighborhoods and improving home values.
- Supported the partnership with Metro Transit to pilot a shuttle program allowing our citizens and local employees’ access through key areas of the city without having to use their cars.
- Supported parks and recreation facilities and programs, with a focus on redevelopment of play and family recreation areas. Quality of Life programs through the Parks & Recreation and the Senior Service Center have remained intact.
- Championed for high quality local schools. In my past life was part of the School Board responsible for rebuilding the majority of the district’s schools. All but two in Des Moines are newer buildings.
- The 2017 city budget is the first budget in over ten years (possibly 15 years) that has not relied on one time monies or borrowing future money to sustain current city services. The 2017 budget also includes financial reserves at levels required by the Washington State Auditor.
- Economic development and redevelopment is moving at a pace the City has never seen in its history.
- Our Police Patrol Teams are funded to full strength with open and vacant positions being filled.
- We are implementing policing technology that creates workforce multipliers for the police department by identifying crime trends and activity empowering law enforcement to get to the solution faster.
- The addition of a Crime Analysis Technician in the police department ensures that crime data is reviewed and information is provided to patrol teams advising them where and when to focus patrols within city.
- Relationship building:
- Our Police agency is leveraging strategic partnerships with other regional police agencies to improve our effectiveness and cooperation when addressing and responding to crime.
- City leadership and regional government relationships and collaborations are advancing.
- Excellent relationships with our County and State representatives are yielding greater support in state and count related issues.
- The establishment of regional partnerships has significantly strengthened the City of Des Moines Emergency Management Plans safeguarding the continuity of government during a disaster and ensuring our citizens and business receive the disaster assistance needed.
- A Road Paving program has begun; something that has not happened for over ten years.
- Improving Community Communication:
- Created a Citizen Advisory Committee was formed with representatives from all nine community neighborhoods “your voices are being heard”.
- Advanced the Message from the Mayor in the Des Moines City Currents. Focusing on creating a common understanding of issues and successes within the community.
- Participate in group meetings wherever citizens have questions. Addressing the issues they are concerned about and hearing their thoughts and concerns. Several solutions have started in these forums.
- Hiring a new city manager that is committed to efficient and smart use of tax payer dollars and creating greater efficiency in city government operations.
- Assisting with the direction and communication coming from the new finance manager to:
- Focus on the identification of efficiencies related to budget line items.
- Provide the Council and community with a monthly financial status presentation and report.
- Implement a long-term financial forecast and plan based on factual data.
- Additionally much has been done to re-negotiate the Cities financial commitments and contracts. This has helped to keep us from bankruptcy.
- Bankruptcy and merging with Federal Way or Kent
- Outsourcing law enforcement
- Outsourcing or eliminating parks and senior programs