Arlington has accomplished so much, and more is on the way

  • Saturday, April 8, 2017 1:30am
  • Opinion

I am so honored to be the mayor of this vibrant community. We can all be proud of the City’s 2016 accomplishments: •Added higher education in Arlington through Everett Community College

•Transportation Benefit District completed more than 5.3 miles of pavement resurfacing •30 percent of roadway segments resurfaced (10 miles)

•5th Street utility line upgraded and road repaved

•Highland Drive utility line upgraded and road repaved

•59th Avenue repaired and repaved

•Cemetery Road repaved

•Fire engine, ladder truck, brush truck and medic unit placed into service

•Crime mapping service available: at communitycrimemap.com

•Economic development and ABC: $68.8 million in leveraged investments since 2015 •Employment: $4.4 million

•Infrastructure: $62.3 million

•Public Safety: $517,000

•Resilience and sustainability: $187,000

•Quality of life: $2.1 million •No tax increases in 2016

•Bond rating upgraded to A2

•8 percent increase in sales tax revenue •Rebuilt financial reserves to 98 percent of policy

•Received clean audit from Washington State Auditor’s Office

•390 building permits issued •113 new business licenses issued for 840 total businesses

•Quake Field upgraded to artificial turf infields

•New Haller Park restrooms funded

•Youth Council organized and operating

•Downtown beautification implemented.

Of all the things Arlington has moving in the right direction, there are five that really excite me:

1. Seeking regional designation for our Manufacturing Industrial Complex: That opens access to state and federal funds, which we could use to convince new manufacturers to open shop here. An August 2016 study showed that businesses in the MIC could generate up to 20,000 family wage jobs.

2. Winning America’s Best Communities: Arlington and Darrington are one of eight finalists for the $3 million prize. I feel optimistic about our multi-pronged approach to economic development. The other seven candidates have chosen a single project, so Arlington-Darrington stands out. The ceremony naming the winner is April 19.

3. Launching “Arlington Awaits”: TWENTYFIVE, a strategic marketing firm out of Seattle, has created a new website (www.arlingtonawaits.com) and Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/ArlingtonAwaits) to advertise all that Arlington has to offer businesses of all kinds. We want to continue to grow revenue without raising taxes, and new business is the best way to do that. Arlington Awaits features our streamlined permitting process, which allows simultaneous, rather than sequential, progress through permitting. That allows a new business to learn all the boxes to check at the same time.

4. Exploring Regional Fire Authority with Marysville: Members of City Councils from Arlington and Marysville are in discussions to answer “Can we provide the same fire and EMS service levels for less cost if we work together?” We expect this exploration to last several months.

5. Learning from our Health and Human Services consultant: With a grant from United Way of Snohomish County, we contracted for a survey of all local social services so we can understand what services are available locally, which are not, which are duplicated, and which must be sought regionally. We look forward to closing identified gaps and then targeting our outreach to those services most needed and least available.

When you have an idea for how to make Arlington even better, I’d love to hear from you. Please contact me at btolbert@arlingtonwa.gov or 360-403-3441.

Barbara Tolbert is the mayor of Arlington. Her column runs monthly.

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