ARLINGTON – The mayor and City Council said they are looking back on 2019 as a banner year that laid groundwork for a diverse job-creating economy and vibrant community true to its roots.
Mayor Barb Tolbert gave props to the management team and staff for working with the council to deliver on the vision for Arlington’s future.
“The past year, they have been particularly busy ensuring we have a path to success for building the best, most inclusive city and engaging with the public,” Tolbert said.
Her list of the top five accomplishments were:
• Regional designation of the Cascade Industrial Center and the ability for residents to live, work and play in their own city.
•A reduction in reported crime and the work of the embedded social worker program and outreach team.
• Completion of a 20-year transportation plan to help ease future congestion and provide safer roads for all.
• Responsible fiscal stewardships and containing budget expenses.
• The Complete Streets Plan and downtown corridor long-range planning, improving curbside appeal through public art and other means, as well as upgrades to Haller and Terrace parks.
Councilman Mike Hopson echoed the CIC as vital, and hopefully affordable for residents with the higher wages that will accompany it. He said new economic activity will “do great things for the homeless, families and people in distress, in dire need.”
Councilwoman Jesica Stickles said she was happy that the city has been able to add more police and fire personnel. She’s also pleased that new funding mechanisms are in place for staffing to keep pace as the community grows.
Councilwoman Debora Nelson said she nearly “danced a jig” about EMS not being in the red after many years, thanks to the ambulance utility tax and renegotiated contracts with agencies.
Councilman Josh Roundy added that partnering with North County Fire & EMS on anew joint cost-saving program created cost savings for taxpayers in both areas.
Councilwoman Marilyn Oertle applauded the new construction sales tax that supports more public art.
Nelson referenced the new community garden outside the school district administration building, the parking lot at the library and shed for Friends of the Library, the merchant parking lot, and sidewalk repairs.
Councilwoman Sue Weiss said she was impressed with the city’s maintenance and operations staff, reminding how they handled snow and ice events earlier in the year.
Council members were also grateful for the huge amount of debt the city paid off and the steady stream of grants for infrastructure improvements.
Tolbert said as long as city leaders keep planning ahead, “We can ensure that we will build the best city possible for Arlington.”