Marysville considers cost of embedded social worker

MARYSVILLE – The embedded social worker program has been hugely successful, but that didn’t stop the City Council from debating paying 100% of the cost of the social worker at its meeting Monday night.

In another important matter, the council also talked of entering into an agreement with the Port of Everett regarding the Cascade Industrial Center.

Snohomish County has been sharing the cost of social worker Rochelle Long with Marysville for the two-year pilot project. To continue having Long focus on Marysville, the city is scheduled to take over the cost. But the council balked at the almost $158,500 figure.

Asked what would happen if the city didn’t fund her, interim police chief Jeff Goldman said it would “end the program.” The program gets homeless and addicts off the streets and helps get them treatment.

Councilman Jeff Vaughan asked why the city doesn’t just hire its own social worker, which would be less expensive.

Goldman said Everett and Lynnwood have done that, but both of their programs are struggling. They have a hard time getting people into treatment. “They don’t get beds in social programs,” he said.

Staying with the county is better because of its regional partnerships to obtain treatment. Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima said Arlington is sticking with the county as a result. If Marysville doesn’t fund Long, she could be transferred by the county somewhere else, Goldman said.

As for the CIC, port representative Terri Battuello talked about a memorandum related to economic development in the CIC Monday. “This area is the future of the county,” she said, adding the port can be involved in economic development more than a city can, including recruiting businesses at an international level. “There’s a lot of opportunities to collaborate.”

She said the port is very stable, providing the area with lots of money and jobs. It is a regional asset with tremendous growth in Everett and Mukilteo.

Battuello said businesses within the port are profitable, but it also collects almost $5 million in taxes a year. That money, plus about $5 million more, is spent on environmental stewardship and public access. She said the entire county will benefit from the CIC. Some council members wondered if the port is interested in incorporating Marysville and Arlington, which agreed to a similar arrangement last week.

“If it makes sense to be included in the port it would be years down the road” and require a vote of residents, Battuello said.

The City Council also discussed its legislative priorities for 2020.

The priorities include:

•$17.7 million for 156th Street Railroad Overcrossing. The public railroad crossing was closed in early 2000s without recognition of future growth west of I-5. The interchange at I-5 that has been funded by the state will be landlocked without this addition. •$500,000 for Ebey Waterfront Trail Phase 4. It would extend the trail west of Sunnyside Boulevard to connect with multi-use path under construction as part of First Street Bypass project. Additionally, it would connect along dike at estuary. The 1.28 miles represents a gap in the trail system that, once complete, would provide nearly 6 miles of connected trails.

•$24 million Grove Street Overcrossing. Would go over tracks at Grove Street from State to Cedar avenues. It would alleviate congestion that escalates when trains go through town. Among items discussed at the work session that will be voted on Monday:

•Spending $12.27 million on a bridge over Quil Ceda Creek at 100th to 104 Street NE on State Avenue. Public Utility District director Kevin Nielsen recommends accepting the bid as others were in the $13 million range. One approved, the project would take 20 months to complete.

•Increasing the family living wage amount from $18 to $26.08 an hour for businesses to receive tax benefits for locating in the CIC. The council decided the previous wage was too low.

•Two new positions approved by the council this year make it necessary to adjust the budget by almost $327,000 – a Civil Plan review and a training sergeant. Also, the Drug Seizure fund requests $20,000 for small tools.

•The council also will consider a sidewalk on Alder Avenue, buying two front loaders for $776,000,