M’ville to keep talking RFA with Arlington, District 12

MARYSVILLE – The elephant was in the room.

Finally, after about 10 minutes of discussion, Kamille Norton brought it up.

“The governing structure needs to reflect the impact on taxpayers,” she said.

The Marysville City Council president was talking about ongoing talks regarding a potential Regional Fire Authority with Arlington and District 12. The makeup of the board that would make decisions for the RFA has been a contentious issue, so much so talks have moved along painfully slow, to the point that mediator Karen Reed was asked to step in. Reed asked each stakeholder to answer three questions.

Norton’s answer came to a question about what values are important to the council if talks continue.

Councilman Rob Toyer had said, “financial stability, better than it is now.”

Councilman Jeff Seibert mentioned three things: “better service, cost savings, sustainability,” without a levy every few years.

The first question Reed wanted answered was should talks continue?

Councilman Jeff Vaughan noted that both District 12 and Arlington have voted to continue discussions. “There is still opportunity there,” he said.

Councilman Stephen Muller added, “It’s good to hear that.” He said he wants to go forward as long as talks are constructive. “Maybe they could move a little faster.”

The other question they talked about was if the discussion process should change at all. Councilman Michael Stevens suggested having more than one meeting a month, but Seibert said he could not do that. Councilwoman Donna Wright said she would like all involved to hear from other cities that have adopted RFAs, along with those that decided against them.

In other business Monday night:

•The council approved a project on First Street between State and the railroad tracks. Parking will be taken away at the mall, and rain gardens will be put in by the same company that did that work on Third Street.

•Council OK’d putting in a larger water main at Soper Hill and Sunnyside Boulevard to improve water flow.

•The board OK’d closing some downtown streets Aug. 11-13 for the Homegrown Street Fair.

•Council approved the building of more homes in the Rock Creek North area.

•It also OK’d work to improve 10 intersections in town.

In closing comments in the final meeting before the monthlong break in August:

•Mayor Jon Nehring said the state legislature did not pass a capital budget yet, but he is glad in the transportation budget there was money for the Bayview to Centennial Trail project.

•Police Chief Rick Smith said seven neighborhoods will take part in the National Night Out Against Crime Tuesday, but the biggest one will be at Jennings Park.

•Parks director Jim Ballew said local parks have fell victim to crimes such as theft and vandalism. However, numbers are up at concerts and movies put on by the city. And summer camps put on by the city are full. He also encouraged the powers that be to keep in touch with their legislators because his department is waiting on about $2.3 million in state funds for various projects.