Second Term Accomplishments

During my role as councilmember, and now Mayor Pro Tem, we have accomplished a lot for the people of Duvall. This page highlights some key accomplishments during my second term serving you.

Community Driven Initiatives

These are initiatives that came about because of interaction with the community, and seek to address the needs of our residents beyond the basics of roads, sewers, power and public safety. I am proud of what has been brought forward and have heeded “lessons learned” from those with mixed results.

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  •   Sidewalks on Highway 203 – After a successful Main Street project that was completed in 2009, community feedback made it clear that the City should move forward with additional improvements. The increased traffic volume passing through the community, combined with small shoulders and a lack of lighting created a real safety hazard for the many families walking and bicyclists riding through town. I advocated in Olympia with the Mayor and fellow councilmembers to secure funding for the $8 million project that will bring sidewalks, bike lanes, trees, lighting and pocket parks throughout Main Street.
    Because of our persistence, and the great work of staff, we secured more than $6.5 million in grant funding, reducing the burden on our local tax payers by 80%. When the project is completed, it is expected to spur additional economic development in the currently underutilized core.
  • No-Wake Zone within City Limits – Because of concern regarding wave runners passing through McCormick Park at high rates of speed, on behalf of the community I proposed and the council approved a “No-Wake Zone” on the Snoqualmie River within city limits.
  • Requirement of Criminal Background Checks for Door-to-Door Solicitors – After speaking with residents who were increasingly concerned about pushy, unlicensed door-to-door solicitors I introduced, and the council approved, a requirement for all for profit door-to-door solicitors to obtain a criminal background check prior to receiving a license from the City. The law also makes it a crime for solicitors to go door-to-door without a license, providing a tool for our officers to enforce existing law.
  • 2016 Fireworks Referendum – After a few extra dry years, and much conversation about whether the City should allow fireworks within our boundaries I led the charge to hear directly from the community. I pushed to ensure the referendum was placed on the ballot during an election with the highest voter turnout to get a true poll of our community, and that it did. The City can now put the yearly discussion to rest and focus on ensuring options for fire safety during the driest years.
  • 2016 Ballfields – In 2015 the City was awarded a grant to help rebuild the Big Rock Ballfields.  While the City didn’t have the funding on hand to complete the project, it was clear from the feedback from the community that this is something they wanted to move forward with. To fully fund the project, the City placed levy on the ballot, which I supported. The levy also included funding to replace critical IT infrastructure and fund a school resource officer that will not only work at the schools, but also be available to reduce police overtime. The levy passed, and in the process the community shared with the City its desire to have ballot items separated. A good lesson learned and one that will be reflected if future ballot measures are considered.
  • Updated City Website – After storms that knocked out access to the City Website, the inability to effectively communicate with Duvall residents and an overall rapidly aging website, I led the council by advocating for, and participating in the process, to bring a new website online. Today, our site can be updated even when the power is out, residents may easily pay a bill online, report a concern, or sign up to be notified of the latest news and information from City departments.
  • Council Meeting Audio Online – Not long ago, only council agendas and meeting minutes were placed online, leaving the community in the dark as to the details of city councils meetings unless they attended in person. I was dogged in pursuing all audio be placed online for the public to have a better understanding of council actions. The next step is video recorded meetings that can be accessed online.
  • Access to Full Council Packets Online – In the same vein as council meeting audio I led the effort to publish full council packets online at the same time council receives them, enabling the public to review key documents and ask questions prior to council discussion and decision making. This has helped get the community more involved in the business of the city, leading to greater transparency and opportunities to be engaged on key issues.
 

State Regulation Driven, Community Guided Initiatives

State Regulation driven initiatives are mandates upon the City. In the past two-years, with the community’s guidance, we have approved two major plans, receiving statewide recognition.

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  • 2015 Comprehensive Plan Update – After a two-year process, the council approved a robust comprehensive plan that considered the thoughts and ideas of the community through a survey, Comprehensive Planning Advisory Committee, Planning Commission and City council. The 20-year plan will guide the city in how to preserve our small-town feel, while managing growth. It also provides a broad perspective that accounts for the future needs of the city for job growth and population growth. The elements included Transportation, Economic Development, Land Use, Housing, Parks and Recreation, Capital Facilities and Environmental and Sustainability. The codes and programs that are developed as a result will change the character of future growth in the way the community desires and enable us to stay true to our motto “Small Town, Real Life”.
  • Watershed Plan – In 2015, the council approved that provides the framework for much of the work in process at the City right now, in addition to informing the 2015 Comprehensive Plan Update. The plan sets forth strategies for improving stormwater management and salmon recovery, to strengthen our sensitive areas regulations and tree standards, maintain open space and helps guide future development with knowledge of watershed processes. Duvall is ahead of the curve in working to protect our natural environment through our plans, and thus we were winners of the 2015 King County Green Globe Award and the 2016 Governor’s “Smart Communities” Award.
 

Council Driven Initiatives

Council driven initiatives are those that come from within the council to address either an internal or external issue. I am proud of the work I have done over the past 8-years to help bring this city to where it is today. There is still much more work to do – nothing gets done without the support of council – and I will continue my work to help protect the City from legal and financial risk, by continuing to institute internal policies that protect your taxpayer dollars from lawsuits and grievances.

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  • Hiring of a City Administrator – As someone with a background in government at multiple levels, I knew firsthand that having a professional manager at the helm would not only create efficiencies, it would help our City become more professional and conduct business more smoothly. In the past two-years, the City has accomplished more than in the previous five. I credit much of this to having an experienced manager guiding day to day operations, freeing department heads and the Mayor to focus on other aspects of their jobs. I am proud to have led the charge from the beginning of my tenure, with the encouragement of Councilmember Dianne Brudnicki who shared this vision with me.
  • Council Social Media Policy – As social media has exploded over the past ten years, so too has governments ability to communicate with its residents. However, state public records policies have not kept up with today’s technology resulting in a need for a policy to protect both the City and councilmembers from potential legal troubles resulting from inappropriate social media use. Working with the City Attorney, I wrote a policy that sets the guidelines and standards for official councilmember social media pages and clarified the legal need to keep official business off personal pages, providing safeguards for the City.
  • Public Records Policy – As a strong advocate for open government, ensuring the public’s right to access information is a core value for me. In a world where public records requests and lawsuits are burgeoning at great expense to the taxpayer, it is critically important that the City maintain a robust policy to safeguard both access to information and public funds. I was the lead advocate to the Mayor’s office for development of a policy to address the issue, even before the rise in local government requests.
  • Council Procedures – After a few years serving on the City Council it was clear that the procedures a previous council had set were out of date, unclear and opened the door to significant inequity in how councilmembers were to interact with each other and staff. In early 2013, I began the call to update the procedures and earned council support to do so. Throughout 2014 I worked with a council committee to write and approve the procedures we now have in place. It seems small, but the importance of having good internal procedures in place cannot be underestimated.
  • Comprehensive, Transparent Budgeting – My background in state and local government has provided me with the opportunity to see multiple ways of doing business and specifically budgeting. Each year the City has gotten better – from a 30-page budget with no detail 7-years ago to the 2016 budget that is more than 130 pages of detail. Changing the culture hasn’t been easy, but with patience and persistence we are now where we need to be. The next step is implementing a true replacement policy for equipment and facilities – and identifying sustainable ways to plan for and fund them.
  • Increase in Grant Funded Projects – When I was first asked to run for council I was told that the city was missing out on opportunities for grant funding and my background would be helpful to increase awareness and the success of the City. Within my first year on council, the City received a grant to install sidewalks on 275th, and over the past 7-years we have been granted more than $7 million from different state and federal agencies, including funding for Big Rock Ball Fields and more than $6 million for the ongoing improvements on Highway 203 from Old Town to Big Rock Road. I am proud of our City staff for their efforts to be successful and reduce the cost burden of projects on local residents.
  • Emergency Management Plan Update – As someone with a background in emergency management, I knew the importance of the City having an up-to-date emergency management plan. Not having a current plan can jeopardize the receipt of federal funding assistance in the case of an emergency as small as a wind storm. I reviewed our emergency management plan and advocated to the Mayor for a staff update as well as encouraged staff training through FEMA. Thanks to the Mayor’s support, today we not only have an updated plan our key staff is well-trained and prepared to handle emergencies.
 

Other Items In Process

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  • Ethics Policy – Due to multiple councilmembers not following the Council Procedures and Social Media policy, I have been working on the development of an Ethics policy that will allow the council to hold each other accountable when rules are broken. Especially when dealing with land use issues and using social media, local elected officials have an extraordinary responsibility to ensure they do not take actions that may jeopardize the City in future legal cases or impose a significant cost recovery due to social media related public records requests.
  • Code Updates – Keeping our commitment to quickly implementing the 2015 Comprehensive Plan, the council has directed and funded updates to our Transportation Element, Sensitive Areas and Tree Retention policies, Stormwater Funding plan and updating the Parks, Trails and Open Space Impact – all during 2017. We have more work to do, but this is a great start to implementing the community vision.