By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin in her annual “State of the City” address on the morning of January 28, touched on a variety of priorities she’s committed to leading her governance within the new year.
With the coronavirus persisting in the community for over a year, Mayor Franklin announced that the community’s recovery from the pandemic is the city’s top priority in 2021, with an emphasis on COVID-19 vaccines becoming available to everyone as soon as possible.
Supporting Snohomish County’s efforts for mass vaccination, Mayor Franklin stated they are working to establish additional vaccination sites in Everett.
Yet, the biggest challenge to a successful rollout of COVID vaccines is a limited supply, said Franklin though she announced they have been a part of advocacy efforts for an increased amount of state and federal supplies. They expect more dosages soon.
Throughout the pandemic, local businesses have been severely impacted by the pandemic, and to Franklin, recovery includes building its economic base. In turn, the city has committed to partnering with Greater Seattle Partners, Snohomish County, the Economic Alliance to focus on economic recovery.
“We’ll continue to help them recover any way we can,” Franklin said.
Ensuring Everett remains a safe and welcoming city for residents is a focal point for the mayor, which she says begins with good governance.
To run the city in what she asserts a responsible manner, Mayor Franklin committed herself to the continuous support of public safety programs saying their role in the community is essential- leading the pandemic response and protecting residents.
The city of Everett has also struggled with a budget deficit for what Mayor Franklin calls “quite a long time.” She then committed herself to prioritize paving the way towards long-term fiscal sustainability. In 2020, the mayor created a stakeholder committee dedicated to exploring and advising on the city’s facial options.
“They found that the City is in a financial crisis and that “dramatic action” is required if we are to work our way out of this challenge,” Franklin noted. “This year is the time for us to take a hard look at the options before us – options that won’t be easy – but now is the time for us to take decisive action.”
Housing for all
Mayor Franklin reaffirmed her commitment to resident’s housing needs, a priority intensified by the pandemic’s economic toll.
She recently issued “Housing for all”, a housing directive seeking to increase housing at all price points to ensure all residents and commuters have access to affordable homes.
With the city’s increased demand for shelters for those experiencing homelessness, local leaders are moving forward with new initiatives to expand shelter capacity, said Franklin.
The city doesn’t have resources or expertise to build and manage shelters or establish and run social support programs itself, said Franklin, but instead leans on fostering partnerships with organizations already dedicated to providing these services.
Diversity, equity and inclusion
Since taking office in 2018, Franklin has issued two mayoral directives on diversity and equity and hired the City’s first equity manager. She then recognized that 2020 was a year of underscoring the need for equity, and thus more must be done to address inequities.
“Much work lies ahead, but we are committed to bringing about the changes needed to make our city more inclusive and a place where everyone has opportunities to succeed,” Franklin said.