Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine gives State of the City Address
MUKILTEO, Wash., March 6, 2023—Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine gave his 2023 State of the City Address on Wednesday, February 22 at the Rosehill Community Center at 11:30 a.m.
Mayor Marine’s 17-minute address, the second of his record third term, covered 10 subjects ranging from community engagement, crime statistics, completed and upcoming projects to the 2023 City Budget. The speech is the first of four speaker events sponsored by the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce. It was co-sponsored by the City of Mukilteo and Waste Management and attended by Mukilteo City Councilman Tom Jordal. The address was followed by a nearly 50-minute Q & A session.
Mayor Marine spoke of the Mukilteo Business Summit, which brought together over 90 businesspeople and City leaders.
The Summit gathered the business community and gauged their thoughts on how the City could be a better partner. While not all of the suggestions were within the City’s scope, Mayor Marine noted that the City will “work towards” those over which it has control.
Additionally, City Hall hosted a non-profit summit a month ago. Over 30 people attended and discussed non-profit collaboration. For instance, Marine said that non-profits put time and energy into something for which other non-profits already have the infrastructure. Working together would address that.
Waterfront Redevelopment Update
Mayor Marine reported that redevelopment of the Mukilteo Waterfront will take a “long time to come into fruition” and that not much progress was made. we still have a chance to work with the Port of Everett and other stakeholders in creating a more vibrant waterfront for our community.
Mayor Marine is negotiating an interlocal agreement with Snohomish County to annex the east side of the Mukilteo Speedway and is “hopeful” to come to agreement soon.
Mayor Marine shared that the City replaced the Point Elliott Treaty Plaque that had been stolen years ago outside of Rosehill. A plaque replacement ceremony was held with members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Tulalip Tribes, City Council, and members of the Mukilteo Historical Society present.
Traffic Speeding Control
Mayor Marine recalled that speeding was a focus of his administration last year. He announced that Mukilteo now has two officers dedicated to traffic enforcement with the goal of ensuring safety and limiting reckless driving on Mukilteo roads.
Mayor Marine and other mayors have been calling on state legislators to address is the State v. Blake decision, which effectively legalized hard drugs. He related that it has led to an increase in property crime in Mukilteo.
The mayor shared in a power point slide that Assaults, Burglaries, Robberies, Behavioral Health Calls, and Vehicle thefts are all up in 2022. Theft is down, but misleading because many shops “stopped reporting store thefts” in the last year, which leads to an inaccurate depiction of the statistics, according to Mayor Marine.
Marine said that, prior to the Blake decision, law enforcement used to team up with social workers to meet with people and give them two different options from which to choose. One: prosecute them on their outstanding warrants. Two: get into treatment and get clean. Marine argued that those addicted have little to no incentive to get into treatment now.
Additionally, the Legislature passed the police pursuit law, elimination an officer’s ability to pursue suspected criminals fleeing in vehicles. Marine said Mukilteo officers “almost never used to pursue vehicles,” but now people have a green light to flee if they are pulled over.
Mayor Marine announced partnering with Mayors and Business Leaders for Public Safety, a 501 c(4). The organization will work with business leaders, legislators, law enforcement, mental health experts, and others to solve the homelessness and crime issues in Snohomish County.
Mayor Marine addressed HB-1110, which would require a city with a population of at least 6,000 to authorize the development of at least four units per lot on all lots zoned for residential use. He said that the bill is “most concerning” due its “disregard for local control and local planning.”
“A one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer,” he said. “Municipalities need local control to meet the needs of their specific and unique communities.”
Mayor Marine said that the bill would impact the historic district the most, prohibiting the City from protecting its historic character. The mayor argued that HB 1110 will require the City to plan and pay for additional utilities and transportation capacity in Old Town. Additionally, the mayor said that the bill would force Mukilteo to allow denser development around the train station and would “completely upend” land use and transportation planning efforts.
As you can see, the bulk of the general fund is funded through taxes. There’s a strong balance of where our overall taxes come from. Property taxes are the leading source (as is true in most cities), but we also see revenue from the sales & utility taxes.
The mayor related that the Harbour Reach Extension last year and Paine Field’s Boulevard Pathway Repairs were completed.As part of the Safe Routes to School program, the City made improvements to 76th Street and installed solar panels at Rosehill Community Center.
Improvements are coming to Rosehill Community Center, including a new projector. The City is staining and painting portions of the exterior of Rosehill and replacing carpet in some locations and the tables in the Point Elliott Room
The City has $350,000 in grants set aside for organizations. The Mukilteo City Council funded new playground equipment at the 92nd Street Park to replace outdated equipment.
In Japanese Gulch, the City will conduct Trail Bridge repairs and construct a new Dirt Jump Bike Course. In addition, a new City website is upcoming. Harbour Pointe Boulevard Pathway will undergo repairs and SR 525 Bridge’s Sidewalk will be widened.
Mukilteo State of the City: Q & A Session
After the address, Mayor Marine opened it up for questions from the audience. A submitted question asked what is being done about panhandlers in the QFC parking lot. Officer Andy Illyn said that the all the businesses in the QFC parking lot authorized the Mukilteo Police Department to serve trespassing letters to panhandlers. In addition, the embedded social worker proactively searches out panhandlers to offer services.
Former Mukilteo City Councilman Bob Champion asked Mayor Marine’s views on future annexation with regards to HB-1110. He explained that Mukilteo’s Municipal Growth Area (MUGA) extends east to Airport Road, out to HWY 99, and up to 128th Street where the Safeway is located, and out to the water. In his first two terms as mayor from 2005-2012, Marine explained that he was for full annexation of the entire MUGA so the City could control the area’s development. Now, some of the areas are developed “not in a way necessarily that we would like,” there is no push from either Mayor Marine or the City Council for large-scale annexation. The only area that Marine said annexation “makes sense” and where he is actively pushing for annexation is the east portion of the Mukilteo Speedway where the Azteca and Mukilteo Speedway Café is located. Marine says that a discussion with the County Boundary Review Board to move Mukilteo’s MUGA boundaries away from the HYW 99 and 128th Street areas will take place in the future.
Another question dealt with what policies the Marine administration has to support Mukilteo businesses and encouraging businesses to move to the city. Mayor Marine said that opening lines of communication with businesses is important, like with the business summit. Another thing is not being an impediment to small businesses opening, whether its speeding up permits to get them to open since “time is money,” Marine said. It can be difficult convincing commercial businesses like Trader Joe’s to come to Mukilteo. Those businesses believe that since Mukilteo is boxed in between the airport and the waterfront, that they will be unable to attract enough business to their location. The challenge is convincing those businesses that that is not the case, according to Mayor Marine.
An attendee asked what the City is doing to engage and support the youth and seniors. Mayor Marine pointed out that the Mukilteo Youth Advisory Council that his administration started to “give the youth a voice and get them involved.” Regarding seniors, when Marine was first Mayor, Rosehill Community Center was constructed and had a room specifically for seniors. They have now outgrown that room, according to Marine, and are working with the City on a property near the Community Garden for a new facility. It would be community-run and could be paid for using grants.
A resident asked about graffiti in Mukilteo and increasing sightings around the city. “Even one is too many,” Mayor Marine said, and the City tries to get on top of it immediately.
Officer Andy Illyn suggested that the sweeping reform laws that the Democratic-controlled Washington State Legislature made in 2021 led to graffiti’s increase not only in Mukilteo but statewide. The Legislature failed to “consult law enforcement, prosecutors, and even youth advisory groups” to see how this would impact them.
One of the changes that the laws made was forcing police to call a defense attorney to ask if the police can speak to the juvenile graffiti suspect, and the answer is usually no. Before the law, police would call parents instead, and the answer was usually yes. This change in law allowed attorneys to supersede parents and decreases the investigations that police could conduct and addressing graffiti difficult, according to Officer Illyn. He said that social media trends, such as KOS (Kids On the Street) on Tik Tok, is also an issue. He added for residents to never assume that graffiti is reported. Public Works Director Matt Nienhuis said to visit the City of Mukilteo’s homepage and click the Fix It Public Works tab to report graffiti.
A resident asked if the City has plans to create a safe pathway and plant speed limit signs on Mukilteo Lane. Mayor Marine said not only yes, but that his administration plans to annex the entirety of Mukilteo Lane since some of it is in Everett, but also Japanese Gulch, Edgewater Beach, and part of the Tank Farm up to the Boeing Pier. It is paused until Mukilteo and Everett complete a study to determine the cost of fixing the top portion of Mukilteo Lane.
One Mukiltean asked about crime outside of city limits and police response to those areas. He spoke of waiting 45 minutes after someone pulled a knife on him at the 128th Street Safeway and sometimes for over 30 minutes at the Mukilteo Little League complex at Paine Field Community Park.
Mukilteo has mutual aid agreements with nearby agencies and other statewide agencies except for some tribal agencies. However, Mukilteo PD frequently patrols the 128th Safeway parking lot, the Paine Field Community Park, and the east side of the Mukilteo Speedway, even though they are not in city limits.
Officer Illyn said that delayed response times outside city limits on county lands are due to staffing shortages. Snohomish County has 37 vacancies, Marysville 19 vacancies, while Mukilteo only has one.
Despite those areas not in Mukilteo PD jurisdiction, Officer Illyn is uncomfortable with making residents wait up to 45 minutes for a deputy.
“We tell our officers, ‘if you’re there and you can take a report, take a report,’” he said.
The last question concerned if a Park ‘N Ride on Bernie Webber Road is still being pursued. Mayor Marine is still pushing for it but it is airport property. If that property is taken, Mayor Marine said that the idea for a Mukilteo will be untenable because he can think of no other area in Mukilteo that would make sense.
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