Mill Creek Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem deliver State of the City address

Mill Creek State of the City 2023. City of Mill Creek, Washington

MILL CREEK, Wash., April 28, 2023—Mill Creek Mayor Brian Holtzclaw and Mayor Pro Tem Stephanie Vignal delivered the Mill Creek State of the City address on Tuesday, April 25, discussing the DRCC properties, the City’s $5 million in ARPA Funds, staffing levels, and the South County Fire Annex.

Dobson, Remillard, Cook, and Church Properties

The Dobson, Remillard, Cook, and Church Properties (DRCC) are 19-acres of land, spread across four parcels, adjacent to Mill Creek Sports Park. The city of Mill Creek acquired these parcels 15 years ago but has now just begun its planning on how to utilize the properties, delayed by the pandemic and prioritizing the South County Fire annex.

In 2020 the city hired a consultant to begin this process, which includes community engagement and survey work to hear what the public would like to see done.

During the 2022 legislative session, state representatives were able to secure about $200,000 for the City to use during its next steps in planning for the DRCC properties. The money was placed in the state’s capital budget as part of its mid-biennium budget adjustment. The City is planning to use these funds for additional community surveys, additional in-depth needs analysis, and working with a consultant to determine further what might be planned and developed for the DRCC site.

The City is leaning towards utilizing the land for something all of Mill Creek’s community can use, such as ballfields or a recreation center, or for educational, entertainment, commerce, or municipal uses.

Just last week the City authorized a contract to begin a 16-month Master Plan process that Mayor Holtzclaw hopes will help identify a specific use for the property. Part of this contract is to develop a public engagement plan to ensure the 16-month process incorporates public input, with the hope to create something that will become a community asset, an economic driver, and something that will drive activity to the city of Mill Creek.

$5 Million in ARPA funds

The City of Mill Creek has been engaged in a planning process with City Council to identify areas of need for its awarded $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

One of these areas is “beautification”, Mayor Pro Tem Vignal said, which includes spending almost $500,000 on a new street sweeper to help keep streets clean, especially after storms.

The city plans to use its ARPA funds on some much-needed maintenance around the city, which includes clearing overgrown foliage in medians. 

“This is not just a short-term goal, this is a longterm goal,” said Mayor Holtzclaw. “We don’t want to just put lipstick on the pig – we want Mill Creek to look good in the longterm, and this is one of the goals in the next five years that we’ve set.”

The other uses of the funds are still being considered.

Added Police Presence

Last year the City of Mill Creek conducted its, first ever, city-wide Performance Survey for residents. The results were presented at a recent City Council meeting.

Based on these results, Mill Creek residents outstandingly asked for an increase in police presence in the city, which was a big topic of discussion at the city’s retreat when identifying its 2023 priorities as well as its five year goals.

Mayor Holtzclaw said the City Manager and Police Chief are currently working on how to execute this need on the ground, but it remains a priority of the city this year going forward.

City Council and the Legislative Process

2023 marks the first year that the City of Mill Creek has had a legislative agenda, Mayor Pro Tem Stephanie Vignal said, which the City Council has put together to pinpoint what the city would like to see from the legislature.

“We are the link between the community, and the wishes and desires they have, and our legislatures in Olympia who can seem far away sometimes,” said Mayor Pro Tem Vignal. “Often times what our legislatures do in Olympia can directly impact our community and directly impact how things are run in City Hall and they need to know how that affects us.”

Mill Creek has worked with its delegation to secure funding for its Public Library to do some much-needed improvements, as well as some funding for improvements to City Hall Chambers.

Staffing levels

As with many cities, Mill Creek’s staffing levels dropped significantly during the pandemic.

“After the pandemic hit we really didn’t know which way the world was heading and we had to make some tough decisions as a city,” said Mayor Holtzclaw. “In retrospect we may have tightened the belt a little too much but we had to do that as responsible stewards of the taxpayers dollars.”

Mayor Pro Tem Vignal added that things are looking up for city staffing, with new leadership and a current team that works well together.

South County Fire Annex and rising property taxes

Mill Creek residents voted, 75.42%, in favor of Proposition 1, for annexation into South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue Regional Fire Authority (South County Fire) to provide fire and emergency medical services on April 26, 2022.

Since then, Mayor Pro Tem Vignal said South County Fire has been a welcome addition, introducing several program to the city, including a community paramedic that help seniors, and their online CPR training program.

Kienan Briscoe

Kienan Briscoe is a 9-time award winning journalist who has worked for a variety of publications including Pulitzer Prize-finalist Puget Sound Business Journal, Sound Publishing, Game Rant, and the University of Washington's newsroom. Before making the leap to news reporting he worked as a freelance writer in New York City. He holds a degree in Journalism from Arizona State University. Journalism, to him, is one of the most important tools for informing the public and holding governments accountable to the people. When he is not reporting he enjoys writing fiction and poetry (author of three novels), playing guitar, reading classic literature, and getting outdoors.

Kienan Briscoe has 428 posts and counting. See all posts by Kienan Briscoe

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