The following is written by Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow:
How much can what happens in Olympia affect Sumner? Quite a lot, actually. Very soon, the 2017 Legislative Session will begin, and the choices made there over the next few weeks can greatly affect our day-to-day life, from transportation to taxes.
A few weeks ago, the Sumner City Council passed its 2017 Legislative Agenda, telling our representatives what Sumner needs most from this session, and telling you how choices made in Olympia can affect you here. These are just the top four; the list could go on as decisions are made about law enforcement, stormwater, etc. Here are the highlights:
SR 410 Interchange: in the last session, we received $300,000 in funding, which we leveraged into $8 million in funding from public and private sources such as grants and partnerships. Design is underway, and we’re hoping to start construction as soon as possible. We need $10 million more and are asking the state for $5 million of that.
Preserve City-State Partnership: this past year has shown the importance of cities investing in infrastructure. Shared revenue is the partnership with the State of Washington that makes these critical services possible, contributing over $1 million to Sumner’s budget through the liquor tax, streamlined sales tax mitigation and firemen’s pension.
Keep State Revenue Afloat Before Flooding: the predicted flooding levels on the White River for this winter could greatly affect businesses and transportation routes in Sumner. Help will primarily come from Federal agencies and Pierce County, but Sumner reminds the State to help support flood protection efforts to not only protect Sumner but also regional economic supply chains.
Help Cities Be More Transparent: the public records laws were written before email, let alone social media. Because they are so archaic, their outdated language actually makes it harder for cities to share information via modern communications methods. Like most cities, Sumner would like to see these rules rewritten to clearly guide cities on how to be transparent in the modern digital age.
While we’d like to think we control our own destiny as a city, the reality is that County, State and Federal choices greatly affect life in Sumner. We hope through this agenda to use these partnerships to improve things in Sumner for 2017 and years ahead.