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Mayor sends positive message

Tonight I begin my seventh year as the mayor of Bonney Lake. Borrowing a line from Arnold Schwarzenegger last week, "I changed my mind. I want to go back to whatever I was doing seven years ago." Ladies and gentlemen, I'm just kidding. That is not the truth at all.

This is one of the most fascinating jobs I've ever had. I love working for the people of our community, our staff, and this council. I am optimistic about our community and our future. The state of our city is strong, because our people, our purpose and our direction are strong.

Our community is growing and we are seeing new businesses and new homes. For the first time in our history, you shop at home. There is a wonderful confidence in where we are going.

We are a great city because of our people. I saw a glimpse of that last week when the snow storm tried to bring us to a halt. Our Public Works employees worked hard, sometimes around the clock, to keep our city running. Employees braved the snow to come to work to serve you, our citizens. Our employees take pride in serving you. I share in that same pride.

We have experienced more changes in the past seven years than the almost 50 previous years. Our population has gone from 9,600 to almost 14,000. Our budget has grown from $20 million to $49 million. Every department has grown; we now have state of the art computers on every desk. Our Web site continues to win awards, and we receive many positive comments about the information available on lineŠ and we are not done.

I have no doubt that, together, we are more than a match for the challenges we face. We have made progress in building a community that people are proud of. We are building people's trust in their city governmentŠand we are not done.

None of us gets everything we want, because the art of governing is the art of working together, of compromise, of collaboration. These are actions that leadership requires, economics demands and the public expects. I have sought to keep a tight reign on our budget and for two years I have even proposed a property tax decrease. We have not done it, and that is one of the compromises. We do not know what is ahead and we must continue to be frugal. We cannot afford waste or extravagance in any department.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "every governor proposes moving boxes around to reorganize government. I don't want to move boxes aroundŠI want to blow them up!" Well, I don't want to blow anything up, but we would be wise to look at how we do business. Bob Leedy came to us to evaluate the Planning Department, and stayed on to manage those changes. We are in the process of initiating changes in the Public Works Department that came out of their evaluation. This year I am planning on an evaluation of the senior center, our court system and the police department. Following that, we will evaluate the finance department. We are a growing, changing city, and we must change and grow with it. As we review our performance, our practices, and our costs, we are looking for your ideas and suggestions. Not one of us can do this alone, nor can we function independent of our community. We are becoming known for our creative ways of approaching problems, and solving them. Let's keep it upŠ for we are not done.

Last year we hosted the very successful Street of Dreams. We accomplished a number of public works projects, and I still get "thank you's" for the light at Locust and Old Buckley Highway. Every time I walk around Lake Bonney, I am grateful to council member Rackley for his push to think "out of the box."

What an improvement as we created our first one-way, a lane around the lake. We are saying to business, "Come to Bonney Lake. This is where it is happening!" And it is. New restaurants, businesses, and jobs, are coming to our communityŠand we're not done.

We are also showing how a city's growth and our environment can coexist. We live in a beautiful city, and we intend to keep it that way. The council has appropriated monies to study Lake Bonney and other streams and wetlands in our city. We are working with the county as we preserve Fennel Creek. We envision a beautiful creek winding through our community, with walking trails and wetland preserves that our children and grandchildren will enjoy for decades to come. I am a great believer in the future of this community. I came here over 20 years ago to live and raise my family. Now I am working to make sure many others can do the same thing. There are great dreams for our community as we see our hopes and aspirations become realities. Hopefully, this year we will break ground on a new city hall, a functional campus that the community can be proud of for years to comeŠand done with existing monies.

We have accomplished much since last year. Our joint sewer treatment plant is currently being upgraded. We are in the design phase of a $3.5 million filter plant for the Ballpark well field. We are engineering a 15 million gallon, $6.5 million, at-grade water storage tank. We now contract with Sumner for our police dispatch, saving over $250,000 a year. We have hired three police officers and two more new officers are coming, along with five more city staff. We had a very successful "Bonney Lake Days" celebration, and opened one of the finest skateboard parks in the region. Because of council member Johnson's work, we are working on traffic calming projects. Council member King's work on the junk-car ordinance will allow us to get rid of some of the eyesores around our community. You seeŠwe are not done.

For five years now we have been involved as a "City Of Character," monthly emphasizing a "character quality." We are still working on a community "Character Council" to help promote these character qualities. We are providing character training for staff and employees. I was reminded of the importance of these "character qualities" this past year as I watched large, respectable companies, brought to their knees because of the lack of character. We saw it even affect the economy of our state. I want to continue to say to our citizens, businesses, and children, that character is important.

There is much to do. We are still working on the options to keep Lake Tapps a viable resource for us to enjoy. We have well over a quarter million dollars of park improvements planned. South Prairie Road will be upgraded. Construction is still moving at an incredible pace, both for residential and commercial. The senior center is on schedule to have improvements with Block Grant funds. Our new city hall annex has worked very well, but it is full! Our conversion to the new Eden financial computer system has taken incredible amounts of time and energy, but we are doing well in that process.

Great things are being accomplished right here. Bonney Lake is growing up. Thank you for your part in making this a wonderful city. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for helping us do great things. We have a wonderful future ahead of usŠ we are not done yet!

Mayor Bob Young

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