Enumclaw mayor delivers first “State of the City” address

The local pool, state Route 410, and a downtown pavilion were each mentioned.

Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro mingles with the audience following his Feb. 19 “State of the City” address. Kevin Hanson photo

Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro mingles with the audience following his Feb. 19 “State of the City” address. Kevin Hanson photo

Covering a multitude of topics in less than an hour, Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro delivered his first “State of the City” address the evening of Feb. 19.

Standing behind a podium in City Hall, Molinaro addressed a small crowd and the ECTV camera that streamed the event live. The mayoral address is now available for viewing on the city website.

Molinaro talked dollars and cents, covered both the challenges and success stories of municipal government and briefly outlined the administration’s agenda for the rest of the year.

A “big item” to be decided this year, the mayor said, is the fate of the aging Enumclaw Aquatic Center. A citizen committee has made its recommendations, industry professionals have weighed in and, now, it’s up to the city to chart a course of action.

Alternatives, Molinaro said, include everything from maintaining the facility in “fair” condition to building an entirely new pool. Between those extremes are options to keep making minor repairs or tackle major projects. Each option carries its own price tag.

Other city plans for this year include addressing City Hall, which will hit the century mark in just a few years; making improvements to buildings at the Enumclaw Expo Center; exploring the possibility of a downtown pavilion; and promoting ways to increase lodging capacity in the city.

In the bigger picture, Molinaro said, the city will continue to lobby for improvements to state Route 410. Decisions will be made above the city level, but will impact the dreaded Enumclaw-to-Buckley afternoon commute.

DOLLARS AND CENTS

Molinaro’s talk of the city budget began with a look at utility rates, an item that hits every household and business. On a positive note, he said, the city was able to decrease sewer rates by 10 percent; on the flip side, garbage rates jumped 7.8 percent. Elsewhere, rates for water and natural gas stayed even from a year ago.

Keeping things positive, Molinaro noted that city property taxes dropped by nearly 7 percent from 2018 levels. At City Hall, he said, reserve funds are being stockpiled to protect against an economic downturn that could impact the city’s ability to provide services at expected levels.

Molinaro also provided a quick look at various city department, what they did in 2018 and where they’re headed.

• Administration: Enumclaw again received a WellCity Award, which reduces annual insurance premiums by $21,000 this year. The city’s employee wellness programs have netted the award 11 times in the past dozen years; the mayor added that Enumclaw has qualified for the award again in 2019.

• Police Department: The biggest change came at the top, as city leadership called off a nationwide hunt for a new police chief and promoted Bub Heubler to the department’s top job.

Molinaro also detailed a joint agreement with the Enumclaw School District that has a school resource officer patrolling the halls at Enumclaw High and making her presence felt at the district’s two middle schools as well.

The department also was reorganized following Heubler’s promotion and has continued agreements with neighboring communities for jail occupancy.

• Public Works: “They were busy last year,” Molinaro said, rattling off surface rehabilitation projects on Gossard Street and Kibler Avenue and a drainage improvement project on Jewell Street.

The department’s capital improvement projects totaled $4.2 million during 2018, the mayor said.

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