Enumclaw mayor shares 2023 difficulties, accomplishments in State of the City address

The city is still seeing increases in revenue, but increases are smaller than previous years.

How did Enumclaw fare last year, amid high interest rates and rising prices?

According to Mayor Molinaro, who gave his sixth annual State of the City address on April 15, “it was a bit rough, but not what it could have turned out to be” — but there were also numerous accomplishments to celebrate.

The forty minute speech covered everything from information services updates, police department modernizations, economic comparisons, upcoming projects, and more, so many that he had to limit what developments ones to focus on.

And given physical space in the paper, the Courier-Herald has to limit itself to even more cherry-pickling, but the full address can be watched at cityofenumclaw.net/CivicMedia?VID=416.

Despite Molinaro’s attempts to no longer make predictions for the rest of the year and beyond, he noted that city council and staff are taking “correct steps” to mitigate or avoid an “anticipated… shortfall next year,” perhaps given the overall slowdown of various economic markers in 2023.

Here are some of the highlights of the night.


Three ways to gauge how healthy cities are is by looking at sales tax, property tax, and utility fee collections; Molinaro said these three revenue streams make up the majority of the city’s budget.

According to the city, Enumclaw’s sales tax collections have been steadily rising since at least 2019; Enumclaw collected roughly $1.1 million more in 2023 than four years ago. It should be noted that the city collects roughly $8.50 per $1,000 spent in the city.

However, the rate of sales tax collection increases has fallen off a little bit; the city collected $392,000 more in sales tax from 2020 to 2021 (a 10.8% increase), but only about $265,000 more (a 6.6% increase) between 2021 and 2022.

That shrunk even more in 2023, when the city only collected $4.5 million in total sales taxes, just $211,000 more than the previous year (just less than a 5% increase).

“Though the increase is not as large as in past years, it is still a respectable sales tax increase for city revenue,” Molinaro said.

As for property taxes, the city received 10.6% of the total property taxes collected within the Enumclaw limits.

There was a 6.10% increase in property tax collections between 2020 and 2021, but virtually no increase from 2022 to 2023; last year saw a 3.5% increase over the previous year.

“… Revenue growth does continue, however at a much lower pace than what was planned for and what was experienced in the past,” Molinaro continued.

Combined, sales tax and property tax revenue grew under 2% between 2022 and 2023, whereas revenue averaged a 7.4% increase year-to-year between 2019 and 2022.

Utility collection increases might be the healthiest for the city; according to past budget documents, the city collected 9% more in utility fees in 2024 over 2023, whereas the increase from 2022 to 2023 was 4%, and the increase from 2021 to 2022 about 2.8%.

Molinaro said that some of the increased revenue is coming from 4.8% rate increases in the sewer and water utilities, though he noted that the city hasn’t increased rates since 2020 for these utilities, even though they were able to do so.

“I don’t think you see that often in city government,” he said.

A natural gas rate increase of 2.5% was necessary for the city to be able to comply with the state Climate Commitment Act, and a 7% increase in solid waste was also required in order to keep up with the county’s increase in dumping rates.


Building and business permits are also important for the city; beyond permit fees bolstering the city’s budget, it could possibly increase sales tax collections in the long term, if Enumclaw’s population continues to grow.

In general, building permit approvals have been falling steadily for the last six years; 2018 saw a total of 513, but that fell to 385 in 2022.

But 2023 saw a small bump up to 409 approved permits, which brought in an estimated permit revenue increase of $287,000, more than the city predicted in its 2023 budget.

The number of business license applications have seen the same trend — 508 in 2018, and 354 in 2022. Molinaro said the slowdown in past could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year saw 409 issued permits.


Molinaro celebrated numerous accomplishments the city’s various departments achieved over the years — some small, some large, but all having an impact on the city and the community, he said. Here’s a few:


The city of Enumclaw donated $60,000 to the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation for the continuation of its free student counseling program, which serves three of the Enumclaw School District’s schools.

Additionally, funds were granted to Plateau Outreach Ministries for its rental assistance ($30,000) and utility voucher ($15,000) programs.

The Plateau Kids Network also received a $10,000 grant; this nonprofut is mostly known for its Holiday Helping Hands program, which helps low-income families celebrate Christmas with presents for kids and food for meals, but it also provides immediate need services to families in crisis and free bike helmets to kids.

The city saved nearly $28,000 in premiums for being a WellCity for the 13th time in a row.

And finally, the city council moved to put a $19.5 million bond to build a community center on the April 23 special election, which was after print deadline. This was a project that has been discussed by elected officials and city staff since the 1990s, according to Councilmember Chance La Fleur.

Information Services

Operating in the background is the city’s Information Services department, which helps the city’s tech run smoothly.

One project IS is tacking is decommissioning analog phone lines that were causing the outages.

“We are saving thousands of dollars each year through this project,” Molinaro said.

IS is also working on upgrading the city’s financial and utility billing systems, which are more than two decades old and no longer supported by the software company.

Finally, you may have noticed numerous upgrades to the city’s website, another IT accomplishment that aims to help city residents access government information and give visitors information about local tourism opportunities.

Parks and Rec

One of the Parks and Rec department’s accomplishments this last year was helping the city be honored as a Tree City, which is an award given to municipalities that demonstrate higher levels of tree care, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

The department also helped upgrade the skatepark at Dwight Garrett Park, and is currently upgrading the city pool.


Molinaro said that there are numerous projects residents can look forward to.

For example, the IS department, working with the Enumclaw Police Department, is working on setting up a computer system for ESD’s new drone program for data storage.

The police department is also expected to get an overhaul, which aims to improve functionality in the booking area, add space for a Medically Assisted Treatment program, and construct a private area for inmates to meet with attorneys, City Administration Chris Searcy said in a later interview. Construction is hoped to begin in the summer.

The Expo Center’s north parking lot is also expected to be worked on to improve drainage; a grant was given to the city for final designs, and construction is expected to be in the summer as well.

In fact, the Expo Center gets two bites of the proverbial apple, as the Field House playground will be replaced, as well as at Flensted Park.

Finally, as previously reported, a one-roundabout will soon be constructed on 244th Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue.