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Tukwila mayor Jim Haggerton gives State of the City address

Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton. - COURTESY PHOTO
Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO

Tukwila Mayor Jim Haggerton gave his State of the City address at the May 21 City Council meeting.

Here is a copy of the speech:

Welcome Council President Seal, City Council members, City Adminstrator, City staff, and all of our citizens and visitors here this evening. I would like to spend a few minutes this evening sharing some highlights of the past year, and some exciting plans for the future.

Webster’s defines the word connection as “a link or bond; an association or relationship; to join or become joined…”. As the City that lies literally, at the crossroads of Interstates 5 and 405, encompasses the Green River, multiple bus routes, the Sounder commuter rail station, an Amtrak station, and a light-rail station, we are definitely... connected.

The City’s representatives just returned from meeting with our congressional representatives in Washington D.C. We learned that transportation and employment are the major focus areas for our federal legislators, and we shared updates on many of the projects in Tukwila that have benefited from federal, state and other funding and how these projects help the City improve and expand its connectivity, not only for our residents but for the entire region.

These are a few of the projects I’d like to highlight tonight:

Transit Center Site

The City of Tukwila and King County Metro are partnering to replace transit stops in the urban center with a new, safer on-street transit center which will include shelters with seating, enlarged pull outs for busses, better lighting and sidewalk areas and other improvements. The transit center will connect Burien, Tukwila and Renton to Sound Transit’s light rail and commuter rail service.

Pedestrian-Bicycle Bridge

In addition, a new pedestrian-bicycle bridge will be constructed to cross the Green River, connecting the Southcenter district core to the commuter rail station. This will improve public access to the station and provide a direct, safe walking experience. These projects will stimulate development of multi-family housing in the core of our Southcenter district.

Southcenter Parkway extension

The Southcenter Parkway Extension project, widening this two lane roadway to five lanes, between South 180th and South 200th St. will make the Tukwila South Development possible, providing up to 25,000 jobs, 1,700 housing units, and 10 million square feet of office and retail space. The road project should be substantially completed this summer. This would not have been possible without federal and state funds, and we thanked our legislators for their support of this project.

SW 27th St./Strander Blvd.

The Cities of Tukwila and Renton are working collaboratively to create an east/west connection between SW 27th St. in Renton and Strander Boulevard in Tukwila. This will include constructing an underpass under two railroads, and will provide better cross-Valley transportation access. The work will be completed in phases and while parts of the project are completed, much of the work remains and will require funding.

Southcenter Access Project

The Southcenter Access Project, which rebuilt the connection between Southcenter Parkway and Klickitat Drive, began in March and was completed ahead of schedule and under budget in October, 2011 has greatly improved traffic flow and improved connections from the I-5 off ramps entering the urban center. We said we could do it... and we did!!!

These projects would not have been possible without the support of our funding partners, and we shared our appreciation with our federal congressional representatives for past support, and our hopes for continued financial assistance in the years ahead.

City budget

As an update on the City’s financial status for 2011 - we began the year with projected general fund revenues of $51.4 million dollars – actual revenues were $50.1, for a difference of $1.3 million. This decrease represents a decline of 2.5% compared to budget.

One component of our revenue is property tax. For the year 2011, we budgeted property tax at $13.53 million and actual receipts came in slightly below budget by $102,000.

Another major revenue component is sales tax. The 2011 budget was built on a sales tax projection of $14.2 million, while actual sales tax received was $15.35 million – a difference of $1,146,000 or an increase of 8.1%.

Compared to city collection year 2010, sales tax, including mitigation was up by 13.6% (construction was up 51.7%; retail trade was up 5.9%; manufacturing was down 37.8%; transportation and warehousing were up 20.2% and wholesale trade was down 17.2%).

While revenues were slightly lower in some areas, we were able to keep general fund expenditures at 4.5% under budget, a difference of $2,403,000. City staff have been very diligent about keeping expenses below budgeted levels, and I’m very proud of the efforts they make on a daily basis, to reduce costs; from installing motion sensitive lights in conference rooms and common areas, cutting waste paper in half and reusing it for note paper; purchasing second-hand office supplies, etc. Even small savings add up, and make a difference to the City’s bottom line.

Our permitting activity was down slightly from 2010 – 219 fewer permits were issued, or 11%. However, the valuation of those permits represented only a 2% decrease.

A few weeks ago, the State adopted its 2012-2013 budget – no easy task and in fact, extra sessions were needed in order to finalize a balanced budget. The challenge of determining how fewer dollars get distributed when the needs are even greater, is complicated and emotional, and it is occurring in Washington D.C., Olympia, Tukwila, and in our own homes. Many economists believe market conditions are improving, but the recovery will continue to be slow and painful, and no one is exempt.

Tukwila International Blvd.

One of the City’s main transportation thoroughfares is Tukwila International Boulevard. The final phase of the Boulevard was completed in the spring of 2011. The development and completion of Tukwila Village will do much to bring vitality to this area. Early this year, the City Council approved the establishment of a Police Dept. bike patrol, with an emphasis on TIB. In addition, the Neighborhood Resource Center will be re-established this July, giving greater visibility and safety along the Tukwila International Boulevard corridor.

Tukwila Village Site Plan

Our progress on Tukwila Village is slow but steady and this time, we have real traction. In January, we received some good advice from Project For Public Spaces, an organization that designs public plazas around the world. This site plan reflects their advice and will make our plaza and public commons a more functional and fun place to be. I’m very pleased that our developer readily embraced these concepts. Since then we have been working through a number of details with our developer, the King County Library system, and some adjacent property owners. Our developer has his architects working on the detailed design and our attorneys are working on the development agreements. We have hired an appraiser to estimate the value of the library parcel and should have that in mid-June.

We plan to bring the development agreements to Council for approval in July, and the developer plans to have the first phase open before the end of 2014.

Tukwila Pool

Last fall, many of our citizens who have strong connections to the Tukwila Pool, were able to avoid closure of this facility, by working together with the City Council and our Parks and Recreation staff, to establish the Tukwila Metropolitan Park District, creating a park district in the City for the continued operation and maintenance of the pool.

Aerospace

One of the City’s largest employers in the region is the Boeing Company, with three groups (commercial, corporate operations and defense) all located in Tukwila. King County is the largest center for aerospace activity in the country with over 45,000 industry employees and more than 400 aerospace companies – many of these companies are also in Tukwila. Nowhere in the region or country are the assets as significant or better aligned to expand an already intense concentration of aerospace innovation and excellence. The City is a member of the recently formed King County Aerospace Alliance – a group that was convened to bring jurisdictions, public sector groups, businesses, schools and others together, to foster long-term economic vitality, growth and global competitiveness for the local aerospace industry. Tukwila’s connection with these and other regional groups are becoming increasingly important as we work together on issues that strengthen and build our communities.

Potential Annexation Area

In 1995, Tukwila designated 135 acres in the north Highline annexation area as its potential annexation area. The City recently received a petition from the property owners in the area, and this item will be coming forward to City Council for review and action. Seattle also designated this area as its potential annexation area in 1996 and is interested in annexing it. Due to the overlap issues, it will be critical that the City moves expeditiously to process the annexation petition... and we are! Recently, the King County Flood Control District agreed to provide valley cities with 75% of the funding needed for the removal of the temporary levees along the Green River – that is, the sandbags and Hesco containers. Our valley city partners have identified other potential district projects in the Green River Basin that can be deferred, so funding can be re-appropriated for the district’s use, to fund their cost share for the removal of the levees, which will re-open the trail system for bicycles, joggers, and in my case – walkers.

Strategic Planning Chart

In the next few weeks, you will be hearing about the City’s first ever, strategic planning effort. This plan will shape what it is like to live in Tukwila, work here or own a business here, or visit our community. The plan will guide the priorities and actions of the City and its partners for years to come. This will be an opportunity for everyone to contribute your ideas and energy as we describe our collective vision for the future of the community and plan the work needed to accomplish that vision. There will be multiple ways to get involved and have your say and we look forward to improving the connections we already have, and making new ones along the way. Whatever your reason for getting involved, we want to hear from you – so stay tuned!

My expectation from the Strategic Planning process would be to join our individual neighborhoods that are separated by freeways, major arterials and the Green/Duwamish River, into “One Tukwila” that we can all call home and be proud of.

Public safety

With regard to public safety - the number of police officers needed to control and cover all areas of the City is my highest priority. I will not be satisfied until all of our residents, businesses, shoppers and visitors feel safe in the City of Tukwila.

The relationships we continue to develop with our funding partners, neighboring communities, businesses, residents and visitors have never been more important. I am excited about the future of our City, and all it has to offer those who are fortunate enough to be one of the links in our community.

Thank You,

Jim Haggerton

Mayor, City of Tukwila

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