Recently while attending the Mayors Exchange with other mayors from across the State of Washington, sponsored by the Association of Washington Cities, (AWC) two questions were asked to the group of over 40 mayors: “What is the number one need in your community, and what is your New Year’s resolution?” The majority of the responses to the first question were clear: homelessness and housing needs.
I was feeling grateful that the City of Longview, by a majority council vote, established a pallet micro-community, helping alleviate some of the homeless issues in our community, and that we are addressing the housing crisis by establishing, through a City Council majority vote, a one-tenth of 1% sales tax to support affordable housing. This tax, (10 cents on $100) will grow to over $ 1 million and will be used to match State grants towards housing development by 8 times the value. Essentially, our $1 million could gain the city $8 million when granted state funds for affordable housing contracts.
To the second answer, I offered the response: I don’t typically declare New Year’s resolutions, but my plan this year is to be more intentional in my actions and offer more grace toward others.
I am looking forward to this year of 2023! To celebrate with the community the blessings of our 100 years, and the beautiful caring community we have. In the coming months, we will begin to see the benefits of the work of staff and council through adoption, by a majority of the council, the biennial city budget of over $95m for 2023-2024. This budget includes important new staff positions: (Business Systems Analyst in IT, Community Outreach Coordinator, Parks Maintenance Supervisor, and 2 Facilities Maintenance Technicians), and Capital Projects enhancements: (Mint Valley Golf Poles/Netting and Facilities Needs Assessment, Roy Morse Softball Field Lighting Replacements, McClelland Arts Building HVAC System Replacement, Park Maintenance Shop Siding, Police Garage Gate Replacements, Fire Station #82 Emergency Generator, John Null Park Tennis Court Lighting Replacements and Engineering Vertical File Systems). We may not have been able to include everything that everyone wanted, but by a majority council vote, we made fiscally responsible decisions for the needs to move the city forward.
In addition, approved by a Council majority vote, an increase to the Transportation Benefit Fund (TBD). The $20 fee increase for the vehicle registrations allows the City of Longview to continue replacing roads (not only by chip seal) but that are damaged beyond repair with new pavement. Roads the city has already replaced using TBD funds in the past few years are: a large section of 15th Avenue, Nichols North, Oregon Way, and California Way. Roads that will be replaced with the new TBD funds will be: NE Nichols, Glenwood, Columbia Heights, Oregon Way (RR to Beech St), 38th, Mt Solo and Oak Street.
Let’s rejoice in this new year, and whatever resolutions, plans, or goals you may have for 2023, may we all consider the opportunity of being a little more intentional and offer more grace towards others.
Mayor MaryAlice Wallis