MUKILTEO, Washington, September 28, 2021 – Since Mukilteo City Council returned to virtual meetings on September 20 following a September 10 recommendation from the health district to “consider delaying or moving non-essential events and meetings to a virtual format”, the board returned to discuss the future of remote meetings, at their special meeting on September 27. All council members were present except for council member Joe Marine, who advised council he would be absent and was excused.
Addressing the numerous comments from the public at the September 20 meeting regarding the appropriate notice of the move from in-person to virtual, Board Chair Sarah Kneller said she would be open to a discussion, with the Board , putting in place policies on how and when to announce moving to virtual meetings.
City Councilor Elizabeth Crawford added that council may enter a face-to-face meeting “rhythm” or enter a virtual meeting “rhythm”, but the move from in-person to virtual disrupts that rhythm. Crawford said she would be comfortable giving the decision to the president or vice president to decide when to hold virtual or in-person meetings, but Gregerson added that the responsibility rests with the mayor.
Board member Richard Emery added that he preferred face-to-face meetings, but the ability to attend remotely allows board members more flexibility to attend, especially when they are on vacation or away. from the city.
“The ability to meet remotely over the phone has been a staple of counseling for decades,” said Emery. “I support the idea that the board can attend remotely.”
Board Chair Kneller added that when new hardware and software is installed in the board room, she would like hybrid meetings to be offered.
“I think it would be a smart sustainability for the city to be able to adapt to any configuration without hampering the productivity of the meeting,” Kneller said. “I would advocate this design keeping in mind that we would be able to organize hybrid meetings. ”
Mukilteo residents had the opportunity to share their thoughts which were almost evenly divided, with both sides acknowledging the pros and cons of virtual and in-person formats.
“I think it’s good when the board is in person with exceptions. I hope you will continue to allow the public to express themselves via zoom, ”said Sharon Damoff, resident of Mukilteo.
“Try to keep things at bay for as long as possible, at least until public health says it’s okay, because they know the science, they know what’s safe,” said Joe Kunzler, who has also advocated for a hybrid meeting format.
“I strongly support face-to-face meetings,” said Charlie Pancerewski, resident of Mukilteo, who added that the ability to see facial reactions, city presentations and the ability to speak to meeting attendees are all benefits for in-person meetings. .
Ultimately, Mayor Gregerson said the discussion of whether to keep meetings remote, come back in person, or possible hybrid options for the future would be discussed later at future meetings.
Capital improvement plan
The board also returned to review the Capital improvement plan
(CIP). Shawn Hunstock, CFO, led the discussion on the previously reviewed ICP 2022-2027 on August 19, September 7, and more recently September 16.
The Growth Management Act requires the local jurisdiction to include an element of fixed assets (RCW 36.70A.070), one of which is a plan of at least six years that will finance these fixed assets within the limits of the planned financing capacities and clearly identify the sources of public funds for these purposes.
For the town of Mukilteo, capital assets mainly include transportation, surface water, parks and municipal buildings (eg police station, fire stations, town hall, Rosehill community center). Other fixed assets (eg sewer, water, schools) are provided by other government agencies and are not included in the six-year PIC of the town of Mukilteo.
“If the city is looking for feedback, I’ll be consistent with the feedback I’ve given; we need to include all physical structures, we need to consider moving towards a smart city in the future, and we need to include our information technology both hardware and software. These are capital assets that we need to monitor, monitor and update to stay abreast of the needs of citizens as we move into the future, ”said City Councilor Champion.
Elizabeth Crawford asked if $ 500 per year would be enough to maintain the off-road motorcycle jumping course and if the amount was based on data. Jeff Price, Director of Recreation and Culture, responded that maintaining an off-road motorcycle course is relatively straightforward and cost-effective and that the data they use for that $ 500 per year figure is based on on similar towns, like Kirkland, which have a similar park.
“I would hate if we had a situation like the dog park where we now have to invest a lot more money than planned – to be proactive and learn from this new project would be great,” Crawford said.
A further Council discussion, public hearing and adoption of the CIP are currently scheduled for November 8.