It seems every blog is running some sort of Top 10 list as we near the end of 2012. So, since we have been quiet this month with not much happening within the city and the fact that we have to give into blog peer pressure to create a Top 10 list, we present the 2012 Top 10 Puyallup City Council moments in reverse order.
10. 2012 Budget Passed – Another tough economic year meant another tough budget for the city. This council and interiem city manager did an outstanding job combing through the budget piece by piece to find any savings and fluff that could be cut. There was no major staff changes and no tax increase. The presentation of the budget was done in a professional, transparent way. A step in the right direction.
9. Direction to sell city-owned property at 107 & 111 North Meridian – One way the council looked to improve the city’s coffers was to sell unused or under-used city owned property. The two addresses listed above are for all intents and purposes surplus to the city, although they do currently have occupants. The city should not be in the real estate business and competing with downtown building owners for renters. While the properties are not sold yet, listing them gets the city one step closer to some cash in the bank.
8. Cultivating Puyallup is done – One controversial plan being pushed by the city’s planning department was titled “Cultivating Puyallup.” The plan called for farmland to be purchased, then instead of being developed, that land would be left undeveloped but the devopler would earn “credits” for future development downtown in terms of extra height to the building or less parking required. It was developed to increase denisity downtown and preserve farmland within or outside the city. Fortunately, the majority of the council saw it’s flaws and put this plan out to pasture.
7. Streamside Systems’ Presentation – Clark’s Creek has been flooding its’ banks for many years but 2012 seemed to be worse. Even in the middle of our record-breaking rainless summer the creek spread outside its’ banks for many weeks. With the yearly weed-cutting only a temporary solution to a permanent problem some hard-working citizens arranged to have a company from Ohio come out to present about a solution to the elodea and silt problems that plague the creek. This option seems like a real possibility to alleviate this annoying problem if the city can get all of the interested parties to agree to give it a whirl.
6. Puyallup Fish Hatchery Added to the Historic Register – When word came in that Pacific Seafoods was planning of leasing our hatchery here in downtown Puyallup it was once again up to citizens and a few council members to step up and put a stop to it. They were successful and now the hatchery has a non-profit organization to help make improvements to the property. In addition to that, the hatchery was added to local and state historic registers so that it will maintan it’s proper look and purpose.
5. Downtown Parking Preserved – The location of the downtown Sounder station was poorly chosen. But that choice didn’t happen in 2012. The effects of that choice are still very prevalent in 2012 though. In order to keep downtown business owners and shoppers happy the council did what was right and did not give any street parking to commuters. With hundreds of spots located in parking lots there was no reason to give into pressure from many non-city residents to make changes to the positive parking plan implemented last year.
4. Initiative & Referendum Passed – This was one of the many battles citizens and some council members have been fighting to get for many years. Finally, in 2012 Puyallup residents were given these powers by a surprising 7-0 vote. Even Councilmember Kent Boyle, who was adamently opposed to this just last year, supported this item. Makes you question whether he truly believes citizens deserve these powers or was he just to lazy to fight for what he believes when he knew it was an uphill battle.
3. Rick Hansen Elected Mayor – 2012 brought us our first mayor not named Turner, Deal, or Malloy in what seems like a 100 years. Deputy Mayor Knutsen, who was next in line to become mayor based on council rules, gave up that seat in order for Mr. Hansen to serve as mayor in his last two years on the council. Mayor Hansen has run clean, professional meetings and still has another 12 months as our city’s cerimonal leader.
2. City Manager Ralph Dannenberg Fired – Mr. Dannenberg was a welcome change from the ruthless, cocky attitude of former city manager Gary McLean. Unfortunately, he also wasn’t what the city needed to really move forward. He mishandled, mismanaged, and lied too many times for the majority of this council. We don’t see him being successful in his recent ploy to get more money out of the city.
1. The Black Cloud on the Council was Lifted – Steve Vermillion. John Hopkins. John Knutsen. Rick Hansen. John Palmer. Tom Swanson. Kent Boyle. Seven independent councilmembers. Seven representatives that believe they are doing what is best for the city. Seven people who are intelligent enough to form their own opinions. For many years the council minority of Dill, Hansen, and Knutsen were labeled as negative. Yet, they and others who have a similiar philospohy are continually elected and re-elected. The ones labeled as positive were thrown out or quit, and look what happened: The council meetings are no longer a battle between two sides but instead are a productive, professional meeting that helps our city progress. Makes you wonder who were the negative ones.
So, there you have it. The Top 10 Puyallup City Council moments of 2012. We can’t wait to see what 2013 brings us.