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Author Archives: Josh Penner

Mayor’s Corner: Administrative Highlights

Orting City Hall

 

As part of the Mayor’s Corner, my goal is to highlight the work and perspectives of the leadership team here at City Hall. 

In this update, our City Administrator, Mark Bethune is going to cover in greater detail an issue (facilities planning) I briefly brought up a couple of weeks ago in another Mayor’s Report article.

 


Administrator's Report

Mark Bethune, City Administrator


In 2015, the Fire District indicated to the City of Orting that they needed larger facilities. 

Originally the city built the fire service portion of the public safety building for a smaller, city-staffed, department.  Through an election, the citizens of Orting voted to join the district, and we were annexed in 2008. 

Today, the Fire District (OVFR) has a much more significant territory and higher staffing needs. 

 

A City and a Fire District Working Together

When OVFR approached the City of Orting in 2015 to discuss to discuss their facility challenges, the wheel was set in motion that would eventually result in them purchasing the entire public safety building.  The City agreed in late 2015 to sell them the public safety building, and the sale officially occurred January 2nd, 2018. 

At this point, the City has a lease to keep its police and court at the building until as late as 2020.  However, in 2017, the City hired an architect firm, Helix, to make recommendations for acquisition, location, and proposals for a new police station and court facilities. Helix was also directed to look at what it would take to bring the old City Hall up to current building code.  The old city hall has portions built in 1925, 1947 and 1975. 

 

A Community Approach to Facilities Use and Planning

A city and citizen committee was established in 2016 to make recommendations for new facilities, or facilities improvements, to the Council.  One of their strong suggestions was to keep City Hall and the Orting Police Department in the historic downtown central area. 

Two primary locations were put forward by this citizens committee for future facilities development.  Helix studied these sites in greater detail and recommended the McMahon property that has the old feed store at the corner adjacent to the south end of the central park area.  You may also recognize this building as the former attorney office that is adjacent to the current public safety building.   The City purchased this property in December 2017. 

 

Concerns About The Current City Hall

Helix determined that to bring the old City Hall up to code was almost as much as building a new facility and that the best investment for the City was to build new.

The overall cost of police, court, council and court chambers and city hall is estimated at $6.5 million.  The City has saved up about $3.5 million to put down but would have to borrow the rest of the funds and find a way to pay off the debt.

 

Do You Have Input?  We Would Love to Hear From You!

With Council approval, this project could begin as early as late 2018 or 2019. 

There will be extensive public meetings throughout the upcoming year, including an open house in the next few months to get citizen feedback on this plan. 

Now is a great time to let your councilmembers and Mayor know what your thoughts and concerns.


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Mayor’s Corner: A Look Forward at 2018

Mayor's Corner - Orting - 2018

It’s a brand new year and a new direction for Orting to go with it! 

On the surface, many of the things you love about Orting will remain the same. 

However, behind the scenes, we are ramping up for a very busy year in 2018.  

New Faces In Government

If you watch council meetings on TV or read about them online, you will see that there are some new faces in the room.  In addition to a new Mayor, we have one new councilmember, and the city council will be selecting another councilmember for the remaining open seat.

For those who are interested in becoming our next city-councilmember, please review the announcement here as soon as possible.  Applications need to be submitted to Jane Montgomery, City Clerk, by 4:00 pm on January 3rd, 2018.

Regarding my new role as Mayor, my most pressing goals are to develop a culture of leadership and communication within Orting.  This perspective means we will be working hard to engender a team approach to tackling issues here at City Hall and throughout the rest of our city.  We are going to be a team of teams, and in that vision, everyone has a part to play in continuing to make Orting a wonderful place to live, work, play, and do business.

PCTV Logo Pierce County TV – Find out when Orting council meetings are broadcast

Building On Success

Leaders of our past have left their fingerprints all over the city.  And if we were to establish a state of the city as it sits at the beginning of 2018, we’d say, “The City of Orting” is strong.  We have a balanced budget coming out of 2017, with healthy reserves.   We have a tremendous levee system on our Puyallup flank, and we are making steady progress in getting it certified through FEMA.  We have loyal and highly capable and professional public servants at all levels of our administration.   And we have a vision for managed growth.

Our Challenges & Opportunities

Managing growth is just one of our challenges as we establish our vision for 2018 and beyond.

Staffing Opportunities & Re-alignment Abound

Most pressing, today, is working through retirements in a couple of our key positions as well as adding a several brand new positions.  By the end of the Summer, we should have on staff a new City Engineer, Planner, Police Chief, Accountant, and Waste Water Treatment Plant Operator, and a new police officer or two!

Public Works Facility On The Horizon

In addition to the opportunities that these new faces will bring to Orting, we have a lot of facilities discussions to work our way through this year.

First on the list of facilities is a long-planned, and saved for, public works facility.

For decades, our leaders at the council and staff levels have been saving for and planning a new facility that would not only support our Public Works department but provide them with the type of support they can use to improve productivity in their everyday routines and levels of service for all citizens of Orting.

To date, the council and administrative staff have saved over $1million for this project. We are still exploring our options regarding how far this savings will take us.

City Hall Facility

In 2017, the city agreed to sell the existing public safety building to Orting Valley Fire & Rescue.  Orting Police Department and OVFR had been cohabitating the facility since its construction; however, the needs of OVFR had grown to a point where a discussion began about purchasing the building, in whole, from Orting.

At the end of the year, the sale of the public safety building became final, and OPD now leases the section of the facility that they utilize from OVFR.  This leasing agreement is not intended to be a permanent facilities solution for our OPD.

In 2017, while determining the future of an OPD station, the city council requested a more global facilities discussion be undertaken.  This exploration included a future facility for OPD, the City Hall facility where administrative and public works staff work, and the Multi-Purpose facility.  It quickly became clear that a cohesive (and informed) vision might be best to discuss with the expertise of an architectural firm that has worked through these challenges with other cities.

The city council retained an architectural firm and options were laid out for facilities.  In my opinion, the best of the options is a combined Orting Police Department and City Hall facility, placed either on the current site of City Hall or with frontage to the downtown park.

The price and financing plan of this new municipal center building for Orting are still conceptual.  The council and my staff will need to work through this as a team and present options to the public that are palatable and in line with the budget we have available. 

If you have questions about why we are discussing new facilities, how we would pay for them, or any other aspect of them, reach out to me and let’s work this issue through together.  Email me here.

Staying In Touch

My intent with the Mayor’s Corner is to keep the citizens of Orting involved and informed in how the city is working for them.  At times, we may not get things right.  If you’re reading these articles and scratching your head with the feeling that there is a better way to do things – I encourage you to reach out to me directly and seek (or provide) answers.

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110 Train Street SE - PO Box 489
Orting, WA 98360 - 360.893.2219