Meet Mayor Joe
Mayor Joachim Pestinger
Term expires December 31, 2017
2016 is moving on quickly and I wanted to update you on our City’s achievements. We are still basking in the success of completing the Puyallup River setback levee. Pierce County refers to us a “the little city that could”. We’ve received multiple awards and the latest was from the International Right of Way Association granting Orting the Project of the Year award. It took us 7 years of planning and seeking funds. The citizens of Orting helped fund this project with their monthly storm water utility payments.
We are expecting construction to begin this fall or early spring on a left turn lane on Washington Avenue at Whitesell. I suspect that you are as frustrated as I am in trying to get to Safeway and other stores in Pioneer Village, or getting stuck in a long line behind those trying to make that left turn. The City received a million dollar grant from the State to fund most of this project and the rest of the expense comes from impact fees paid by transportation developers.
Street repairs and maintenance continues with chip sealing. Chip seals give a road an additional 8-10 years of service. We are trying to do about 1.5 to 2 miles a year. We have 25 miles of streets in our city. Our Council and community decided a few years ago that we weren’t going to allow our streets to fall into disrepair like we see in many other Washington communities. The $20 car tab fee you pay each year is paying for this.
We are now moving into budget season. We’ve done well so far this year but that is mostly attributed to significant new home construction. One day that will end so we don’t want to build a budget based on those revenues. We will be looking at the potential of selling the current public safety building to the Fire District as they need to expand. If this occurs we will need to build a new police station and a place for council and court to conduct business. We are having our city planner conduct a facilities strategic planning process to help us determine the best path for this work. We will have a committee that is made up of citizens and other stakeholders to help us make the best decision. We are a growing city with an old infrastructure and we need to make updates. One of the alternatives I favor is to tear down the old city hall and build a two story building that can offer one stop service from the City.
I also want to appeal to all families of Orting to make sure you prepare for potential hazards. Our state, particularly the west side, is subject to several hazards including earthquake, volcanic eruption and potential mud flows called Lahars.
Every family should have 14 days of food and water available to ensure your ability to make it through a hazardous event. You should also have an evacuation plan that includes a destination and a place to stay. The recent statewide “Cascadia Rising” drill showed how vulnerable Washington, Oregon and California are to extreme earthquakes. Your evacuation plan is best carried out by walking out of town initially and getting to high ground. If you feel you are too far away from Calistoga Street and the current plan to get to the Pierce County Rock Quarry, you might consider riding a bike. Trying to drive out might put you into a gridlock situation.
Finally I hope you have enjoyed the City-wide events this year, including the Daffodil Parade, the Kingsmen Car Show, Summer-fest, the Farmers Market, and many others. We can still look forward to the Red Hat Days, Pumpkin Fest and the tree-lighting at the bell tower.
Wishing you and yours the very best,
~Mayor Joe Pestinger