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.
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.