By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
According to Interim City Manager Landy Manuel, State Representative Mark Harmsworth requested that he be given time at the March 24, 2015, Mill Creek City Council meeting to discuss “legislative agenda topics of concern.”
The Washington State Legislature is just past the mid-point of this year’s session and there are many pieces of pending legislation that concern Mill Creek.
State legislators like Representative Harmsworth are visiting their communities in order to better understand what their priorities should be.
Although the Mill Creek City Council doesn’t have a published legislative priority list, Mill Creek is a member of the Association of Washington Cities, the non-profit organization that according to their charter “represents Washington's cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch and with regulatory agencies.”
The Association of Washington Cities is focused on issues that make a difference to their members’ fiscal well being in this time of squeezed budgets. Here are some of their budget priorities that are important to Mill Creek:
- Shared revenues. Maintain the revenue sharing partnership between state and cities and restore local liquor tax revenue. Revenue was taken away from cities in past legislatures to balance the budget. (HB 1517 and SB 5896)
- Infrastructure funding. Restore resources to the Public Works Trust Fund. This fund can be used to help build the East Gateway Urban Village and is no longer available because of state budget issues. (HB 1661 and HB 1992)
As ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation Committee Senator Steve Hobbs champions Snohomish County’s priorities. He was instrumental in adding the following two projects beneficial to Mill Creek into the transportation plan passed by the Republican-controlled Senate early in March:
- SWIFT II Bus Rapid Transit expansion. The first new route will run from Canyon Park to the Boeing Plant in Everett and have stops on the Bothell-Everett Highway in Mill Creek. The Senate’s transportation plans includes $2 million in 2017-2019, $2 million in 2019-2021, $3 million in 2021-2023, and $3 million in 2023-2025.
- 35th Street SE. This Mill Creek project is engineered to eliminate shutting down the road during flooding, which frequently occurs in winter. The Senate’s transportation plan includes $4 million in 2017-2019, which will pay for most of the project.
After the plan’s passage Senator Hobbs said, “After years of conversations and negotiations that started and then stalled without a deal, there is certainly a feeling of satisfaction that we were able to deliver this critical deal to the people of this state.”
“This plan will continue to have its critics. I am one of them. No deal is perfect; that’s the nature of compromise."
“What is important is that we’ve taken a crucial step forward and now the House will have the opportunity to consider this plan.”
Representative Harmsworth is a member of the House Transportation Committee that will be reviewing the Senate transportation revenue package (ESSB 5987 and ESSB 5988), on Thursday, March 26, at 3:30 pm.
Hopefully the Mill Creek projects will advance with the transportation revenue package as it makes its way through the legislature.