By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
2014 PRELIMINARY BUDGET
Mayor Zimmerman presented council with a preliminary budget for 2014.
In his proposed budget, the general fund has been increased to include the capitol development costs for the North Kelsey property, economic development, and an update to the non-transportation elements of the city’s comprehensive plan. It also includes a new Municipal Court Department, which is being funded in part from previous years’ photo enforcement revenues.
Two new police officer positions are included, to be funded through the new voter-approved public safety sales tax levy. One new parks maintenance position is added, along with one new planning position. Also added to the 2014 general fund personnel budget is a court administrator for the new Municipal Court Department. The position is funded for six months and the city is anticipating that it be filled effective July 1, 2014.
“There are many exciting things on Monroe’s horizon. The new Providence Medical Center is opening. Walmart will be coming to town in 2014. New housing developments are in the works. The new cable park is coming to Lake Tye. We are on the right track for emerging from the great recession. Our financial house is in order, and we are poised to grow with this great community,” wrote Mayor Zimmerman in his budget message.
Zimmerman’s budget proposal does not include any increases to property taxes.
The City Council will now respond to the proposal, and suggest any changes the council members deem important. Presentations and discussions of the 2014 preliminary budget are scheduled for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS
Monroe Mayor Robert Zimmerman read a proclamation at city council last week designating October 2013 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The proclamation was read in recognition of the work being done by the different domestic violence programs and victims’ service providers, and in memory of Jacoba Ramirez-Rodriguez, who was fatally stabbed by her husband in downtown Monroe on May 24. Ramirez-Rodriguez had been attempting to serve her husband with a protection order.
There will be a candlelight vigil to honor Ramirez-Rodriguez and other domestic violence victims on Monday, Oct. 14 from 7–8 p.m. at St. Mary of the Valley Catholic Church. The mayor will read the proclamation at the vigil, and the service will be provided in English and Spanish. St. Mary of the Valley is located at 601 W. Columbia St. in Monroe.
EVERETT COMMUNITY COLLEGE DAY
Mayor Zimmerman proclaimed Oct. 8 as Everett Community College Day in Monroe, in recognition of the school’s expanded East County Campus.
The Everett Community College East County Campus is located at 14090 Fryelands Blvd. on the third floor of the Lake Tye Building. The college has expanded its course offerings, making it possible for students to complete a 90-credit degree in two or three years.
The East County Campus offers academic classes, corporate training, eLearning computer lab, advising and registration and administrative offices.
“It’s exciting to see how Everett Community College is growing here and it’s great to be partnering with them,” said Mayor Zimmerman.
Everett Community College Day in Monroe also celebrates all those who have attended the school and have gone on to make a difference in their communities.
MONROE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2013 SUMMARY
Monroe Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Annique Bennett presented a 2013 summary of the Chamber’s activities to city council. Bennett has been with the chamber for just over a year.
“This first thing we did this year was start with a strategic plan,” said Bennett.
The Chamber altered its tourism strategy by establishing its role as the official Destination Marketing and Management Organization for Monroe. The city made an investment of $30,000 which was generated from lodging taxes to assist the Chamber in its reorganization efforts.
“We decided that it was best for us to step back from a lot of new event promotions and production and really focus on what was already happening for Monroe,” said Bennett.
The money helped in the development of the Chamber’s new website, ChooseMonroe.com, which rolled out in January. The website has vastly improved the Chamber’s ability to work in partnership with event producers and tourism organizations, and has increased their capacity for promoting and supporting events.
The Chamber has been strategic with the new website; they have cleaned up their online environment, deleted old sites that no longer functioned, and worked hard to establish and promote ChooseMonroe.com. The site is mobile-ready and does not require the download of a mobile application.
The Chamber also opened a new Visitor Information Center, located at the Mason’s Lodge in downtown Monroe. The information center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Bennett was excited to announce that stunt artist Mike Buse, also known as Mr. Dizzy, has been recently appointed to the Chamber Board of Directors and is one of four stuntmen who will be featured on the History Channel’s television show American Daredevils this fall.
“He’s really passionate about business in Monroe,” said Bennett. “He’s the real deal.”
Originally from Monroe, Buse got his start at doing stunts at Evergreen Speedway, eventually branching out to different racetracks around the western United States. The television show, American Daredevils, is premiering on Oct. 22.
“He’s really excited about sharing his fame,” said Bennett.
Washington State Senator Kirk Pearson attended the council meeting in support of the Chamber. Pearson, who lives in Monroe, is a member of the Monroe Chamber. He enjoyed reminiscing with council about his first foray into the political arena 24 years ago, when he served on the Monroe Planning Commission.
He expressed his appreciation to the mayor and council for their willingness to serve the community.
“Thank you all for what you do and thank you for your support of the chamber,” said Pearson.
Pearson also took the time to wish Mayor Zimmerman well.
“Mayor, I know that you’re retiring, and I wanted to thank you for your service,” said Pearson.