Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick and members of the Sultan City Council said farewell to Community Development Director Bob Martin last Thursday, June 26, at Sultan City Hall. Martin is retiring after working for the city of Sultan for six years.
Eslick presented Martin with a Certificate of Appreciation to acknowledge his contributions to the city during the last six years. Martin addressed council and thanked the mayor for her supportive leadership.
“Mayor Eslick has provided guidance and support and leadership that truly is rare,” said Martin. Martin shared that in the five other jurisdictions in which he’d worked during his 37 years as a planner, he had not encountered the integrity, honesty and meaningful support that he found in Sultan under Mayor Eslick’s guidance.
Martin just purchased a new trailer and plans on spending time traveling with his wife. At the top of the agenda is visiting their brand new grand-baby, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. The couple’s next stop will be in Ritter, Ore., which features a small ghost town and natural hot springs. Owned by a long-time friend, Martin will be helping to establish a Christian retreat there.
Something that came as no surprise to Martin’s colleagues is the fact that one of the main things he’ll be assisting his friend with in the Ritter project will be permit processing.
Martin’s last day will be on Monday, June 30, and he’ll spend the day helping to ease the transition for Sultan’s new Staff Planner, Stacy Macgregor.
Macgregor, who lives in Gold Bar, left a planning position at the city of Tukwila to accept the job in Sultan. She has been a planner for over seven years, and has five children age three to 22.
Macgregor introduced herself to city council and stated that she is excited to embark on her new journey and is looking forward to spending less time on the road.
“I’m very excited to have a 10-minute commute,” said Macgregor.
The subject of law enforcement came up during the portion of the council meeting set aside for citizen comments. Sultan resident Jerry Gibson of Dyer Road addressed the council stating that he feels that the current level of law enforcement in the city is insufficient.
“I think we all pretty much agree we need more police here in Sultan,” said Gibson. “Everyone that I talk to wants to know when it’s going to get done.”
Gibson’s sentiment has been echoed by other residents who have been plagued by car prowls, illegal drug activity, petty theft and other recent incidents such as the Sultan Pharmacy burglary. During a citywide block watch meeting last month, the cry for additional law enforcement, plus quicker 911 response times, was unmistakable.
At the city’s follow up block watch meeting which took place on Wednesday, June 25, again residents inquired as to what it would take to secure an additional Sultan-designated officer.
Councilmember Jeffrey Beeler addressed Gibson’s concerns.
“I was actually on the phone this week with our chief talking about more police,” said Beeler. “In a lot of respects I do feel we need another officer.”
Beeler said what he learned from the Sheriff’s Office is that the difficulty with assigning an additional officer, aside from the monetary implications, is the fact that 80 to 90 percent of the time the officers are typically waiting for something to happen.
“And then there’s that short small window where all of a sudden we need two or three of them at once,” said Beeler.
He then discussed the benefit of having the Snohomish County East Precinct established in Sultan. Though the city’s contract with the Sheriff’s Department provides for one patrol deputy assigned to the city of Sultan 24-hours per day, seven days a week; the city actually has access to additional officers who can be used as backup during high-risk calls such as violent crimes or domestic disturbances.
Benefits to having the precinct in Sultan aside, Beeler said that he still feels that having an additional officer assigned to Sultan would be beneficial to the community. During the times the officer wasn’t responding to calls, he stated, they could be on patrol, establishing a more prominent law enforcement presence in the city.
“He or she can be in our community, driving around and participating more,” said Beeler. “That visual is a distraction or a deterrent to those who want to do bad in our city.”
Beeler also stated that the cost is an issue.
“There is a huge cost, so that’s something that we have to consider,” said Beeler.
Councilmember Joe Neigel had a different perspective on the topic.
“I don’t necessarily agree that we need more law enforcement. What we have assigned to the community and what we’re able to leverage with the precinct office being here, I think, is sufficient,” said Neigel. “But I do think one thing that’s deficient is a strategy to increase perception of safety in the community.”
Councilmember Rocky Walker agreed with Neigel.
Councilmember Bob McCarty has been working to establish a community watch program, as a supplemental program to work in concert with the city’s newly revamped block watch organization. McCarty has been in the process of renovating two former Sheriff’s Department bicycles that can be used to patrol the city and is looking for volunteers. To volunteer, contact Bob McCarty at email@example.com or call the city of Sultan at (360) 793-2231.
There will be a Community Summit Task Force meeting to continue carrying the momentum forward. Those who are interested in proactively seeking a solution to the city’s issues by joining the task force are welcome to attend on Wednesday, July 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Sultan City Hall.
DOT CRACKS DOWN ON HIGHWAY SIGNS
Sultan City Administrator Ken Walker announced that due to a complaint received by the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT), all temporary signage located along U.S. 2 in the DOT right-of-way will need to be removed. This includes all political signage, as well as signs for businesses, school events and all other activities.
“Last year the city’s rules overrode the state’s rules inside city limits,” said Walker. “That doesn’t happen anymore. Now the state rules supersede the city’s rules and the state rules are that no signs are allowed that are not on your own property. That means everybody.”
Certain permanent signage located on private property will still be permissible, but only after the sign owner files for a DOT permit and pays a $300 non-refundable permit application fee for each sign structure.
The city of Sultan will start notifying local businesses right away to inform them of the policy change. All temporary signage along U.S. 2 in the city of Sultan will need to be removed as soon as possible, or the businesses could face a $100 per day penalty.
“I hope this doesn’t have negative impact on the businesses,” said Walker.
Walker will be obtaining additional clarification from the DOT. Residents and business owners should contact Sultan City Hall at (360) 793-2231, or the Washington State Department of Transportation at 360-705-7296 with any questions. Additional information can be located on the DOT website at: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/operations/traffic/signs/.