2018-2019 City Council Goals and Work Plan
The City’s Comprehensive Plan states, “Mercer Island is not an island unto itself.” While we are part of a complex regional system, we strive to maintain local control, preserve our safe, livable residential community, continuously provide and improve quality municipal services, foster fiscal responsibility, value excellence in education, act as stewards of the environment, and endeavor to be open and transparent and to balance the economic, environmental, and social well-being of our entire community.
The City Council holds an annual planning session, where they discuss successes over the past year and identify priorities and goals (“the what”) for the upcoming year. The Leadership Team takes that direction and creates a work plan (“the how”). Through a collaborative process, the Leadership Team develops budgets, capital improvement plans, departmental work plans, and special projects aimed at accomplishing the community’s vision and Council goals.
Goal 1. Prepare for Light Rail and Improve On- and Off-Island Mobility
In October 2017, the Mercer Island City Council approved the Sound Transit Settlement Agreement which provides just over $10 million to offset the impacts of the East Link light rail project and partially compensate for permanent impacts. The Council’s goal is to expand access to transit through a range of options such as improving pedestrian/cyclist connectivity, parking, and innovative technologies and services (e.g., ride share, bike-share, micro-transit, etc.). This goal includes engaging with the community on how best to allocate the $10 million settlement agreement.
- Convene a design charrette of agencies and stakeholders to provide input regarding traffic flow in the North Mercer Way Park & Ride area, and to address bicycle, pedestrian, vehicular, and transit connectivity on streets surrounding the light rail station.
- Partner with the community to identify best solutions for safe and effective bicycle and pedestrian connections to the station.
- Coordinate Aubrey Davis Park Master Plan planning and community engagement with development of the light rail pedestrian and bicycle design.
- Examine regional smart mobility initiatives and technology needs to prepare for the future.
- Pilot first/last mile solutions (ride share, micro-transit, bike-share, etc.)
- Explore options related to private commuter shuttles.
- Explore transit solution partnerships with King County Metro.
- Identify site for long term parking solution for Island residents.
- Implement traffic mitigation projects to address impacts of the East Link light rail project.
- Work with WSDOT to implement improvements to I-90 access ramps.
- Work with the State Delegation and Congressional Representatives to identify and implement state and federal remedies to improve access to I-90.
- Explore necessary Comprehensive Plan and Town Center amendments to support integration of the Mercer Island Station into the Town Center.
- Participate in the Regional Trail Steering Committee to ensure enhancements of the I-90 trail corridor.
Goal 2. Maintain Quality of Life and Essential Services and Infrastructure by Addressing the City’s Financial Challenges
Delivering services and well-maintained infrastructure is key to shaping Mercer Island’s exceptional quality of life; however, it is becoming increasingly challenging with declining revenues and increasing costs. Nevertheless, advance planning, including life-cycle cost analysis, for repair and replacement and changing future needs, are wise investments in time and money.
- Conduct a robust community outreach process regarding the City’s financial challenges, engaging the Community Advisory Group (CAG), Island community groups, and residents through a series of public meetings and Telephone Town Halls.
- Address the projected operating deficits in the 2019-2020 biennium and beyond.
- Administer the biennial citizen satisfaction survey.
- Prepare rate studies for the City’s utilities (water, sewer, stormwater, and Emergency Medical Services).
- Maintain and increase Thrift Shop annual revenue growth.
- Identify funding for renovation and expansion of the Public Works/Maintenance Center.
- Continue to identify and implement organizational effectiveness and operational efficiencies.
Goal 3. Deepen the City’s Commitment to Sustainability and Livability
In 2006, the City Council voted to add goals and policies regarding sustainability to its Comprehensive Plan, identifying that the Triple Bottom Line principles (Economy, Environment, Equity,) were key filters for Council decisions and City actions. At that time, the Council also committed to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction goals in alignment with King County and other regional cities. Progress towards meeting these goals has been sporadic and will only be successful if a continuous and unwavering focus is maintained across all City departments, and if staff capacity exists to measure stepping-stone achievements, plan new sustainability initiatives, and implement programs.
- Prepare and implement a 6-Year Sustainability Plan (with community involvement and significant engagement with Sustainable-Mercer Island citizens group) :
a. Invite School District participation
b. Consider early action items such as: recognition as a Bike-Friendly Community, Green Power sign-up campaign, home energy retrofits (with PSE), Styrofoam container ban
c. Ensure sustainability principles are part of the City purchasing/procurement policy.
- Explore adopting STAR Communities Framework
- Launch full implementation of new software tools that allow tracking of City and community GHG emissions, and energy efficiency performance benchmarking of major City facilities.
Goal 4. Preserve, Promote, and Enhance Mercer Island’s Focus on Arts and Culture
Integrating arts and culture into our community improves economic vitality, livability, and quality of life. Arts and cultural programs engage the public and build community by improving health, mental well-being, cognitive functioning, creative ability, and academic performance.
- Engage the community regarding arts and culture polices and goals for the Comprehensive Plan.
- Partner with the Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) to identify alternative site locations.
- Research and explore creating a “Certified Creative District.
Goal 5. Enhance City and Community Emergency Preparedness and Planning
The City has gone beyond the legal requirement of having an emergency plan and has created a robust program involving all City departments, outside agencies, and community volunteers. Levels of preparedness and readiness can erode over time. By making this a priority, the goal is to enhance our community’s overall preparedness and resiliency.
- Update the City’s Emergency Management Plans.
- Enhance the City’s emergency planning and preparedness program with the following projects:
a. Improve the EOC facility to better intake and organize emergency response volunteers.
b. Implement technology enhancements (e.g., mobile/web applications, mapping, digital image, video/camera).
c. Develop a drone policy for City use following an emergency or disaster (e.g., landslides).
- Prepare draft Comprehensive Plan goals and policies supporting disaster planning and recovery (this item is on the 2018 Comp Plan docket).
- Continue to develop and maintain partnerships with local organizations such as the Mercer Island School District, Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce, etc.
- Continue to recruit volunteers for: Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Map Your Neighborhood Program, and Emergency Preparedness Volunteer Teams.
- Continue emergency drills and trainings for City staff.
- Continue outreach and promotion of individual, household and business emergency preparedness.
- Provide safety trainings for schools, businesses, and the community.
- Implement security enhancement at City Hall for the safety of employees and residents.
- Complete the Washington State Rating Bureau’s evaluation of fire protection and suppression capabilities to maintain the City’s Protection Class (City’s current Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating is a 5 out of 10, with 1 being the best).
Goal 6. Update Outdated City Codes, Policies, and Practices
When an organization is reactive and driven to put out the latest “fire,” it means there is little energy or time left to update regulations, policies, practices, processes, and technology that help to prevent and avoid “fires.” Addressing these issues has now turned from a “nice to do” to a “must do,” and requires the attention of Council and staff.
- Update, amend, and/or develop the following Mercer Island codes and policies:
a. Critical Areas Ordinance (last updated 2005)
b. Code Compliance code provisions
c. Appeals and processes code provisions
d. Transportation Concurrency Ordinance
e. Social Host Ordinance amendments
f. Code of Ethics
a. Sign code amendments
b. Adopt 2018 International Residential Construction Codes
c. Wireless Communications Facilities (WCF) code amendments
d. Amendments to permit alcohol for certain Parks & Recreation events and functions
- Address obsolete systems and implement best practices through the use of technology:
a. Implement the Enterprise Asset Management System (launch 2018)
b. Implement the electronic document management and legislative system (launch 2018)
c. Initiate website update project by assessing websites to model and identify timeline, costs and vendors through RFP process (2018)
d. Implement mobile technology tools for the City’s wide-range of customers and users
e. Replace and expand critical communications infrastructure to support public safety and utilities
f. Replace and fully implement the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) System for the City’s water and sewer utilities
- Create/update plans, studies, policies, and handbooks:
a. Update the Employee Handbook (last updated 2012)
b. Update the purchasing/procurement policy
c. Update the Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan (2019)
d. Update the Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities Plan
e. Complete a Tree Canopy Study (2018) and develop an Urban Forestry Plan (2019)
f. Adopt the General Sewer Plan and complete a Sewer Lake Line Feasibility Study
g. Water Meter Replacement Plan
h. Update the City’s technology plan to include input from the “Digital Citizen of 2025” focus group
- Revisit and evaluate current citizen advisory boards and commissions to determine effectiveness and determine need for other or *new* boards and commissions.
- Prepare for a request for proposal and review proposals for the City’s solid waste contract.
Goal 7. Create Policies that Support an Accessible and Healthy Business Ecosystem
In order to make the City a more sustainable and livable community, it is essential that it has thriving businesses that meet the needs of Island residents.
- Work closely with the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to evaluate and address parking in the Town Center.
- Review the City’s permitting process for commercial development/tenant improvements to ensure that best practices are used.
- Develop a strategic planning process with the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to identify possible actions to attract, retain, and sustain the business community.
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