The people of Kenmore are the council’s top priority | Column

The last 11 months have been filled with changes, challenges and excitement for the City of Kenmore.

As your newest council member, it has been an enjoyable experience working through policy issues and a pleasure to represent the people of Kenmore.

Excitement is tempered somewhat by a number of challenges that lie ahead. On the budget side, we simply have to make difficult decisions regarding our funding and project priorities due to generally stable revenues and flat to increasing expenses. Fiscal discipline is critical as we plan for both the known and the unexpected. We have minimal debt and we continue to maintain healthy fund reserves. But our road and infrastructure needs will continue to test our long-term capital planning and our fixed costs will challenge our budget priorities.

What I am really proud of are the decisions and steps being taken now that will help to shape Kenmore for years to come. During the previous year, Kenmore has been laying the foundation for fulfilling a number of priorities. The hiring of Rob Karlinsey as our new city manager fulfilled a high priority and his leadership and presence will be vital to our success. Other highlights include active citizen input and involvement, continuation of relationship building at the county, state and federal level, and a city council that is functioning effectively and working well together.

The city continues to place an emphasis on increasing our shoreline utility and access to Lake Washington. We are actively promoting economic development through ongoing business recruitment, a new business incubation program, the promotion of natural health businesses and the creation of clusters and innovation partnership zones. Long term we will strive towards increasing the presence of Bastyr University and complimentary businesses in Kenmore, develop a citywide bicycle strategy and fulfill our downtown vision with a successful Kenmore Village.

Kenmore incorporated 14 years ago. Early on we had to develop many new processes and systems to function properly; we relied on the county, consultants and a 1997 produced feasibility analysis for much of our guidance. Just as the owner of a growing business understands the limitations of a pro forma, we to, have now moved to the next level.  Our history and post-incorporation experiences will help to guide us in the future.

We are looking forward, striving to become more efficient in budgeting and day-to-day activities, and are working hard at becoming an attractive place to do business. I know that the words “government” and “efficient” are typically incongruent and often we may fall short, but along with others, I recognize that the people of Kenmore are the top priority and I will continue to work towards an even better Kenmore.

Brent Smith is a Kenmore City Councilman who was elected last year.


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