Bothell Mayor Andy Rheaume

Bothell Mayor Andy Rheaume

Shape Bothell’s public safety future – Vote! / Guest editorial

  • Tuesday, October 9, 2018 9:39am
  • Opinion

Fall is in the air – my favorite time of year. Leaves are turning sensational colors, the Seahawks are playing and Halloween is right around the corner. And then the big event – an election!

Elections matter. Outcomes often hinge on just a few votes. We are fortunate to live where citizens govern themselves. But that comes with an awesome responsibility: voting.

The Bothell City Council unanimously voted to place two important public safety measures on the ballot this election. This followed a comprehensive assessment of public safety demands and financial resources. The outcome of the ballot measures will determine the kind of city that Bothell is in the years ahead.

Proposition 1 adds more police officers and firefighters to address key public safety concerns including drug and property crimes, school safety and traffic enforcement, especially in school zones. More public safety personnel means increased focus on repeat crimes and greatly improving the ability of the city of Bothell to connect people in crisis with needed resources. Additional firefighters and a new aid car will help improve medical emergency response times in Snohomish County.

Proposition 2 funds the replacement of two outdated fire stations – Downtown and Canyon Park. The existing stations are at the end of their useful life. The new stations would include enhanced health and safety features to protect firefighters, modern communications technology and equipment, and additional space to accommodate more staff, including industry-standard separate sleeping quarters for male and female firefighters.

Maintaining public safety in Bothell is increasingly challenging. We are facing greater demands due to more people in crisis in our community, a growing population, and financial resources capped by law. Expanded legal requirements are increasing the time it takes to process cases. Handling one “driving under the influence” arrest, for example, can require seven or more hours of a police officer’s time. That’s time the officer is not available for 911 responses, school safety or actively patrolling neighborhoods for crime.

We expect our first responders to be safely at the scene of emergencies faster and to be prepared for more kinds of incidents. Our fire department is stretched thin and working out of outdated facilities.

The City Council is committed to providing cost-efficient services. But the reality is we’re losing ground every year as the cost of providing services continues to grow faster than the revenue streams available to us. It is up to the voters to decide if you want to fund public safety at the level the City Council thinks it needs to be.

If Proposition 1 is approved, the owner of a $500,000 home would pay approximately $220 per year ($18.33 per month). Proposition 2 would be about $130 per year ($10.83 per month).

Public safety is one of the City Council’s highest priorities and, I believe, it’s a top priority for our community. We all want to live, work and play in a safe place.

Enjoy fall in Bothell and get involved. Check out the details on Proposition 1 and 2 at bothellwa.gov/publicsafety and/or in your Voter’s Pamphlet when it comes in the mail. Remember to vote by Nov. 6. If you have questions please email me at andy.rheaume@bothellwa.gov.

Andy Rheaume is the mayor of the city of Bothell. He has served on the City Council since 2012. Visit bothellwa.gov/publicsafety to learn more about the propositions.

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