Puyallup Mayor Rick Hansen’s top priorities haven’t changed over the years: Public safety and water.
“Cities were built around public safety,” Hansen said. “When cities were started, you had a sheriff first, and you had a fire department, to protect the community.”
Hansen said the top contact the city receives from community members involves public safety.
“We want to make sure we have a first-class police department to be able to deal with whatever the needs are that come,” he said.
While he said he’s proud of the police department and believes Puyallup is a safe place to raise a family, he added: “I don’t want to ever lose the ability to maintain that safe community.”
Hansen also is proud of the city’s dispatch center, which he said has the newest technology, and he hopes it can be used in a future decision that involves South Sound 911.
It’s important for Puyallup’s police department, courts and jail have good facilities, Hansen said, and he looks forward to when the municipal court is centralized with the police.
Meanwhile, water could bring the city to a halt — at least too much of it, Hansen said.
“We have a pretty good sewer system, and we have capacity,” he said. “We are able to handle what we have, but we cannot afford to have it fail, particularly because we have a flood that comes over the banks of the Puyallup River and floods our sewage treatment plant.”
If that happens, the plant could be shut down, Hansen said, because it would back up into people’s homes and cause health-related issues.
“Water, to me, is a health issue,” he said. “It’s making sure we have infrastructure in our ground where we can deal with all of our water, fresh, grey water and black water.”
Hansen said the sewage treatment plant is in danger of flooding if the Puyallup River goes over its banks.
“We have to make sure we are in a good position to maintain our water system,” he said, adding that the city has an emergency management plan in case such flooding occurs.
Hansen said another water priority is the effort to clean Clarks Creek. There will be ongoing discussions in 2013, he said.
Other concerns involve finding ways to stretch Puyallup’s budget so more can be spent on infrastructure, and the consolidation of city hall. Hansen said one more floor should become available to a new tenant in early 2013. One possibility is for state Sen. Dawn Morrell and Congressman Denny Heck to locate offices there, Hansen said.
The Puyallup City Council met earlier this fall and developed a list of five-year priorities. It’s divided into sections such as public safety, budget and finance, economic development and land use planning, city administration and strategic planning, infrastructure, parks, environment and open space, and city facilities.
The document includes a public safety building for police, court, jail and training; relocating the municipal court; transit parking; planning, design and possible construction of setback levees for the Puyallup River; Shaw Road widening; and property acquisition, planning, design, funding and construction of the Riverwalk/Foothills Trail connection.
Many other items are on the list as well.
Puyallup City Clerk Brenda Arline said the priorities have not officially been established by the city council.
“This initial session was an opportunity for each council member to throw out ideas relating to possible five-year goals and visions, so this list reflects every idea submitted,” Arline said.
The council will meet soon to discuss the list and adopt priorities, she said.Tom McCrady is a freelance reporter for the Herald.