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Pierce CITY OF UNIVERSITY PLACE Council Pos. 3

Term: 4 yrSalary: $16,896The city council sets the general policies of the city, which are implemented by the city manager and staff. One of council's main duties is the adoption of policies and the enactment of the city's annual budget. City council sets fiscal policies and approves all spending , whether for operations or capital items or public facility maintenance and improvements. The council also sets salaries for city employees.
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  • Ken Campbell (NP)

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    Steve Worthington (NP) City Manager, retired. Executive Consultant to cities and counties in the NW.

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Biographical Information

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastucture?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

What are other major issues facing your city or town?

Of those listed above, which one is the most urgent?

What methods will you use to work with the mayor (if you have an elected mayor) or the city manager or administrator(if you have an chief administrator hired by the council)?

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Phone (253) 392-6970
Email Worthington4up@gmail.com
Town where you live University Place
Experience (300 characters max) City Council Member (elected 2013), AWC Legislative Committee, Experienced City Manager and Community Development Director, 30 years of leadership in WA cities (retired). Executive consultant to cities and counties in WA, OR, MT, UT, ND. Small business owner and manager for restaurants in Spokane.
Repairing streets, building sidewalks, collecting and cleaning storm water are the primary duties of the City of University Place. All other infrastructure is from non-UP providers. The repair of streets is the biggest underserved challenge since the money the state allows specifically for streets is only a about a 1/3 of what it takes to keep streets in top shape.

As a result, street repair competes with public safety and other key services for the money in the city budget. Public safety is my top priority. But the city still needs good streets, standard government services, a stable and sustainable economy and the things that make UP special. As a result, there is a constant push and pull between these needs from a limited amount of money. The voters have been clear there is not support for new taxes. As a council member one of my key duties is to balance the many needs against the limited dollars in the budget. Fortunately, my prior City Manager experience helps to guide me.
In our great country homelessness seems out of place and in UP it is often out of sight as well. None-the-less it is here in the US and even here in UP. As I and other elected officials look at the “Why’s” and “How’s” of homelessness so that we might understand its roots, it soon becomes clear that there are almost as many reasons for homelessness as people who are homeless. There is not a single answer nor one cure to stop it. It takes a multi-faceted approach to help the homeless find their way back to a home. Each person's needs must be addressed individually. Some need support, treatment, help learning life skills and some need to take responsibility for situations of their own making. This needs to be undertaken on a regional level. It is not something that a community of 33,000 will be successful at on its own.
I promise seniors and other residents: • To establish a secure local environment within the constraints of the taxes they provide. • To listen carefully and thoughtfully to their concerns and ideas that they express to me. • To keep their interest in mind when making decisions from my council seat, even though they may not have directly spoken to me about a specific issue. • To look for and embrace actions which will enhance the quality of life for seniors and all residents in University Place, tempered with the understanding that it is their tax dollars that pay for every service and action that the city council directs.
Immigration policy is a pivotal issue for our country. There has been much attention on the question of how to approach immigration issues nationally. That is an appropriate forum for this important debate to take place. Some large cities such as, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles and Chicago have declared themselves “Sanctuary Cities” on immigration. They have the mass, size, national notoriety and the political will to take such a stance. University Place has people who undoubtable care very much about this issue. However, as a responsible council person I ask myself “To what end?” Would the city taking a position on immigration have a productive outcome that would influence the national debate or would it disrupt and separate our community with no real external impact? Immigration policy is not an appropriate policy question at the University Place City Council level in my mind.
A sustainable budget is now achieved for the first time in more than a decade. Projected for 10 years with inflation, today’s service levels and revenue are in balance. If the community wants to increase city services new money will be needed. Town Center is growing. New residents and businesses are moving in. Both segments need to grow in balance with one another. Retail and businesses need people living near them to do well. Residents need commercially generated taxes to pay for the services they use. Direct taxes paid by residents don’t equal the cost of services provided to residents. Keeping these two symbiotic segments of the community in balance is essential to maintain city services. Thoughtful planning choices need to be made for a healthy economy. Historically the City of University Place borrowed more than $50 million dollars, its full credit limit. Now the city debt is down to about $41 million. Debt payments will continue to be a major expense for many years to come.
The most urgent issue is making good planning choices that grow our net revenue so that our residents can have services and enhanced quality of life.

Now that the budget is balanced with regular reoccurring revenue matching current expenses for the first time in recent history, we need to make sure that increasing services happen only when real, continuing revenue can support it. I have championed, successfully, building up reserves and with the support of the full council we have increased our rainy-day money for difficult times and surprise situations. We need to continue to keep that money safe for such times.

While we should consider using unanticipated money coming to the city to pay off debt early, (which I have advocated for on council since my election in 2013) the nature of the debt makes that difficult. The amount of debt is significant and it is unrealistic to expect it to be easily or quickly reduced.
As an active City Manager for Fife, WA, I scheduled regular individual meetings with my city council to make sure that I kept them informed of what was happening in the administration of the city as well as carefully listening to the ideas and concerns of each council member. Now that I am a current Council Member in University Place, I rely on those same tools and experiences and meet regularly with the UP City Manager to discuss the issues of the day. Having worked in city government for 30 years, I have a strong understanding of how a council member can help their community achieve key objectives, protect community interest and help to guide the future. Perhaps as importantly, I know when something is not on the council side of the table, so that we are not spinning our wheels and wasting scarce public resources.

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