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Renton Mayor Denis Law Delivers 2014 State of the City Address

March 13, 2013

For more information contact:
Preeti Shridhar
, Deputy Public Affairs Administrator 425-430-6569

“2014 is going to be a great year!”

RENTON: Renton Mayor Denis Law delivered his 2014 State of the City address today before a packed audience at a luncheon organized by the Renton Chamber of Commerce. The State of the City address emphasized the various accomplishments the city has achieved, including the highest quality of service and several new initiatives.

“We have continued to find new ways of doing business while working towards making Renton the Nordstrom of local government,” said Mayor Law. “It became our goal over the past several years to do everything possible to provide the highest quality of service.”

“Renton, the true home to the Seattle Seahawks, has remained in the spotlight this past year with the Seahawks winning the Superbowl championship and the continued success of Boeing,” said Law. “And Boeing is a community icon in Renton with thousands of residents and their families are employed at Boeing.”

“We continually brag that every Boeing 737 flying around the world made its maiden flight from our airport,” said Law. “It’s amazing that effective this month, their goal is to be producing 42 planes per month in this community!”

The Mayor stated his priorities:

“My key goal for this year: For Renton to become the best city in King County.”

  • We want to be a city known for excellence in customer service.
  • A city that finds solutions to everyday challenges facing our citizens.
  • A city where we go beyond commonly accepted boundaries of service, innovation and performance;
    where we are constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to ways of doing business.
  • A city where our management team provides the vision and support to our valued employees–and leads by example.
  • A city that’s inclusive and responsive to all of our citizens.

The Mayor stated that the city had to change the way it does business in order to continue providing quality services when revenues and personnel declined. However, despite the improving economy, the city continues to deal with future financial deficits. The cost of providing city services continues to increase each year at a pace that exceeds revenues. As part of the upcoming budget, the city will explore various revenue options with the City Council and the community to address projected deficits and to develop a sustainable fiscal strategy.

The Mayor also outlined the city’s diversity program and accomplishments. The City of Renton was awarded first place for the 2014 City Diversity Award by the National League of Cities and the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. The program will also be presented at the Governing for Racial Equity conference in Portland later this month.

“One of my priorities this year is to continue to build on these accomplishments and address the issues of social justice in our community,” said Law. “We will continue to seek solutions to homelessness in our community and the challenges faced by our low-income senior population. We will work to end human trafficking in Renton, which is a huge problem across this country. We are committed to continue our efforts of understanding and addressing the needs of our diverse communities. “

As part of this commitment he announced that the city would work with a well-renowned expert in cultural diversity and social equity to build on Renton’s programs.

He also outlined several accomplishments and areas of focus with regards to business and economic development. These include:

  • Several new businesses that are opening in the city including auto dealerships and businesses at The Landing.
  • Significant development in the Sunset area of the Highlands.
  • Investment and development on Lake Washington Boulevard including Southport.
  • Revitalization efforts for downtown Renton.

The mayor highlighted the following accomplishments and priorities:

Public Safety

  • Fire and Emergency Services responded to more than 10,500 aid calls and 400 fires; firefighters also provided free blood sugar and blood pressure screenings to nearly 6,000 residents, as part of Renton Heart Month.
  • Police Department responded to nearly 68,000 calls for service and arrested nearly 2,000 people.
  • Police Department established the Adopt-A-School program where police officers routinely spend time at schools in their districts.
  • Worked with City Council to adopt new ordinances to cite property owners and revoke their business licenses if their establishments harbor criminal activity.

Our Community

  • Community Services Department managed 13 miles of trails, 33 public parks and 1,200 acres of open spaces, our recreation programs, human services, and all of our facilities.
  • Over 320,000 people visited the Maplewood golf course last year and nearly 75,000 people used the aquatic center, while Gene Coulon Park had over 750,000 visitors.
  • Constructed the Meadow Crest Playground, a new accessible playground that offers special amenities for children of all abilities and ages.
  • Addressed homelessness by converting the former jail at City Hall into a day shelter for homeless women and children.

Services, infrastructure and investing in our future

  • Completed Rainier Avenue Improvement project on budget and ahead of schedule.
  • Received a $4.6 million grant to replace the deteriorating roadway on Logan Avenue North.
  • Working on the reconstruction of the two main runways at the Renton Municipal Airport—a $9.8 million project funded through a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Installed radio transmitters on 17,500 water meters throughout the city to improve efficiency and save leaks—found more than 600 water leaks since installation.
  • Replaced nearly 4,000 street lights with energy-efficient LED lights and will save $300,000 per year annually in energy and operational costs.

Protecting our environment

  • Launched Renton’s Green Team to shepherd the city’s clean energy goals.
  • In partnership with Puget Sound Energy and the home energy report, saved over $1 million in energy costs for our residents.
  • Built electric-vehicle charging infrastructure around the city, continue to add hybrid vehicles to our fleet and all the Waste Management trucks servicing Renton use compressed natural gas.
  • Recycling programs are diverting nearly 25,000 tons of waste from the landfill.

Economic development

  • New auto dealerships are opening in Renton—CAR PROS will be opening a new Hyundai dealership; CAR MAX is scheduled to open in East Valley, and Washington State Auto Dealers moved into their new Renton headquarters.
  • The Landing has reached 90% occupancy with several new businesses recently opening.
  • Lots of upcoming development on Lake Washington Boulevard including a four-star hotel with a convention hall.
  • Continuing development in Sunset area of the Highlands, including a new library, a 111-unit apartment complex, a future park, and investment in infrastructure.
  • A high-end paper products company will occupy the former Renton Western Wear building, and there are plans for a multi-story apartment complex with retail at the Jet City Espresso site.

Renton –an all-inclusive city

  • Created a network of community liaisons representing various community groups to serve as the link between the city and the community groups.
  • Facilitated workshops on race and offered free access to the exhibit “Race: Are We So Different?” to all city employees.
  • Trained community liaisons in emergency preparedness to better assist and prepare their communities.
  • Promoted heart health by providing free blood sugar and blood pressure screenings to our diverse communities.
  • Appointed members from our community liaison group to serve on key citizen task forces.
  • Celebrate and showcase the city’s diversity by encouraging culturally diverse celebrations in festivals and parades throughout our city.

“I want you to know that the City Council and I, and our dedicated employees, are committed to providing quality, cost-effective government services for all of our residents and businesses,” said Law.

“The state of our city is strong. By working together, we will succeed in making Renton the best city in King County.”

The Mayor’s address will be broadcast on Renton’s TV channel 21 and video-streamed on rentonwa.gov. To read the Mayor’s State of the City message, please visit rentonwa.gov.