I am writing this letter to ask for your support as I run for re-election to the Des Moines City Council this year.
When I chose to run for Council in 2015, Des Moines was on the verge of bankruptcy and had received numerous failing marks from the Washington State Auditor. Without being able to achieve financial solvency, this City was on the brink of dis-incorporating and to very possibly become annexed into an adjacent jurisdiction like Kent, Federal Way, Burien or SeaTac. This would have split our community between neighboring cities, and the future of Des Moines was not looking good. Employee morale was at an all-time low, and criticism toward City Hall within the community was at an all-time high.
This certainly was not a popular time to be in public office, but I had run determined to face all of our financial issues “head on” knowing full well it would be difficult and certain choices may not be easy.
So what happened? In the last 4 years, with hard work by my fellow City Council members, a new City Manager, and a re-structured City Administration, I can now say we have completely turned our situation around.
These past four years we have achieved the following:
- Consistently sustainable and solvent City budgets with appropriate contingencies.
- Raised our legal contingency funding requirement that exceeds national standards due to
City Council actions.
- Earned a significant bond rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s as well as Moody’s
resulting from our positive financial positions.
- Saved the City over $500,000 from these bond upgrades allowing us to re-finance all of
our outstanding 2008 bonds.
- Now able to issue new bonds to finance our Marina Bulkhead replacement project for a
much lower interest rate because of our excellent credit rating.
- Significant increases for various Human Services allocations to community organizations
that provide resources for our residents in need.
- Significant increases for police and public safety.
- Significant increases to invest in infrastructure and public facilities.
- Received the Government Finance Officers Association Award for our excellence in the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
- Most notably, received our State Auditor’s Report giving us a “clean bill of health” due to City Council actions these last 3 years.
In regard to development, environment, and growth I have provided forward thinking leadership in the following areas:
- Land use development changes to expand our prosperous Business Park & redevelop the Furney & Ono properties that were up for sale.
- Provided incentives to encourage developers to start investing in our downtown area. Projects are finally happening, and more is yet to come.
- Working with stakeholders to create a complete & comprehensive Marina redevelopment master plan that addresses uses from both the land & water side.
- Supported all recommendations from our newly created Aviation Advisory Committee to address impacts from SeaTac Airport at numerous levels.
As Co-Chair of our Transportation Committee, we have also done a lot of work in these areas:
- Began a Community Connections Pilot Program with Metro for frequent shuttle service between the Angle Lake Station, the Business Park, downtown, and our Marina.
- Completed our main thoroughfare of the 24th/28th Avenue extension to relieve congestion on Pacific Highway South.
- Planning and working with Sound Transit for the extension of the Light Rail to Highline College and beyond by 2023.
- Planning and working with WSDOT on the completion of SR509 which is fully funded and construction preparations are underway.
- Utilize Transportation Improvement Board funding to now complete the widening of our South 216th St. arterial with very minimal cost to the City.
- Re-established our street repaving program for the first time in over a decade.
- Re-built our popular Redondo Boardwalk.
Most importantly, here’s some enhancements I’ve helped to establish regarding public safety:
- A fully staffed Police Department for the first time in over 15 years with 2 “hire-ahead” officers for succession planning.
- Continued financial support for our Officer-in-Training program to ensure that we remain fully staffed in the future.
- We now have 6 detectives as well as a specialty Street Crimes Unit. Crime statistics are lower from this time last year using our new evidence-based policing practices.
- Created a South Des Moines/Redondo Police Substation that is now vertically integrated with ATF Violent Crimes Unit, U.S. Marshall, King County Sherriff Gang Unit, and the F.B.I. to coordinate authorized resources on site.
- Worked with our Department & the Police Foundation to buy our first K-9 Police dog.
- Supported the establishment of an Emergency Management Director position that networks with Regional Office of Emergency Management resources.
Here’s a video from Rob:
In closing, I’d like to say I’m extremely proud of this current Council and this City’s outstanding leadership team. These accomplishments happened because we’re ALL doing our jobs well. I’m asking for your support so I can continue the good work. Please look over the enclosed form and do what you can. Thank you so much, and may God bless Des Moines.
PAID FOR BY: VOTE ROB BACK, 23840 16TH LN. S., DES MOINES, WA 98198