Mayor says SeaTac is a ‘very strong city,’ and a ‘better place to live’

By Jack Mayne

Mayor Michael Siefkes said SeaTac is not the financial basket-case the Council displaced two years ago thought it was, and it now has a budget surplus and nearly a half billion dollars in growth and development.

He outlined the state of the city in an address to the Council at its Tuesday (Jan. 23) meeting.

“We are celebrating the 28th birthday of the City of SeaTac in February,” he said, noting that the city has made progress over the time it’s been incorporated to be a “better place to live and a better place to work and a better place to play.”

‘Significant development’
The mayor said “we have a significant amount of development” in “a very strong city” that will be “in the tune of about $465 million.” He said that when that development total was presented by City Manager Joe Scorcio at a recent regional business meeting, “it was impressive.”

“I think most of the other cities were jealous of the things that are going on here and I think rightfully so,” the mayor said. Underway or upcoming projects include several hotels, including the Marriott Residence Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Aloft Hotel, the Hyatt House and Hyatt Place, “amongst others, is just impressive for our community.”

Siefkes said in the past couple of years the city has opened up Riverton Heights Park, the Angle Lake nature trail and most recently the Angle Lake transit station. He said he believes the Angle Lake station is the first one with “decent parking” and that is because the city staff “insisted that we have parking there.

“If you remember when the light rail started it had all these stops and no parking anywhere nearby – at all and because of the foresight of our city staff we were able to make sure we had something there and people could park there.”

“We have established a good working relationship with the Port of Seattle,” Siefkes said. “That is not something that could have always been said in the city and something I believe even two to three years ago, wouldn’t have been something we’d have said.”

He credited the city staff, Council, and Airport Managing Director Lance Lyttle for helping the city “come to the agreement to the interlocal agreement last year” that will bring the city over $30 million over the next 10 years compared with just $4 million for the past 10 years. The money, he said, will allow the addition of police officers and mitigate some of the effects of the growth of the area.

With 42 percent of the city owned by the Port of Seattle airport, SeaTac formed an airport committee, and now other cities are emulating SeaTac, he said.

Regional city role
The mayor said what residents might not know it that over recent months, the city has begun to take on a regional leadership role with Councilmembers who are on various regional assistance boards.

He said that when he and Councilmemers Sitterley, Kwon and Forschler joined the Council two years ago, the foremost issue was that the utility tax approved by the previous Council majority get removed, Siefkes said. “It got removed.”

The previous Council declared the city had a big budget deficit of $2.5 million, but the city is not in a hole, but “we are ahead significantly,” the mayor said, with over $13 million in reserves “so we have been fiscally conservative with the money.”

In addition, the mayor said the city has lowered property taxes both years since that election and “I don’t know if any other city can say that,” and also “cleaned up some legal messes from prior Councils and still been able to maintain a good financial condition.”

He added a comment on the town hall meeting held to keep track of citizen concerns. “We listen and we care and we do the best we can to address them.”

Siefkes said a police officer has been added, and the city got rid of the red light cameras that some wanted to retain.

New chief, captain
City Manager Joe Scorcio introduced newly appointed Police Chief Carl Cole and interim Police Captain Abigail Steele during the Council study session prior to the regular Council meeting.

Cole has been the captain in the department for the past two years. He was recently promoted to major, and now to chief following the promotion of former SeaTac Police Chief Lisa Mulligan by new King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht to a staff position at headquarters in downtown Seattle.

Scorcio said Cole has “worked in every division of the department and we’ve already been able to determine that he knows how to handle all of the functions of the administrative and operational areas,”

“I believe he is a crime fighter,” the city manager said.

Steele is interim pending sorting out administrative details with the King County Sheriff’s Department and has been a captain in the Sheriff’s department since 2016.


One Response to “Mayor says SeaTac is a ‘very strong city,’ and a ‘better place to live’”
  1. seatac says:

    sounds like democrats and republicans are both happy for a change.