Christie has worked hard to create an environment where transparent decision making is evident, where citizens feel they are being heard, and where the words written on that hidden back wall within City Hall ring true: Building Community Together.
FOLLOWING THE SPIRIT OF THE
GROWTH MANAGEMENT ACT
When Sammamish initially adopted its concurrency methodology, they recognized they may need to tighten it up to prevent infrastructure from lagging behind. That never happened, and thus 19 years of growth and rare infrastructure projects have contributed to the congestion issues the City faces during peak commute times. If we continue to grow and fail to address our congestion issues, whether they stem from inside or outside of our City, congestion will get worse eroding the quality of life residents here enjoy.
Sammamish has become accustomed to the adage that "growth pays for growth", but the reality is that growth pays for only a small portion of the impact it has. The laws prevent those who engendered the growth from assuming the full burden, and so the rest of the burden falls to the existing residents, unfortunately. I will only advocate for infrastructure investments that truly improve our drivers' experience with getting on and off the plateau as well as internal commutes as well as needed safety improvements that move us from the rural road structure many areas still have. My interest lies with our drivers' experiences and the reality on the roads. Sammamish needs to strive for concurrent infrastructure investment to coincide with development in the spirit of the Growth Management Act (GMA). This has to be accompanied with preserving the sense of community that makes Sammamish a valued place to live (open spaces, shorelines, critical areas, city parks, and trails, to name a few).
FINANCIAL STABILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY
Balancing the City's finances (your tax dollars) is critical as we morph from a new City into a more mature age in our existence. Sammamish has been able to ensure no tax increases in a decade, but we also haven't executed our commitements on infrastructure. Our growing City is in need of more police officers, and better infrastructure. Mindfully and dutifully managing your dollars while executing projects is of the utmost importance. Christie is commited to staying true to her fiscal conservative values as a means to maximize the dollars we have in the most efficient manner, while providing the level of services and expectations of quality of life our residents have come to expect.
TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT
Transparency is something Christie has worked for in government during her first term in office. In 2016, Christie tackled the topic of notification issues. Short plats (a development of 9 or less houses) and RUE (reasonable use exception)had been allowed to go dormant. The consequence of this was that new neighbor's would often not be notified of future development. Christie was able to spearhead changing the regulations surrounding the notification process, to make sure the citizens of our city are in the know and have ample opportunity to comment on proposed development. I was also able to include a larger notification radius to alert more neighbors of incoming development through sign changes (they are now white signs with larger lettering), an added GIS service to allow people to see new development projects online.
You'll find that every meeting Christie has with stakeholders, internal or external, are on her Council reports that are published to the public for every meeting. She doesn't have meetings and keep the information to herself, she share it, knowing that the City Council and community are better off if every has the same information. It's the collaborative way to do the people's business. She pride herself on making sure what she know, my fellow Councilmembers know, that our staff knows, that you know. It's how we can effectively execute policy that makes a difference in your everyday life.
As Sammamish grows, we continue to diversity our community, so taking steps to ensure we all feel welcomed is critical. Christie understands the difficulties of assimilation and our City can do more to make certain those that make Sammamish home feel welcomed, understood, heard, seen, and safe. Our beautiful City continues to add to our repertoire of events to engage and welcome all residents of Sammamish. Our departments, including Police, Fire, Parks, even Public Works have actively engaged the community at a myriad of events. We should continue to expand our horizons and embrace every aspect of all of our amazing residents that call Sammamish home today and for those that will call it home in the future.
Within months of taking office, Christie tackled communication issues. As the past Communications Committee
Chairman, there was a total overhaul of the city's website, and more changes are due to come to our website. Christie was also successful in June of 2016 leading the charge on initiating a Communications Strategy for the City of Sammamish in an effort to facilitate a two-way communication between the city and its residents. Christie was also instrumental in getting the Virtual Town Hall on our city's website in 2016 and pushed for the digital newsletter and social network reach with residents. She also initiated having Council office hours at the Farmers Market in 2016 as an additional way for residents to engage with Council and altered having Council office hours at each individual Councilmembers discretion to allow for more variable times for our residents to engage with us.
In 2017, as Communications Chairman, the City embarked on a Communications Strategic Plan, which ended with recommendations for a second and more full website overhaul, additional attention to social media and citizen engagement, and more engagement in the platforms our residents use via our Communications Director. Christie continues today on the Communications Committee, which is less active now as the new Communications Director has carried forth the vision of Council. Christie continues to further engage with the residents of Sammamish in an effort to engage and inform on what the Council is working on.
Sammamish is defined by several things, a few of which are the plateau we are on, the proximity to the rural areas outside the urban growth boundary and the wildlife that comes with that, the diversity of our residents, the great schools, the lakes and sensitive water ways, the native kokanee salmon, and the trees.
Our trees provide so much more than just adding to our character, they provide a lot of benefits in terms of stormwater retention. We can profess in code we are detaining/retaining development's impervious runoff, but what about the water through pervious surfaces that used to be soaked up by coniferous trees that have been removed? There's so much more we can do in code and in conjunction with the development community to preserve more of them in the face of change. In doing so, existing neighbors don't have water in yards or basements when they never did before development moved next door.
The Kokanee salmon are on the brink of extinction, and we have to continue efforts to preserve them. Christie has long supported the Kokanee, and they were a conduit to her initial run for Council when she appealed a development application. Since being elected, Christie has fought to fund means to help establish greater spawning grounds and tighter stormwater codes. It's those same stormwater codes that are helping to protect our creeks and lakes, and protecting critical aquifer recharge areas, which become our drinking water.