Strengthening relationships key to first months for Bellingham Mayor Linville

By Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville

It is a great honor to serve you as the Mayor of Bellingham. My first six months in office have been an incredible time of learning, connecting with people inside and outside city government, focusing on priorities and taking action on top community needs and interests.

I have a passion for fostering effective, accountable government and forming strong partnerships to deliver quality public services. As mayor, I have engaged Bellingham City Council members, community members, city employees and elected officials and peers at other agencies in promoting a culture of respect and responsibility.

I am happy to report that, together, we are making significant progress in key areas. When I took office I promised to deliver on the following top priorities:

Progress on priorities

  • Ensuring cost-effective and unified emergency medical services. I worked closely with County Executive Jack Louws, Bellingham Fire Chief Bill Boyd and others to develop an EMS plan that was unanimously approved by both the City and County Councils in early June. It was a pleasure to work with this team to develop a unified approach.
  • Moving our waterfront redevelopment project forward to provide clean up, public access and jobs. This spring, the city and the Port of Bellingham held their first joint meeting in years, and we have committed to delivering key documents to the Planning Commission in Fall 2012.
  • Protecting Lake Whatcom and our ability to deliver safe drinking water in an efficient, affordable manner. We are developing a joint strategic plan with the county and the Lake Whatcom Sewer and Water District.
  • Suspending the traffic-safety cameras program to honor the public's wishes. I recommended and the city council approved a plan to suspend the "red-light camera" program.
  • Collaborating with the Bellingham City Council to develop our city goals, balance our budget and live within our means while delivering essential city services to the residents of Bellingham.
  • Strengthening all our relationships so we can address these and many other community priorities.

Pride in city services

Working together takes time, focus and staff commitment, and I’m proud of the great progress we have made while also serving more than 80,000 Bellingham residents.

The City of Bellingham has an excellent staff, and I have been pleased to see the great enthusiasm they have for making Bellingham the best it can be. Due to budget shortfalls in recent years, we have fewer people to accomplish an increasing demand for services. City employees' commitment to serving their community despite this challenge makes me prouder than ever to lead this hard-working, dedicated team.

We have more work ahead to make sure we have enough resources in the future to provide basic essential services, even though our economy appears to be stabilizing. We continue to refine priorities and streamline costs as we prepare budgets for 2013 and beyond. I hope you will follow the budget process this fall and provide feedback to me and the City Council about which city services are most important to you.

Coming up next

I also will be focused in the coming months on:

  • Presenting a proposed 2013 city budget to City Council and the community that reduces our city deficit, adequately funds our core services and is sustainable into the future.
  • Proposing strategies to support and retain existing businesses and attract new companies to Bellingham.
  • Communicating to the public on the regulatory process of the Gateway Pacific Terminal project to ensure the public knows when and where they can be involved.

I love being your Mayor and appreciate hearing your thoughts about how we are doing. If you have questions or comments, please contact me at 778-8100 or mayorsoffice@cob.org.

Kelli Linville was elected in November 2011 to serve a four-year term as Mayor of Bellingham. She took office January 1, 2012.