City council honors work of Smith family, departing City Clerk Virginia Clough

City Clerk and Community Relations Director Virginia Clough, far left, reads a proclamation honoring the Smith family (L-R): Scott, Judi and Tisa Smith and Samantha Costello, seen at upper left on the video screen.

It was an evening of recognitions Monday night as the Mountlake Terrace City Council thanked the Smith family for its role in running the annual Tour de Terrace Community celebration and said goodbye to long-time City Clerk and Community Relations Director Virginia Clough, who is moving to a new job in Eastern Washington.

The meeting began with Clough reading a resolution honoring Scott, Tisa and Judi Smith, plus Judi Smith’s granddaughter Samantha Costello for their work putting on the family-oriented Seafair-sanctioned Tour de Terrace Festival. The Smiths were present in the council chambers while Costello, who lives in Florida but travels to Mountlake Terrace to assist with the event, appeared on the video screen via Zoom.

Tour de Terrace was first celebrated in 1994 when residents Jerry and Judi Smith decided to establish an event to commemorate the city’s 40th birthday along with generating community spirit and pride. Jerry Smith, who died in 2018, was later elected to serve on the Mountlake Terrace City Council starting in 2001 and was the city’s mayor for 16 years.

The traditional Tour de Terrace festivities include a Friday parade with Seafair pirates and clowns, live music, a beer garden, carnival, fireworks show, street fair with vendor booths, classic car show, 5K fun run/walk and pancake breakfast.

“The efforts of the Smith family and their volunteers have instilled great pride in our community and the event has become iconic in our region,” Clough said. The resolution of appreciation recognizes the Smith family’s positive contributions to the community, she added.

Clough also noted that while the family has worked hard to put on the festival for many years, they will need help from new community volunteers to continue the Tour de Terrace in future years.

Judi Smith thanks Clough for the recogntion.

“This is a great community,” Judi Smith said after being recognized. “There’s nothing like it that I’ve seen around.”

“You’ve created something that touches everybody’s heart,” Councilmember Laura Sonmore told the family. “Thank you for all the great memories.”

Councilmember Erin Murray noted that her introduction to the Mountlake Terrace community was through the Tour de Terrace parade. “It is one of my family’s favorite things about summer,” she said.

Speaking to the need for ongoing volunteer support, Murray said: “I look forward to working hard as a community to get you the support you need to ensure that this can go on in a sustainable way as we move forward into the future.”

“Thank you for your family and what you represent,” Councilmember Steve Woodard said. “You have embodied volunteerism.”

During her last council meeting Monday night, City Clerk and Community Relations Director Virginia Clough, center, poses with the Mountlake Terrace City Council (L-R): Rick Ryan, Doug McCardle, Erin Murray, Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright, Laura Sonmore and Steve Woodard. Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Wahl was absent.

Next, it was time to honor Clough, who has worked for the city 21 years, “the longest-serving city clerk in our history,” said Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright. “Over 1,000 council meetings, she worked under four mayors and four city managers, and over 20 Tour de Terraces and 20 National Night Outs.”

Calling her “a stable force in the City of Mountlake Terrace,” Sonmore pointed to Clough’s involvement in so many aspects of the city’s business, from leading numerous commnity events to keeping the council informed and prepared.

“Your ability to do your job…is just amazing,” added Councilmember Doug McCardle. “What the city will miss most is your expertise, your flexibility, your integrity, your wisdom, your patience and your grace that you brought to your job every day. You have huge shoes to try to fill.”

Clough thanked past and current elected officials as well as members of the city’s leadership team and staff for their work to mentor and support her over the years. “The people who really touched my heart though — and some of them are in the audience tonight — are those 22,000-plus out there who volunteer, who call me with a problem or concern or provide words of support when you need to hear it,” she said. “I’m really sad to leave all of you. I take public service very seriously and I always try to go the extra mile to help you with your concerns.”

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve this great community filled with wonderful people,” Clough added.

In other business Monday night, the council:

– Heard a report from Jon Greninger, Snohomish County Solid Waste Superintendent, regarding the county’s Comprehensive Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Plan, then passed by a 6-0 vote (Mayor Pro Tem Bryan Wahl was absent) a resolution adopting the plan. Greninger noted that the plan still needs to be approved by the Snohomish County Council and also must be reviewed by the state Department of Ecology. It includes technical memorandums that cover, among other items, planning for climate change and sustainability, waste prevention, recycling and waste collection.

You can see his presentation on the plan here.

– Received the city’s first-quarter financial report from City Finance Director Janella Lewis. First-quarter general fund operating revenues, at 22% of the 2022 adopted budget, and expenditures (at 29% of the 2022 budget) were simliar to those reported during the past few years, Lewis said. Among the report highlights:

    • Gambling tax revenues were slightly above the budget projections, totaling $275,516 or 26% of the adopted budget. Gambling tax revenues are almost back to pre-pandemic levels and exceeded 2021 first-quarter revenues by $55,562, Lewis said.
    • Admission tax revenues for 2022 are $12,625 compared to the 2021 first-quarter actuals of $18,038. The decline in 2021 and 2022 relates to the reduction in theater attendance during the pandemic.
    • Development fees were $591,091 or 32% of the annual budget. Development fee revenues were higher than projected in 2022 due to the ongoing increase in development activity citywide.

– Held a detailed discussion regarding options for using the almost $6 million the city will receive in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds by the end of 2022 to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are to be committed by the end of 2024 and fully spent by the end of 2026.

During the past year, the council has discussed various ways to use the funds. It has already allocated up to $500,000 to help residents and business owners with past-due utility bills, as well as matching funds for a state grant to assist with recruitment and retention of child care and other employees at the city’s Recreation Pavilion.

During Monday night’s meeting, councilmembers expressed a range of ideas for using the remaining funds, including the possibility of funding nonprofits that do good works both locally and regionally. There was support for idea of holding a retreat to further refine funding ideas, but councilmembers also recognized the amount of staff time that could be involved in analyzing possible ideas.

In response to council comments, City Manager Scott Hugill said he would contact nonprofits and other organizations to get their input on the funding needs they are seeing in the community. Included among those contacts would be groups the city worked with in the past to distribute federal CARES Act funds. At that point, the council can review those needs and also take a look at staffing cost estimates for next steps, Hugill said.

Monday night’s meeting was the last council meeting for August. The next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 6 (a day later than usual due to the Labor Day holiday).

— Story and photos by Teresa Wippel




























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