Meet the Brier City Council candidates: Valerie Rosman, Position 4

Valerie Rosman

For those Brier City Council positions with three or more candidates, the Aug. 1 primary election will narrow the choices to the top two vote-getters. The winners of the primary election will then square off in the Nov. 7 general election. To help voters learn more about the candidates, MLTnews sent a questionnaire to each candidate appearing on the ballots.

We will post these as we receive them.

Incumbent Valerie Rosman is seeking reelection to the Brier City Council’s Position 4 seat. She is facing challengers Christopher Roman Young and Derek Hamilton.

Q: Why are you running for Brier City Council? What do you hope to accomplish?

I was raised with the ideal that we are at our best when we serve others, and I have a passion for developing a strong community. Our digital age has created a lot of isolation and disconnection, so I value opportunities to build the trust between members of our community so that we can make our neighborhoods an extension of our homes.

Q: What experiences would you bring to the council and how are they relevant to the position?

I’ve used my experience in nonprofit advocacy to make sure that the City of Brier has a voice in local and state governance. By staying on top of what happens in Snohomish County and Olympia, I can engage with government agencies and other local officials, plus county and state legislators, to build policy to address the challenges our community faces.

I am interested in policy and I’m a big reader. I like to dive deep and really understand an issue. The city council provides input on a variety of policy and operational decisions such as code changes, stormwater planning, prioritizing city projects, and more. Brier residents can trust that I’ve done my homework, researched, compared and asked the right questions in order to make an informed decision.

I understand complex budgets and the constraints our city faces in meeting its obligations to provide services to residents. I am prepared to make difficult decisions when it comes to balancing a budget and will strive to find solutions that meet the needs of the majority of residents, paying special attention to disadvantaged groups.

Q: What is your vision for Brier?

Brier residents have a passion for active living and easy access to nature. Our city’s identity will continue to evolve with the addition of more young families, so I hope to see increased community engagement with local volunteer opportunities and events. With thoughtful planning we can support opportunities for reducing car travel, such as bicycle or transit access and integrate improvements to our trail and park system.

Brier’s city government will continue to provide residents with regular maintenance of city infrastructure and amenities and quick response times for fire or emergency. We will continue to make sound financial decisions and grow our budget reserve as a buffer against unexpected expenses or economic stressors.

Q: In your opinion, what is Brier’s most pressing issue and what are your solutions for addressing it?

In a word? Funding. Brier is run on a very tight budget. I am grateful that during this year’s special election, citizens overwhelmingly supported annexation into the South Snohomish County Fire District. Expenses relating to our police department will likely increase over the next few years, as we acquire necessary staff and continue to update equipment to remain at standard.

As a bedroom community with a small revenue base, Brier has many expenses and limited income – mostly from residential property taxes. The city is constantly prioritizing and reprioritizing expenses for law enforcement, public works equipment, infrastructure, streets, parks, and necessary facilities like park restrooms. Additionally, year over year we are paying more for staff wages, insurance, fuel and utilities.

Along with the mayor and other members of city council, I focus on retaining quality employees to plan and maintain services and look for ways to keep costs as low as possible.

The state has grants to help cities achieve goals for infrastructure management, such as grants from the Department of Ecology for stormwater management and Department of Transportation grants for traffic and safety improvements. I strive to stay up to date on these and other funding options that are available to our city. I’m always learning about and tracking opportunities that may match our city’s stated planning, capital projects, infrastructure, parks or transportation projects.

To be eligible for most grants, the city must maintain compliance with state rules around growth planning and fiscal management. I am proud to say that Brier is a well-run city, in good standing with the state.

Q: How do you plan to encourage residents to become more civically engaged?

We are in the process of revising our Comprehensive Plan and that will involve more opportunities for residents to contribute their vision for Brier’s future. This sort of visioning and growth planning is fun and a great way to give residents ownership of the city’s path.

I work with students through schools and service clubs, to give a face to the title “councilmember” because I want everyone at every age to feel comfortable asking questions and engaging with public officials. I had a friend in high school who’s mom served on the city council – and it’s probably because of her that I could see myself in this role.

The city council holds in-person meetings at city hall on Tuesday evenings and we’re hearing from some residents that the timing and location of these meetings doesn’t work with their schedules. I’ve learned so much from attending the meetings of other civic bodies (school board, library board, planning commission and county council), state legislature and agencies, and I’d love to see more people attend or get the recordings. I’m a great advocate of just showing up because our officials at any level do their best work when the public is engaged and contributing to the conversation. With a remodeled website we can make recordings of our meetings available with just a click (right now they are available with a call or email to city hall).

Q: The neighboring city of Mountlake Terrace is preparing for growth with the arrival of Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Link light rail. How do you think this growth will impact Brier – if at all – and if so, how would you help to prepare the city for it?

Brier will grow, but not with density to match that of neighboring cities. Brier’s zoning only allows for 12,500-square-foot lots with single-family homes, and residents have made it clear that they want to keep it that way. State changes to housing laws will take effect in 2025, allowing duplex housing and accessory dwelling units on many parcels in Brier. Although the minimum lot size won’t change, we must carefully review and update our code so that the city can accommodate more residences while maintaining our peaceful neighborhoods and easy access to natural spaces. Some of the factors to consider will include:

  • ensuring adequate infrastructure – stormwater, sewage, water, power
  • limiting square footage of accessory units
  • driveways, onsite parking, and parking on public streets
  • promotion of renewable energy options for new structures

Growth in our region has already increased traffic on our main roads. My priority for local streets is to ensure the safety of residents as they walk, ride and drive, and to preserve a high quality of life for families who live in the homes along these roads. Long term, we will need to complete a comprehensive traffic plan to control traffic coming through town and design improvements to make roadways more welcoming and safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

On the transit note, I took the bus to work for years and I’m a huge advocate for transit, and teaching kids how to access transit. My husband and a fair number of my neighbors commute to Seattle on public transit and we’ve all been eagerly awaiting light rail’s arrival. Right now almost everyone drives to the Lynnwood P&R because the local bus (CT #111 to MLT Transit Center) doesn’t run frequently enough and you have no options if you miss a connection. I’m hoping CT #111 will be a better fit for more people so that we can get from Brier to Seattle without a car.

Q: How will you work to promote equity both within city government and for Brier residents?

More than 90% of Brier’s homes are owner-occupied, and over 20% of residents are seniors. Increases to local property taxes can be quite a burden on our seniors and disabled individuals on fixed incomes. The income threshold has been changed and those who earn less than $58,423 annually and meet the other requirements may qualify for a discount on their property tax from 2020 forward. We know that in some areas only 1 in 100 households that qualify for property tax discounts have applied for them, and I want to be sure that we’re doing our best to reach these families in Brier. I’ll be working with a small group of vetted volunteers to do outreach and help elderly residents with the technical aspects of applying for the discount.

During my time on the council we’ve appointed a number of residents to our city boards and commissions. I’d love to see more diverse community representation in these roles, which aren’t too time consuming and offer a great window to city affairs. We look to people to self-nominate, so I’ll keep getting the word out there, meeting people and seeing how we can connect them with opportunities to serve.

During an emergency, we can only serve residents equitably if they are comfortable calling for help from our police, fire and EMS personnel. Having a smaller community is helpful here, as officers of our local police department are a part of our community and have relationships with city residents of any gender and race. I’m confident that the officers who serve Brier do so with honor, respect and dignity – and we can count on them to be a trusted resource in a time of need.

Q: Are Brier’s current levels of staffing for its police department adequate? If so, expand on your thoughts and – if not – how might the city pay for additional policing?

Brier’s current staffing model ensures an officer is on duty at all times of day and night. That said, there is very little leeway in the event of illness, injury or planned vacation. Our current officers have been very accommodating about serving additional hours as needed, but it’s not ideal to plan on anyone having to work overtime. Under Chief Almquist’s leadership since 2022, the Brier Police Department is in a solid position: we’ve hired fantastic officers and upgraded necessary equipment. The Chief and his staff have improved training processes and updated protocols to bring the department up to a high standard. As a result the Brier PD is a more attractive employer during a very challenging hiring environment. We just need to find more great people to hire.

All operational costs related to the police department come from the city’s General Fund. If the police department were to increase the number of officers, the city would need to come to the voters to request an additional property tax levy for law enforcement. This would be a dedicated fund in the budget that could only be used for law enforcement staff and operational expenses.

Q: What are the most pressing environmental issues the city currently faces and your proposals to address those?

Like all communities, Brier faces challenges related to climate change and needs to set goals and begin making changes to do our part to decrease emissions, conserve natural spaces and prepare for extreme weather events.

Taking the time to consider renewable energy options when upgrading equipment and vehicles just makes sense. We must make the most economical purchasing decisions and wisely use the city’s funds – considering not just the initial outlay for equipment but also projected maintenance and fuel costs. We know that fuel costs are forecasted to increase, and grants and tax incentives are available now for renewable energy alternatives.

As citizens, we can work to reduce the number of car trips we make each day, and use public transit when possible. I support keeping bus service in Brier, and hopefully someday increasing its frequency so that it can be more useful to residents. My work with Edmonds School District PTA Council is focused on environmental sustainability this next year, and that will include campaigns to encourage students to walk and bike to school.

Brier is in a great position to support natural habitat and wildlife with our network of parks, greenbelts and waterways. Many residents who have certified their yards as wildlife habitat demonstrate conservation as an important value in our neighborhoods. We can come together as a community to support this goal also, with volunteer opportunities to remove invasive plants in our parks and greenbelts, and to encourage planting native species.

Extreme weather events in our area will most likely take the form of heat waves, heavy or long rainstorms, and smoke exposure from wildfires. We can prepare for higher water flow with regular maintenance of our stormwater system, oversight of cleaning of private stormwater systems, and use of best practices for stream and wetland management. When we preserve natural spaces, trees and habitat, we also create a buffer for stormwater and lessen high flow’s impact on the system.

The Brier Public Library has been a cooling center in the past, and I would work to publicize that, as well as connecting with EMS and the Police Department who perform wellness checks on our most vulnerable residents.

Q: Where can people contact you to learn more about your campaign?


P.O. Box 2323, Lynnwood, WA 98036

— By Cody Sexton

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