To paraphrase Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” In many ways that summarizes the tale of our city.
Despite a continuing recession, the city had a productive year. We finished the third phase of the wastewater project, which included extending a sewer line from Semiahmoo to the new plant. The old treatment plant was decommissioned and we built a re-use water line to the Semiahmoo golf course.
The Marine Drive gateway project was completed and the majority of the H Street rebuild has been finished. The final lift of asphalt will be applied next spring. The new pedestrian trail along Peace Portal Drive was paved. We purchased, remodeled and relocated to a new city hall. All in all, from a project standpoint it was not a bad year.
However, the worst of times continues to be the financial downturn that we are all experiencing. We have struggled to keep our service levels high but may be losing ground. Like many of you, we too are falling behind. The closure of the Semiahmoo Resort was the straw that broke our backs. The resort closure severely compounded an already difficult financial situation, not to mention the loss of 200 jobs.
The immediate future is uncertain. We are planning for the worst and hoping for the best. There are some early signals that things are improving. We are seeing some increased real estate activity and construction. Our sales taxes were holding steady before the resort closure, and despite reductions in property values, our sales tax collections will increase just a little bit.
We have tightened our belts and are waiting for better days. In the meantime, we have completed a lot of needed improvements. We are well positioned for better times when they come. Like you, we hope it’s soon. Happy New Year!
Blaine City Manager