University Place City Councilmember Steve Worthington has announced plans to run for reelection for what would be his second term in office.
“The mission is certainly not over,” he said, noting that the City Council created a balanced budget for the first time in about a decade and now has to find ways to continue doing that at a time when public safety expenses are growing faster than revenues. That, he said, will require economic development to broaden the tax base of the city. “There is still much more work to be done on the budget.”
The next four years will see developments at Chambers Bay that could help in those efforts as well as new commercial developments around the city, most notably Town Center. But parks programs, which the City Council ended last year to balance the budget aren’t likely to come back anytime soon since any new revenue from economic activity will go toward backfilling cuts to police services and road repairs, particularly since the $20 per car tab fee only raised about $485,000 a year for roads when the city needs about $2 million a year.
“It could be double and still not be enough,” Worthington said.
Residents could approve an additional $20 to their tab fees to fund road repairs, but that is highly unlikely, he said, because of the general anti-tax sentiment in the city.
The filing deadline is May 19 for the Aug. 1 primary, that then forwards the top two candidates to the General election on Nov. 7. Council members serve for four years on the seven-person body, so the election in the fall will see four seats up for election. The council seats currently held by Javier Figueroa, who is currently mayor, Ken J. Grassi and Denise McCluskey are also up for election. They have not announced plans to run for reelection.
Worthington moved to U.P. in 1999 and was first elected to the council in 2013, following a career in local government that included time as the city manager of Fife. His community service involvements have included two decades of Rotary Club membership, serving as an Economic Development Board Tacoma/Pierce County Trustee, a Rainier Communications Commissioner, a Rainier Media Center Board member, the chair of Forever Green Strategic Initiative and other efforts.