Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey gave his first State of the City speech of the year to a full house Wednesday afternoon in the Spokane Valley Mall community room.
Towey emphasized getting back to basics in his talk to the crowd at the mall, which included citizens, school superintendents, business people and current and former council members. That means being responsible and focused on customer service, he said.
“Spokane Valley is a city you can be proud of,” Towey said. “We believe in planning for our future and ensuring future community needs are met. This will require team work.”
He compared the city to the Gonzaga University men’s basketball team, which was recently ranked No. 1 in the nation. The team got where it is by focusing on the basics and doing good recruiting, Towey said.
“Like the Zags, the city’s recruitment program has been excellent,” Towey said, referring to several department managers hired in the past two years. “Like the Zags, I believe local government should go back to the basics.”
Attracting new businesses and jobs is a top priority, he said. “We as a council have said that we must make sure our city and the services we provide are attractive to businesses.”
A study of economic development opportunities point to the need to be business friendly, he said. The city has modified its development regulations and improved its communications with the development and business communities, he said. “Permitting forms and procedures have been simplified.”
Towey also highlighted the completion of Greenacres Park, the purchase of land to expand Balfour Park and the city’s “aggressive” street preservation program in 2012. “Good roads service our citizens, businesses and visitors,” he said. “You’ve told us that roads are your second-highest priority.”
The primary responsibility of the City Council is to make sure the city is financially sound and to provide good service, he said. “We must be good stewards of our city and its assets,” he said. “The actions we take now will determine the future of our city.”
Towey said the council is committed to retaining its pay-as-you-go policies. “We must not become a credit card city,” he said.
He urged those in attendance to become involved in city issues and give their opinions. “Your city government is nothing without you,” Towey said. “We can’t do it by ourselves.”
Towey gave a second presentation Wednesday evening at CenterPlace.