A rocky decision for the leadership of Mill Creek

Apr 21, 2017

After too many embarrassing newspaper coverages about the serial firing of our previous city managers, city hall’s budgeting meltdown, our elected officials and new city leaders have once again put our city in bold black print.

The March 26th Herald’s headline, which was placed on the front page and above the status fold line, yelled out: “Mill Creek divergence”

Although the caption might imply this was a good thing, the article was not at all complimentary to our city. The paper’s subheading, “A long-standing dispute over road repairs raises questions about our city’s leader’s choices in different neighborhoods”.

Reading those words immediately made me ill-at-ease. I knew the long article wasn’t going to be good news for our lovely community’s image. At the same time the news report was a warning that once again our fragile city’s balanced budget was in jeopardy.

To paraphrase the negative write-up, it is usually a good thing when our city leaders can bring its community members together. Well, this did happen. Since hundreds of Mill Creek angry voters gather together in the small council chambers.

Their objective was to forcefully communicate to their city leaders that their neighborhood roads became even more hazardous after their cracked and depleted streets where “chipped sealed”.

What is “chip sealing (also spelled chipseal) a road”?

The chipseal technique, or asphaltic surface treatment, is supposed to be a low budget way to doctor-up the damage done by the weather, or more often by cars and by trucks which are driven on low traffic volume roads.

The deteriorating roads are then covered with layers of asphalt with one layer being made from crushed rock pebbles.

Apparently our city leaders believed by using the chipseal approach this would take care of the street problems. Further the fix would not put a big chip into our city’s already overburden budget. Along with those goals it was naturally a good political way to show us voters that they can save our taxed paid money.

But as it’s often found solutions do cause another problems. In this case probably our budget conscience leaders’ pound foolish decision is placing our already unstable fiscal balancing program, and to coin a word, into the “un-balancable” sphere. (See DARNWRIGHT March 31st)

But now with strong objections from their outraged constituents these cost saving conservatives have found that their penny pinching attempted road fix has now led to other big time community problem! Added problems with the cheap light traveled roads “chip sealing” technique, is that it is now causing these residents’ traffic to loosen up the rocks.

Now this eyesore, “dancing pebbles” cut-rate approach has made some Mill Creek divisions streets even more dangerous for dogs, cats, bike riders, cars, children and adults. With those noted concerns these taxpayers are demanding that their streets once again become safe, clean and attractive places.

Many Mill Creek residents told our city heads they believe city hall views Mill Creek as being two different cities. The “good” areas get the premier community treatment; whereas the “bad” areas get the chip sealing fixes. Mill Creek’s Mayor Pro Tem, Brian Holzclaw is quoted (the Herald 3-26-17) “…there are not two cities in the Mill Creek area. Our policy is to treat all the neighborhoods the same.’

I hope city hall’s equality policy does not mean all our neighborhoods will now get our city leaders’ cheap and ineffective road surface mending! Our city’s leaders growing governing failures it’s looking more like our elected officials have made a self-imposed long rocky road towards sealing up any chance of being re-elected.

Darn right, with all the past and growing negative press coverage can we residents still have faith that our local governing body has our collective interest in mind and that they will make Mill Creek great again?

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