Lessons and hopes

From the inception of Mercer Island government, the city has worked hard to keep utilities up to date, beginning 50 years ago with the installation of a municipal sewer system. However, as the storm of the past month reminded us, the infrastructure here is tied to that of the region and to entities whose workings are largely out of our control — entities that must look after hundreds of thousands of customers as well as Islanders.

Our water comes from the City of Seattle and the Cedar River, through pipes under Lake Washington. Electric power and natural gas come from off-Island investor-owned Puget Sound Energy. The system that transports and treats wastewater Island is the responsibility of King County Metro. Island cell towers, phone service and cable are controlled elsewhere — networks managed and operated by privately-held businesses. During a crisis of such proportions as we experienced last month, our immediate needs and priorities will not necessarily match theirs.

This year we must resolve to prepare for emergencies. We need to band together and tap into the resources and tools the city has in place already to facilitate neighborhood preparedness.

Beyond the storm, we have high hopes for 2007.

We look forward to the successful completion of Island projects started in 2006. We are looking forward to the completion of the North Mercer Park-and-Ride, the off-leash area at Luther Burbank Park and the installation of new traffic lights in the Town Center and wherever they are needed.

We hope for a resolution of the design and financial issues regarding the Boys and Girls Club PEAK project, clarification regarding the direction of regional transportation investments and their impact on Islanders and — a respectful and constructive election season.

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