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Mayor Bruce gives final city address

POULSBO — Before leaving office at the end of the year, Mayor Donna Jean Bruce gave her final “state of the city” address to a packed house Dec. 21.

In her final public remarks as mayor, Bruce took aim at the executive assistant position proposed by mayor-elect Kathryn Quade and urged the city council to continue its conservative financial approach as well as keep the long-sought municipal campus project on course.

“Neither Mayor Mitch nor I needed a full-time assistant and we were full-time mayors,” Bruce said. “The clerk’s department is more than capable of conducting the city’s business.”

The duties outlined in the proposed mayor’s executive assistant position are already handled by the clerk’s department, she said.

When it comes to the need for improved committee meeting notes, Bruce suggested that instead of paying staff overtime to take them, the council consider hiring a part-time person for that sole purpose.

“I would suggest hiring a retired secretary to do that,” she said.

In addressing her concerns about the city’s 2006 budget, Bruce offered strong words of caution concerning revenue expectations:

“Don’t spend any money until you have it in hand, don’t just hope it’s coming.”

When it comes to spending the increased revenue, the council must first honor its financial commitments before approving any more new programs or budget adjustments, she said.

“You need to ensure the revenues are really coming in before authorizing any new programs,” she said.

As she moves into a new phase of her life, Bruce also offered a bit of advice to the council as it prepares to make decisions on issues that will affect the city’s future.

“Vote for what’s best for the city, not what a bunch of people outside the city think you should vote for,” she said. “You are the caretakers of the city and you have to do what’s best for the city.”

One of the things that is in the city’s best interest is the municipal campus, which the council approved, she said.

“It must continue to move forward and there will be people who will try to stop it, delay and defer it, that must not happen,” she cautioned.

The project was not passed without opposition, but the council must continue to push it ahead despite the criticism that come with doing so, she added.

As deputy mayor, Councilman Jeff McGinty thanked Bruce for her 24 years of government service.

“You have been a true visionary who has set goals for the city and we know you will continue to keep Poulsbo close in your heart,” McGinty said as he handed Bruce a key to the city.

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