Due to adverse weather conditions there will be no garbage or recycling pickup today, according to the City of Anacortes.
Schools in the Anacortes district will begin two hours late today, according to the district.
Property values remained steady in Anacortes this year, according to Dave Thomas, senior residential appraiser and analyst with the Skagit County Assessor’s Office.
The Assessor’s Office mailed statements to Anacortes residents Nov. 29.
Declines weren’t see in many places in Anacortes, but where there were declines in values, they decreased by less than 2 percent. The properties that were hit hardest with reduction in values were vacant lots, affected by a lack of financing, Thomas said.
It’s difficult to market land parcels right now, he said.
The 2013 taxable value in Anacortes dropped .82 percent compared to 2012, according to the Assessor’s Office.
Twenty years ago, 38-year-old Dean Maxwell stepped into City Hall and set to work shaping the future of his hometown.
As mayor, he led the city through good times and the worst recession since the Depression. During his tenure, the city saw the protection of the Forest Lands and the development of trails, the building of a new library and police station, the annexation of March Point and the revitalization of downtown.
All the while, he kept his vision that Anacortes remain a vibrant working town.
Sometimes it doesn’t seem that long ago to him that he was leading his first City Council meeting.
“I can remember being sworn in like it was yesterday,” he said.
He knew most of the staff from previously being on the City Council.
“I’m sure they were all pretty nervous,” Maxwell said. “I had a lot to learn.”
What does he remember about his first day?
“I was told a number of times ‘Why are you doing this? Are you crazy?” Maxwell said.
Someone had to, he says.
His goal was to improve the community — “When I first ran I never promised anyone anything,” he said.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing but he kept his eye on the one thing he promised: doing what the city does in a better way.
Maxwell said a lot of value has been added to the community in the past 20 years and he was lucky to serve Anacortes during a good time.
“We’ll continue to be that place that people find really special,” he said.
Maxwell was elected mayor in 1993 and took office in January 1994 after defeating then-councilman Ken Brown. Since then he’s faced challenges from Bill Carlisle in 2001, Ray Sizemore, Terry Christiansen and Kevin McKeown in 2005 and Steve Sonnenberg in 2009. He was unchallenged in 1997.
In November’s election, Maxwell ran for his sixth term, but was defeated soundly by Laurie Gere, who won 62 percent of the vote.
Questions about his leadership style and his handling of the Tethys bottling plant proposal had voters looking for change.
It was a tough loss for Maxwell personally. But there were still brights spots. After the election results came out, Maxwell said he was stopped often when he was out in the community.
“I can’t go down an aisle (at Safeway) without someone coming up to me and giving me a hug and saying thanks. That makes me feel good,” he said.
For his part, Maxwell said his legacy is already apparent — “a guy who cared deeply about his community.”
He is proud of the infrastructure work he accomplished: the new library and police buildings, the Tommy Thompson trail, the Anacortes Community Forest Lands, the Guemes Channel Trail, the new water treatment plant, the downtown business core.
“There’s 100 things I’m extremely proud of,” he said.
But it all comes back to one thing: ensuring Anacortes will remain a special place.
“Anacortes is in good shape financially and in good shape to be able to meet its needs going forward,” he said. “Today there are more opportunities available than there were when I grew up.”
As he leaves the city he has run for 20 years, Maxwell can look back with pride.
“As I walk out the door I know everything’s in good shape,” he said. “I’ll hold my head high.”
The Anacortes School District will ask voters in February to approve a larger four-year replacement maintenance and operations levy and a new technology levy.
The board approved the requests at its meeting Thursday.
Ballots are scheduled to be mailed Jan. 21 and are due by Feb. 11.
The City of Anacortes crew will not pick up garbage on Dec. 25, Christmas Day.
The city is asking residential customers who have their garbage normally picked up on Wednesdays to hold their garbage and recycling until their next regular service day.
At that time, they can put out extra garbage and recycling equivalent to their normal service. The extra garbage should be placed in a standard garbage can or plastic garbage bag tied off with about a 4-inch tag for a handle. Pre-paid garbage bags are not required.