The new Mayor of Sammamish is Tom Odell, and Deputy Mayor is now John James, each elected by unanimous City Council votes last night.
The Sammamish City Council also welcomed new councilmembers and , as well as returning councilwoman in her new No. 2 position.
Upon his election, Odell thanked the council for their confidence in him and said the major issues for his the council during his tenure will include sparking development of the Town Center, deciding the issue, updating the Environmentally Critical Areas Ordinance, and maintaining the financial health of the city, while also ensuring public safety.
“Public safety is the number one job for any city,” he said.
On behalf of the council, Odell presented outgoing Mayor Don Gerend, whose term expired, a gavel to use in his new role, beginning later this year, as president of the board of directors for the Association of Washington Cities. Gerend currently serves as vice president on that board.
It was overall a jovial meeting, with the swearing in and council elections followed by recognition of volunteers who worked on cleanup and restoration at the city’s new 8th Street Park and the Evans Creek Preserve this fall. Overall, 200 volunteers logged 700 hours performing trail maintenance, constructing new trails and bridges, among other things, said Sammamish Volunteer Coordinator Dawn Sanders.
The city also recognized volunteers who helped collect 31,913 pounds of food and $4,992 for the Mayors Month of Concern food drive. Mary Trask, who organized the effort through her nonprofit Acceptance Respect Affection Support (ARAS) said this was the second year in a row that Sammamish has collected the most in the drive that several Eastside cities participate in.
Before adjourning, the city heard a report and open a public hearing on continuing its moratorium on collective gardens, designed to deal with state/federal conflicts over medical marijuana, for six months. The hearing will be continued to the January 17 council meeting, and the council must hold an emergency vote on the issue at that meeting to continue the moratorium, which is set to expire Jan. 18. An emergency vote must pass the council by at least 5 votes (a majority plus one) Community Development Director Kamuron Gurol told the council. It appears likely that only six of the seven council members will be present at the meeting, as Whitten will be out of town on a long-planned trip.