MI Weekly

    A weekly update from the City of Mercer Island

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(For event details, visit the City's online calendar or click on a specific event)

Jan 24
7:00pm *Canceled* Design Commission Regular Meeting 

Jan 25
11:00am Emergency Volunteer Lead Quarterly Meeting
Jan 26
3:00pm 2018 City Council Planning Session

Jan 27
8:30am 2018 City Council Planning Session

Jan 29
6:30pm Community Meeting - Financial Challenges

Feb 6
1:00pm Long Term Care Facility Meeting

7:00pm City Council Regular Meeting

Feb 7
7:00am MIYFS Foundation Annual Fundraising Breakfast

Debbie Bertlin

Volunteer Opportunities 

9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040



Monday - Friday
8:30am to 5:00pm

Donations Requested 

The Mercer Island Food Pantry relies on your non-perishable food donations to keep the shelves stocked year-round.
Click for more info.
Jan 24, 2018 | Vol. 13 | No. 4
Video_2017Review2017 Year in Review Video
Click to watch the 3.5 minute movie
Staff just recently finished a video compilation of your City's accomplishments and celebrations from the past year.  We couldn't include everything, but ended up with a fine cross-section.  Check out our 2017 Year-in-Review here, and enjoy the 3.5 minute show! 

Thank you to each and every resident for making Mercer Island a great place to live and work.
Mercer Island Goes Green
City Receives SolSmart Gold Award
Mayor Bertlin (left), Sustainability Manager Ross Freeman, and Spark Northwest ED Jennifer Grove; click to learn more about Solar on MI
SolSmart_AwardThe City of Mercer Island received SolSmart Gold designation at last night's City Council meeting, for meeting stringent and objective criteria targeting removal of obstacles to solar development and indicating that it is "open for solar business."  Gold status in particular indicates a lack of procedural obstacles such as long permitting waiting times or burdensome zoning regulations.
Jennifer Grove, Executive Director of Spark Northwest, presented the award plaque to Mayor Debbie Bertlin, accompanied by the City's Sustainability Manager. In achieving Gold Status, Mercer Island joins only two other cities in all of Washington and Oregon with top ranking. Since the program launched in 2016, approximately 150 municipalities nationwide have achieved SolSmart designation.
At this time, the City has 116 known solar installations, with a capacity approaching 1000 kilowatts (i.e. 1 Megawatt) of total generation, giving it a higher per capita capacity than any other Eastside city. In the summer of 2014, Spark Northwest helped the City run a "Solarize Campaign" to encourage and simplify residential installations, successfully adding 47 new arrays to the Island in just nine months.  About 18 months ago, the Mercer Island School District added two 100-kilowatt arrays on the rooftop of two new school buildings.
The SolSmart program is implemented by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and The Solar Foundation, and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The program seeks to improve the prospects for solar energy growth by streamlining local permitting requirements and promoting economic development from new solar jobs.
Mercer Island has a greenhouse gas (GHG) target of 80% reduction by 2050, and renewable energy is an important part of the suite of community actions that can help reach that goal. Most standard residential solar installations do not need a building permit, just a simple electrical permit which takes a few minutes to receive in person at City Hall.
MIFDFire Department Sees Babies Everywhere
Click to learn more about MIFD
Last year was bountiful for several Fire Department families with the arrival of four new babies and one adoption! As the infants' parents no doubt spent some sleepless nights soothing their little ones, Fire Chief Steve Heitman was up late too - figuring out how to keep the department running smoothly with so many crew members out on family leave...
"We were relying on overtime pay to keep up our minimum staffing levels. I realized our budget was going to be a challenge mid-year and we had make some expenditure choices - such as purchasing only those items necessary for the continuity of operations ," says Heitman.  "With a lot of extra effort and coordination by our personnel, we made certain that Island residents still received the high levels of service they are accustomed to."
The Fire Department uses "minimum staffing," with two engine companies and a Watch Commander comprising seven firefighters in total on duty at all time.  If one employee is sick or unavailable, another fills in, but overtime pay is required.
The City runs a staffing analysis every two years to explore whether hiring more personnel is more cost effective than paying overtime. So far, it always makes more sense financially to pay the overtime.  Fire Department staffing has held steady for the last 17 years, despite steady growth in the Island's population and needs: in the last five years alone, call volumes rose steadily by 75-100 calls per year (an 18% increase).
GFTH2018MIYFS Breakfast Just Two Weeks Away
Click to donate today
Have you signed up yet for one of the largest fundraising events on the Island? On Wednesday February 7, come join 600 community-focused Islanders at the sixteenth Annual Breakfast hosted by the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) Foundation at the Community and Event Center.  Doors open at 7:00am for coffee, and event concludes at 8:30am.

If you can't attend in person, there are many other ways to donate, such as easy online donations, buying $10 raffle tickets at five Island locations, buying one-of-a-kind glass hearts from 13 Island locations. Or on February 7 and 8, you can shop or dine at any of 15 different local community partners (10% of proceeds donated to MIYFS Foundation).

Thank you for your support in making this event a huge success!
MIPD_CoffeeCoffee With a Cop Returns
Coffee With A Cop; click 
for location information
The Mercer Island Police Department invites you to come join your neighbors as they have casual conversation with police officers over a cup of coffee.  No set topics or agenda. 

This roving event will be hosted next week by New Seasons Market on Tuesday, January 30, from 5:00-7:00pm
HousingAffordable Housing Meeting
Click for meeting details
On Tuesday, January 30, King County's Regional Affordable Housing Task Force will be holding a public meeting to hear from the community about challenges in finding and keeping an affordable home. 

The evening event will be held at the New Holly Gathering Hall (7054 32nd Avenue South, in Seattle) starting at 6:30pm.  Online commenting is also available.


For questions and comments on the MI Weekly, contact
Sustainability & Communications Manager Ross Freeman at

ross.freeman@mercergov.org or 206.275.7662.