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Published: Thursday, January 9, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Council picks Pruitt to be Mill Creek's mayor

MILL CREEK -- The Mill Creek City Council on Tuesday picked a new mayor.
Pam Pruitt, a legislative aide for Snohomish County Councilman Terry Ryan, was chosen serve a two-year term as the city's mayor.
Pruitt, a previous Mill Creek councilwoman and mayor, said she decided to run again because she disagreed with some of the council's ideas.
"I couldn't be quiet when something is wrong," Pruitt, 61, said. "There were things that weren't right."
Pruitt said she had a problem with plans to build a $20 million civic center in Mill Creek. She took issue with what she saw as imminent utility taxes to be imposed on residents.
"The top priority has to be economic development," the Mill Creek resident of 33 years said.
Pruitt wants to establish an economic advisory committee. That way the city could take advantage of the expertise of its many business-savvy residents.
"The people you ask are the people who live and breathe this stuff," said Pruitt, a retired certified public accountant and stock trader.
Pruitt said she also hopes to hold more city events to drive traffic to Mill Creek businesses.
The city, she said, should focus on increasing revenue from retail businesses.
The ">proposed Target store that could feature a Sno-Isle library on top would drive tax revenue. Still, she said, people need information about the costs.
"We need to be totally upfront," she said.
Pruitt, a Detroit native, said she stands for transparency in government.
She writes articles for the Mill Creek View. The newspaper expects her to continue.
In 1996, Pruitt led Snohomish County's 15-member Charter Review Commission, which was aimed improving government.
She served on the City Council from 1988 to 1995, leading as mayor for two years. As mayor, Pruitt said, she pushed for approval to build Mill Creek's post office in 1994.
Mill Creek had only about 3,500 residents when she first took office. Today, the city has nearly 18,700 people.
Pruitt said she plans to continue talking to residents about their desires for the city's future.
"I don't have to know everything there is to know," she said. "I have to listen."
Pruitt will earn $700 a month as mayor.
Pruitt replaces Mike Todd in the mayor's role, one he filled for two years.
"He has taken care of the city for the right reasons," Donna Michelson, a councilwoman and former Mill Creek mayor, said. "He's done a really wonderful job."
Todd continues to serve as a councilman.
The council selected Mark Harmsworth as mayor pro tem.
Harmsworth said he supported Pruitt for mayor because he wants to see the city go after economic development to secure long-term fiscal security. The city needs to attract a more diverse group of businesses "so we don't have to rely on residents to foot the bill for everything," Harmsworth said.
Councilmen Sean Kelly and Brian Holtzclaw were sworn into office alongside Pruitt and Michelson.
"The voters said they want to go in a different direction," Pruitt said.
Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » Mill CreekGovernmentLocal

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