New Normandy Park City Manager Glenn Akramoff sees the glass as ‘Half Full’
New Normandy Park City Manager Glenn Akramoff walked onto a financial tightrope when he started his new job July 8.
But, Akramoff told The B-Town Blog recently, Normandy Park’s financial picture has already begun to stabilize – and he intends to keep things moving in a positive direction.
Last year, then-City Manager Doug Schulze reported that Normandy Park faced a looming financial crisis. This residential community, with limited tax revenue from a small commercial base, had been forced to dip into its cash reserves.
Normandy Park was approaching the brink and, Schulze said, those reserves would be exhausted in about three years if new revenue sources weren’t found or unless additional spending cuts made.
“Based on what I’ve been able to look at there’s work to do, but things are on the upswing,” Akramoff said. “I’m someone who sees the glass as half full.
“One of the exciting new developments is a grocery store at Normandy Park Towne Center. We’re about ready to issue permits” for Towne Center Grocery, he noted.
[NOTE: Since this interview was conducted last week, two more businesses – Ace Hardware and Priceless Pet Clinic – announced they will be locating at Normandy Park Towne Center; read our previous coverage here.]
And the Manhattan Village subarea plan for a mixed residential and commercial community – from the QFC shopping area north on the west side of 1st Ave. S – has been finished, Akramoff continued. “That’s something we’ll begin marketing out there.”
The biggest short-term boost for Normandy Park, however, is the property tax levy lid lift that city voters approved last November.
This is “a huge deal,” he added. “It brought in more revenue that stabilized things a bit. What makes this place special is that they’ll do things to keep it that way. Completing the process of financial stability and sustainability will be a top priority for me and the city council.”
Akramoff said he will evaluate all the financial resources available to the city: “Some of these could have an impact on the community, but most don’t.”
And he will conduct audits because “I also think we need to get really clear about what the community needs from us as a service organization. When it doubt, reach to the community and find out what they want. In six months or so we should have a good picture of what those are.”
One of the things Akramoff has already observed “that’s been a challenge is communications. The city council and staff needs to be proactive in getting information out. And the city council made it clear that’s one of my responsibilities.
“The challenge has been to get information out before a crisis, before the rumor mill gets going, by being transparent. ”
Of Normandy Park, Akramoff said, “This is a very neat community. I did my research as I applied. I can see why everybody likes it and is protective about it.
“The city staff is very good, very professional. And I like the city council. At the end of the first week I had met most of the commissions. My excitement hasn’t waned at all.”
Before coming to Normandy Park, Akramoff worked for the Covington Public Works Department for seven years – five as public works director.
After graduating from high school in a small town in upstate New York, he went to work in maintenance for the local government.
“I did a little bit of everything,” he said. “Mowed lawns in parks, maintained two historic cemeteries, and worked with the water system, street maintenance and storm water system.”
After moving to the Northwest, Akramoff worked as a meter reader for the City of Olympia and then in street maintenance for nine years.
Then he helped develop the maintenance division for Lake Forest Park after it annexed and grew to 13,000 residents, and was maintenance manager at Sammamish before going to Covington.