Mill Creek, WA

City of Mill Creek


For years, city leaders in Mill Creek, Wash. had taken note of the impacts the slowing economy and other factors were having on reserves. “Fat” trimming and service cuts hadn’t fully closed the gap. So, SCJ staff members worked with them to close deficits without losing things their residents considered truly indispensable.

The team used an aggressive outreach strategy to gauge priorities versus cuts. They tested ideas on vision and revenue-generation through informal polls at community events, a phone survey, workshops, open houses, an interactive website, a Facebook page, and more.

They also partnered with Leland Consulting Group to add direct city management expertise to help review and assess staff projections.

In the end, they helped the city develop a five-year budget strategy and an intermediate-span policy menu. This served the plan’s primary function – and helped guide future updates to the comprehensive plan.

In 2012, the Mill Creek plan received an APA/PAW Award for community outreach.


“Mill Creek was one of our very best efforts framing land use and other planning topics in context of fiscal sustainability. By the end of the process, council and staff were ready to make and act a range of very tough decisions.”

Rick Hastings
Senior Planner