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The original item was published from 10/5/2023 10:40:00 AM to 12/5/2023 6:17:26 PM.

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Posted on: October 4, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Outgoing Mayor Wickham Passes Baton to New Mayor Urban Carmel

Jim Wickham, a man in a suit, smiling, with a natural. outdoors backgroundAt their first meeting in October, the City Council focused on passing the symbolic baton from one Mayor to the next, acknowledging the contributions of outgoing Mayor Jim Wickham and welcoming the new Mayor, Urban Carmel. In Mill Valley, Council members are typically elected to serve as Mayor for a one-year term during their tenure.

During the meeting, members of the community, City staff, and fellow City Councilmembers shared their reflections on the past year and their hopes for the year ahead. Mayor Wickham received an abundance of well-deserved praise for his leadership during a year filled with significant events, including a local election, the addition of Councilmember Caroline Joachim, and key appointments like City Manager Todd Cusimano and Arts & Recreation Director Ashley Howe.

Wickham's tenure was marked by important developments related to housing, such as the Housing Element Update and 1 Hamilton, as well as crucial steps in addressing climate change and sustainability. The City drafted the Climate Action Plan, hired a Sustainability Coordinator, and adopted the Reusable Foodware Ordinance. Public safety was also a priority, with the adoption of the E-Bike Ordinance and effective responses to record-setting winter storms.

In his remarks, Mayor Wickham extended his gratitude to the Council, City Manager Todd Cusimano, and the entire community. He encouraged community members to consider joining the City Council, highlighting the Council's cohesiveness and commitment to doing what's right.

“For the past 15 months and for the second go around being Mayor, I first of all want to thank the Councilmembers who supported me to be Mayor. It’s been a great time,” he said. “One of the things I like about the Mill Valley City Council is that we're pretty cohesive. We don’t always agree on some issues, but we respect each other very much. We respect our community and we all have a huge desire to do the right thing.”

He also took pride in accomplishments during his tenure, such as the consolidation of Mill Valley's Fire Department with the Southern Marin Fire District, advancements in affordable housing, and significant infrastructure improvements like the East Blithedale Project and the Downtown Project. Wickham emphasized the importance of planning for future infrastructure needs, the appointment of the Infrastructure Funding Study Committee and noted that it is important to acknowledge that challenges lie ahead.

“We recognize that in the next 10 to 15 years there’s a lot of infrastructure issues we need to address in Mill Valley that are way beyond our current budget,” he said. “Where do we want to be in 10 to 15 years from now, and how are we going to pay for it? We can’t just put our head in the sand and pretend things are not going to happen down the line.”

"I'm very excited for the next 15 months as a part of the City Council, as Urban moves forward with this committee," Wickham added.

Two men in blue shirts stand facing the camera and smile, shaking handsMayor Wickham then formally nominated Urban Carmel as the next Mayor, and Carmel, in turn, nominated Stephen Burke as Vice Mayor. The Council voted unanimously to approve these nominations.

Carmel lauded Wickham’s service to the City. “Your understanding of this City, your ability to provide the spotlight of history on all the decisions that we make is so incredibly valuable. I really appreciate it.”

Councilmember Stephen Burke said, “To know Jim is to like him. Jim always brought a perspective based on experience, insight and empathy that I think is really powerful and a great lesson for me on this dais. I want to thank you, and I’m looking forward to the next 15 months with you. And I wish to keep learning from you and I have deep appreciation and gratitude for everything you’ve done.”

Newly appointed Mayor Carmel outlined a range of projects and initiatives for the upcoming year, including infrastructure improvements, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, climate action, affordable housing, business vitality, traffic management, and governance.

He underscored his motivation for serving on the Council—the remarkable people of Mill Valley: “People bring incredible passion, intelligence, interest, time and effort, and often their pocketbook to make this community better. I don’t think you can find another community that’s like Mill Valley. If there’s something that needs to get done, there’s a group of people that are there to get it done.”

"We face several challenges in the coming years, but we start from a position of incredible strength," Carmel concluded.

After the meeting adjourned, Council members, colleagues, friends, and family gathered for a reception to celebrate the Mayoral transition. 

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