"Mayor, police and fire chiefs assess state of the city"
June 25, 2008 · Updated 12:28 PM
"If it weren't for the fact that several newly-paved roads in Langley have encouraged some drivers to break the speed limit, the little South Whidbey city might not have any problems at all. At least that was the assessment from Langley's mayor, its police chief, and Fire Protection District 3 Chief Don Smith Monday night when they gave an informal State of the City address for the Langley Community Club. Stability, said the three officials, is Langley's strongest trait. From City Hall employees to police officers and volunteer firefighters, Langley retains the people who administer and protect it for long periods of time. All four of the city's police officers have worked in the city for more than seven years each, while fire district volunteers typically serve an average of five to 15 years. Mayor Lloyd Furman said long-serving employees and volunteers at City Hall as well have made Langley a safe and well-run city.Nothing substitutes for good employees, he said.Speaking to the community club membership, Furman listed dozens of accomplishments which have taken place while he has been mayor and on the city council. Among them, he noted, the city is out of debt and has received good audit reports from the state each year for the past five years. The city has a new post office, a new visitors information center, and a remodeled fire hall -- which was annexed by Fire Protection District 3 after a citywide vote to do so. Future challenges include the construction of the city's sewer system and the repair of many of the city's streets.In addition to being debt-free and built up, Langley is also a safe place, said Police Chief Bob Herzberg. While admitting that the city's four-officer department responds to more calls now than it ever has, he said major crimes are almost non-existent in the city. Drug arrests, which reached a peak in the city and at Langley Middle School eight years ago, are also nearly unheard of now.Langley is just fine, Herzberg said. Lock your doors, be prudent, but have a good time.Herzberg said his officers will be doing more traffic enforcement in the coming months, since the city's newly smoothed roads are a temptation to speeders.So we're going to have to sharpen our pencils and start getting mean again, he said.Chief Don Smith placed most of his emphasis on how the fire district can serve Langley better than the old fire department. Since the annexation of the department, he said Langley's volunteers have had more access to training opportunities and more funding than ever before. In the future, the city could have nearly 24-hour fire protection when the district starts a sleeper program and begins to bring more high-school-aged firefighters into the fire hall. Smith said he hopes to make the fire hall a place where younger firefighters spend their spare time. By providing them with a place to come, a television, a pool table, and a few other toys, Smith said the district can provide nearly instantaneous fire response within the city and district. Plus, there is almost no extra cost for that protection.All of these toys are cheap compared with hiring one firefighter who will cost you $50,000 a year, he said.The Langley Community Club holds a State of the City evening annually. "