Snead saw major changes in Quincy during 14 years
June 30 is the last day Tim Snead can call himself Quincy’s city administrator. He is closing 14 years on the job, a period in which he witnessed – and had a hand in – many major changes in town.
An open house for Snead and Dave Reynolds, who is also retiring, is set for 4-6 p.m. Friday, June 28, at City Hall.
He was hired as administrator in 2005, when there were no data centers in Quincy. Microsoft arrived shortly after, and so did many other changes, including the most recently completed city projects – a public safety facility and a new city hall.
He gave a farewell speech at the June 18 City Council meeting in which he listed ways the city has grown and improved and named city officials and staffers to thank them.
“I served with three mayors, four police chiefs … I have been through four different companies operating our wastewater,” he said.
In 2005, there were very few houses to choose from. Assessed value in 2005 was $264 million, and now it is a little over $3 billion now, he said. The city’s levy rate in 2005 was $3.10, and now it’s at $1.43.
“So, I feel like I am leaving the city in pretty good financial condition,” Snead said.
In an interview later, in the new City Hall, Snead reflected on his years in Quincy.
The city had not had an administrator for some time before hiring him, he said. Before that, Snead had been a Grant County commissioner and learned how local governments work. He recalled that as a commissioner, “Quincy was always great to work with,” and the rapport he had with city officials and his county experience helped him in the city role.
It is easy to find things to be proud of from his time as administrator. He summed it up as infrastructure and growth for the benefit the people in the community, and that has given him a lot of joy in his job.
“All the things that have gone on in the last 14 years have been a benefit to the community,” he said, adding that the economic development part of the job has ”just been a dream.”
Economic growth is one of the things the Association of Washington Cities promotes, he said. Without growth, facilities such as parks and services such as police cannot be expanded.
“I think (economic growth) has been extremely important to the community,” Snead said.
And there were many others who were on the same page.
“The City Council made my job easy,” because the council members also had in mind what is best for the community, he said.
Has Quincy re-invented itself? Snead said no, Quincy will always be a farming community, “and that’s great.” Data centers have added a lot of tax value, and homebuilding has picked up. But Quincy is still a farming community, and “I don’t see it changing” from its agricultural base.
“I would hope it wouldn’t change,” he said, “but we have diversified our economy.”
The library was built in his tenure and is one of the things he is proud of.
“I think that’s a gorgeous facility, and it’s something the community ought to be proud of,” he said.
What was the most difficult thing about the job? “Funding for our projects,” he said. He and Mayor Jim Hemberry were over at the Legislature many times “begging” for money and promoting what the city was developing. They even went to Washington, D.C., to try to find funding.
Deputy City Administrator Pat Haley was hired to learn from Snead on the job in his remaining months and then step into the role and carry on the remaining projects.
“I feel sorry for him. The learning curve is straight up,” he said.
Wastewater is the major challenge and will be for a while, Snead said. But the era of building public buildings may be over, other than the proposed recreation center.
Why did he choose to retire now?
“I will be 66, and a lot of my friends are retiring, and I have not been able to spend a lot of time with my grandkids,” he said. “It’s time to relax.”
He does have hobbies waiting for him. He likes woodwork and makes furniture in winter. In summer, he is usually on motorcycle road trips. He still wants to ride to the Florida Keys and to Maine.
Snead plans to sell his house in Quincy to his son and move to Grand Coulee. He has lots of good memories of weekends with family at Grand Coulee and Lake Roosevelt on a houseboat.
In his final week he was tending the roundabout project and the water re-use system – working on it to the end.
“This really is an amazing community,” he said, again calling attention to volunteerism here.
“Quincy has a real bright future,” because of its people, he said, and he thanked them for letting him be a part of it.
By Dave Burgess, email@example.com