City of Snohomish’s beloved
Finance Director, Debbie Burton, receives a Key to the City
SNOHOMISH — Mayor John T. Kartak presented City of Snohomish finance director Debbie Burton, the Key to the City, in honor of her 14 years of dedicated work during the June 1 city council meeting. Burton recently resigned from the position she has held since 2016.
Burton, a humble person, may want to downplay her significance to the City of Snohomish. Still, the community should be aware of her contributions, most notably changing the mindset of the city government.
Former Snohomish Chamber of Commerce Manager Pam Schilaty said before Burton started, the city served the citizens but seemed to forget the local businesses.
Schilaty said, “The idea of partnerships between businesses and the City (of Snohomish) came from Debbie.”
One of those partnerships was between the farmers and the Snohomish Valley Festival of Pumpkins. The collaboration with the festival not only boosted awareness for local farms but also created awareness for one of Burton’s proudest accomplishments, the town’s craft beer and wine industry.
Through her hard work promoting Snohomish, Burton turned the town into a craft brew and wine haven. Now several breweries and wineries are calling Snohomish their home.
Craft beverages aren’t the city’s only claim to fame, thanks to Burton. Capitalizing on the natural beauty that made her fall in love and move to Snohomish after her first visit in 1990, she brought more attention to local venues for weddings and events, gaining Snohomish the title, “Wedding Capital of the World.” Burton said, “We made people think of Snohomish first.”
Burton’s contributions to the community were not limited to her work for the city. She has been a member of the Kiwanis Club of Snohomish since 2012. The Kiwanis Club’s partnership with Snohomish Boys and Girls Club and their service to the children compelled her to join. The importance of community service was something with which Burton was raised; she said, “My Mom was always serving the community where I grew up and so that value was passed along.”
Burton grew up in Montana and graduated from Butte High School in 1985 and matriculated to Montana Technological University where, in 1989, she received her BA in Accounting. Although she was planning on retiring to her new home in La Conner, an opportunity came. The City of Sedro-Woolley needed a finance director. Burton said, “It was so close to home, I couldn’t pass it up.”
“I’m going to miss her like crazy,” lamented Schilaty, a feeling many in Snohomish share.
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