Council uses fire department sale proceeds to fund museum repairs

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The Edmonds City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to authorize $100,000 for repairs to the 100-year-old Carnegie Library Building, home to the Edmonds Historical Museum at 118 5th Ave. N. The money will be combined with a $48,000 grant from the Washington Heritage Foundation, which was awarded contingent on the city finding a 1-to-2 ratio of matching funds. The money is coming from the proceeds of the city’s sale of Edmonds Fire Department equipment to Snohomish County Fire District No. 1.

The Council made the decision following a presentation by Public Works Director Noel Miller, who requested that the council authorize using $302,000 from the fire department sale to fund a variety of building maintenance projects, ranging from radiator replacements at the Frances Anderson Center to putting new roofs on the Anderson Center gymnasium and the Wade James Theater.

But Councilmember D.J. Wilson made the case that Fire District 1 proceeds — as a one-time windfall — shouldn’t be used to fund ongoing expenses like building maintenance. Noting the city’s looming budget deficit, “I’m not OK with us as a Council not having a real conversation about what our financial future looks like,” Wilson said. Councilmember Michael Plunkett agreed, noting that “we don’t want to take this asset money and start nibbling on it.” Wilson’s proposal to fund only the museum repairs out of the fire sale money passed unanimously.

Related to that discussion, Council President Steve Bernheim mentioned that he has scheduled consideration of budget issues — including the possibility of placing a levy before voters — for the March 16 council meeting.

In other action, the Council:

– Voted unanimously to name the city’s newest park, located at 162nd Street Southwest and 75th Place West, Haines Wharf Park. The decision followed the recommendation of the Edmonds Planning Board, which had considered a total of 63 names proposed for the new park, the majority of which recommended Haines Wharf or Haines Pier be part of the park name. (The park actually overlooks Haines Wharf in north Edmonds.)

– Heard a presentation from two citizens — Ken Reidy and Eric Thuesen — who are involved in a longstanding property boundary dispute in the 700 block of Dayton Avenue. The council allocated each man 30 minutes to explain his side of the dispute, which has been going on since 2006, when Mr. Thuesen filed an application with the city to subdivide his property and the legality of a shed constructed on Mr. Reidy’s property came into question. Since that time, there have been accusations of illegal actions by both property owners, including the failure to get necessary permits, and intimations that missteps by the city have been responsible for some of the delays. City Attorney Scott Snyder has instructed council members not to express any opinions about the case as it continues to make its way through the courts.

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