The Edmonds City Council is scheduled to make a decision about bond refinancing at its meeting next Tuesday, Feb. 8. As this is normally a Council Committee meeting night, the main council meeting and the decision on the bonds will start at 6 p.m., with committee meetings following at 7 p.m.
At issue is whether to just refinance the bonds and take advantage of a lower interest rate, or to also pay some of the bonds off entirely with the reserves from the sales of the Fire Department assets.
In my last article about this issue (link here), I tried to explain the various options. Unfortunately, I gave some incorrect information about the possible use of free- up funds if the City Hall bonds were paid off.
New City of Edmonds Parks Director Carrie Hite made a presentation at the Jan. 25 council meeting that gave more clarity to how Real Estate Excise Tax (REET), which is one-half of 1 percent of the sales price of a house when it is sold. In my earlier analysis I stated that if the bonds were paid off, the first $750,000 of REET funds was set aside for parks. This was incorrect, as while that is the case for REET 2 funds (city fund 125), but the bonds are paid out of REET 1 funds (city fund 126).
REET 1 funds can be used for the acquisition of parks and REET 2 funds cannot be used for acquisition of parks. The City, however does not require that any of the REET 1 fund be used solely for parks acquisition, although they can be used for that purpose.
My error was in stating that the first $750,000 was directed to parks. I had confused REET 1 and REET 2. However, Council member Lora Petso has suggested that the council change their provisions so that some portion of REET 1 funds would be dedicated to parks. This will be part of the council discussions on February 8.
We would like your opinions on what should be done about the bonds. We have posted a survey aimed at gauging citizens priorities when it comes to the refinancing of these bonds. Please answer our survey so that your voice can be heard.