City Council wants Town of Woodway to pay true cost of Edmonds police service

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As it now stands, if the nearby Town of Woodway needs police service, the City of Edmonds will provide it according to an interlocal agreement between the two jurisdictions. Problem is, Woodway only pays when police respond — on a “fee per call” basis — which the Edmonds City Council believes doesn’t cover the true cost of supplying a police officer.

To address the issue, the Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night putting Woodway on notice that Edmonds intends to drop the fee-for-police-call service when the contract comes up for renewal next year.

According to the resolution, economic conditions have forced Edmonds to “accept certain reductions in services to its own citizens” and further service reductions are possible. The current fee-per-call agreement with the Town of Woodway “does not cover the true cost of the police services provided by the City of Edmonds,” the resolution noted, adding that a full service contract “would allow the City of Edmonds to capture the true cost of police services provided to the Town of Woodway.”

“I’d love to be able to buy health insurance and only have to pay for it when I got to the doctor,” Councilmember DJ Wilson said. When it comes to police service, “that’s the contract we have with Woodway now,” he added.

During both the councilmember and audience comments section, concerns were expressed about the amount of money being spent in local political campaigns; in particular the recent independent expenditure of nearly $17,000 made by the National Association of Realtors on behalf of Dave Earling’s mayoral campaign — the largest independent expenditure on record for Edmonds.

In this case, the expenditure paid for direct mailings to voters and polling and consultant expenses, for a total of $16,963.05, according to the PDC report. My Edmonds News learned after Tuesday night’s Council meeting that the same National Association of Realtors group made an addition expenditure of $9,757.20 on Earling’s behalf — for a direct mailing to voters — for a total of $26,720.25.

Like the name implies, independent expenditures are done independently of the candidates, who have no control over the groups who are supporting them. They also are not subject to campaign donation limits (in Edmonds, the limit is $500 for city council and mayoral races.)

In other action Tuesday, the council:

– In a continuation from last week’s meeting, heard additional reports from City Department heads outlining their respective departments’ proposed 2012 budgets.

– Listened to an overview from the city’s newly hired compensation consultant, who is beginning his study of compensation for the city’s 40 non-represented employee and creation of job descriptions for all 207 Edmonds employees.

-Passed a proclamation declaring the month of October Pancreatic Cancer Awareness in Edmonds.

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Good job Council! You actually made a decision and a good decision to renegotiate the Woodway contract.

    Regarding the independent expenditures in the Earling campaign, very, very, very sad.

  2. Undoubtedly the time is long overdue for the hiring of a compensation consultant. Unfortunately the time right now is not at all optimum for doing it, as the city is without an HR Director and there could be as many as 5 of the 8 elected officials replaced when the election is over. In fact the 3 appointees may only exist until the end of November.

    City Council should evaluate delaying this work until January.

  3. So let me get this straight: the city is making progress on the compensation issue and your comment that it is both too soon and not soon enough? I’m gonna be glad when this election is finally over.

    It’s good the consultant is looking at this. Its our best shot at taking the politics out of the compensation question. I hope he can get this job done soon.

  4. Some investigation (a call to Woodway, for instance) would have revealed that Woodway maintains its own Police Department and that Edmonds provides back up services only.

    For the 2nd Quarter billing, the Town of Woodway paid Edmonds more than $300 per hour for their services. I don’t know what Edmonds’ “true costs” might be, but if $300 per hour doesn’t cover it, the solution probably lies beyond raising the rates for Woodway.

    The insurance analogy put forth by Councilmember Wilson is apt only to a point: We pay into medical insurance to cover “the big one” when needed. Any “big one” in Woodway would be handled by its own Police Department.

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