By Barbara Chase
As we are into the last weeks of the political season, a lot of words about money and how it’s spent is in the news. It’s certainly an important topic. Whether it’s salaries or which city projects the city supports, it is of high interest.
One area which seems ripe for misunderstanding is the REET fund — actually two different funds. This is money collected from the Real Estate Excise Tax. One fund (REET1) is designated for pay down of debt on such things as the ECA, Brackett’s Landing Park, Marina Beach Park, City Hall and seismic upgrades for the Frances Anderson Center.
Up to $750,000 of the other fund (REET2) is dedicated to parks capital needs. Just recently the fund has brought in $650,000.
When the city voted $70,000 to guarantee the completion of the Old Milltown Courtyard/Park, the money came from that REET fund. The City council had missed the deadline for grants, but decided to vote for it so it was not delayed until 2012. Winter weather would hinder progress should the city wait. Money to complete the Interurban trail came from the same fund.
In the meantime, several community groups such as Floretum Garden Club, Edmonds in Bloom, Edmonds Arts Commission and ACE came forward with pledges. The Hubbard Foundation and a local citizen who is paying for a drinking fountain are other contributors. $30,000 is pledged to reimburse the REET fund. Hopefully more money will come in the future.
So happily a new park will blossom and the three-year wait will end. A park in the center of town will come to fruition. This is a good example of the city and citizens coming together for the common good.