Wait — Edmonds City Council makes a decision on filling vacant seat
Article updated to correct the original amount budgeted for City Park — $1.35 million rather than $3.5 million.
The Edmonds City Council took action Tuesday night regarding how to fill the Position 6 seat that has been vacant for two months.
They decided not to decide.
“I feel that this process has become very contentious,” Edmonds City Councilmember Joan Bloom stated before making her case to delay the vote two more weeks, until March 11. The other five councilmembers agreed, adding that they would spend the extra time continuing to interview candidates in the pool of 14 who have applied — all in an effort to break the 3-3 deadlock that has prevailed after two rounds of voting.
During the first round Feb. 11, the council went through 27 ballots before declaring a deadlock, as three councilmembers — Bloom, Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Lora Petso — voted to support former councilmember Steve Bernheim, and the remaining three — Diane Buckshnis, Kristiana Johnson and Strom Peterson — supported retired federal attorney Stephen Schroeder. In the second round, Feb. 18, the council went through 19 ballots and ended up with the same 3-3 split, for the same three candidates. (During both rounds, Buckshnis, Johnson and Peterson did try to throw the names of several other candidates in to the mix, but none of them garnered votes from the Bernheim block.)
The council has until March 31 to agree to a candidate; after that the decision goes to the Snohomish County Council.
In other action, the council also heard an extensive report from Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite on challenges that have developed related to a spray pad planned for City Park. The city has learned that the water tank that was supposed to be installed underneath the spray pad interferes with the park’s water table, requiring $322,419 for additional geotech work and documentation, on top of the $1.35 million already budgeted. There also could be additional costs later, Hite said, after construction work begins.
In addition, the city’s plan to include a built-in water reuse system so that treated spray pad water could be recycled for the park irrigation, toilets and the flower program has to be modified. The state Department of Ecology informed the city that it isn’t yet ready to approve water reuse for toilets and flowers, but that it could be used for park irrigation.
Options presented to the council regarding the spray pad tank were to approve the additional expenditure for geotech work at the current park site, to stop the project altogether, or to move forward with installing new play equipment — already on order as an upgrade for the park site — minus the spray pad, and look for other places to locate the water play feature. The council directed Hite to replace the play area while continuing an analysis of alternative locations.
The council also:
- unanimously confirmed N. Scott James as the city’s new finance director. James, an Edmonds resident, has served for several years in the same position with the City of Mukilteo.
- approved ordinances clarifying city wireless regulations and addressing the legal status of existing wireless communication facilities that were built prior to or just after adoption of Edmonds’ original wireless regulations.
- approved the city’s Parks, Recreation, and Open Space and Community Cultural plans.
- agreed to hold a public hearing March 18 on a proposal to sell surplus city property located near the intersection of 184th Street Southwest and 80th Avenue West in the Perrinville neighborhood. Staff was also directed to provide notice about the hearing to citizens who were involved in discussions about this property when a planned residential development was approved for the area several years ago. (That PRD approval has since expired; the hearing only involves the sale of the property, not any specific project or development.)