After much debate, the Edmonds City Council Tuesday night voted 4-3 to require members of the Edmonds Citizens Economic Development Commission to live in Edmonds.
The measure, introduced by Councilmember Strom Peterson, states that the 2009 ordinance that created the commission “indicates a legislative intent” that members be Edmonds residents and that a residency requirement “serves the public interest.” The approved code amendment also states that if a commission member “fails to maintain his/her eligibility either through an amendment of the eligibility criteria or due to a chance of circumstances surrounding the commission (e.g. change of residency) after his/her appointment, that commissioner shall lose his/her seat.”
Petso, supported by Councilmembers Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Joan Bloom, unsuccessfully attempted to remove the retroactive element and save her appointment, but the effort failed when Peterson, Council President Diane Buckshnis, Kristiana Johnson and Thomas Mesaros voted against it. The three councilmembers also made the case at various points during the discussion about the value of opening the commission to a variety of people who are non-residents, including Edmonds business owners who live elsewhere or those who live in unincorporated areas of Edmonds, like Esperance. There was also an attempt to postpone the vote to a later date to allow for further consideration.
Bloom also wondered what would happen in the future if the same standard of retroactive non-residency was applied to other city boards and commissions, which councilmembers agreed to review later. For example, Bloom noted that three members of the Edmonds Sister City Commission are non-Edmonds residents. “Are we going to do the same to them?” she asked.
But in the end, those arguments did not persuade the majority to change their minds.
“I don’t want this to turn into a discussion over weeks and weeks when I think the intent (of those who created the commission) was clear, the change was simple and I think moving forward we can look at the other commissions,” Peterson said.
The council also:
-Authorized the mayor to sign Solarize Edmonds Project Memorandum of Understanding that supports a community-based project to encourage Southwest Snohomish County residents to install solar projects in their homes.
-Passed a resolution supporting the naming of the area outside the Public Safety Complex as Veterans Plaza, which will occur — along with a special ceremony — on Memorial Day, next Monday, May 26 at 1 p.m.
-Received a report on final construction costs for the Main Street Lighting and Sidewalk Enhancements Project, which Public Works Director Phil Williams proudly noted was completed nearly $100,000 under budget.
-Authorized the mayor to sign a professional services agreement with KPG, P.S. for design of walkway improvements to 238th Street Southwest from 100th Avenue West to 104th Avenue West. Included in the completely grant-funded project will be $50,000 for a Cascade Bicycle Club project aimed at educating Sherwood Elementary students on how to safely bike to school, Williams said.
-Received a report on bids opened May 8, for the Annual Sewer Replacement Project (Phase 2) and award of contract to Shoreline Construction in the amount of $1,778,836.26. The project involves six locations and will include installation of approximately 4,500 linear feet of new sewers and 1,000 feet of new waterline.
-Voted to have all council committee meetings recorded via digital voice recorders, with both the recordings and summary minutes posted on the city’s website.
-Agreed to hold a regular council meeting just before next Tuesday’s regularly-scheduled committee meetings to discuss Bloom’s concerns about the city’s efforts so far to hire a communications consultant. Bloom said she would like to see more council involvement in the selection process and also would prefer that the job description include a greater emphasis on increasing citizen involvement with the council.