Letter to the Editor: How the City of Edmonds defines economic development

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Dear Editor:

The Edmonds City Council frequently has issues before it related to economic development, including Westgate, the BID (Business Improvement District), Highway 99 and the EDC (Economic Development Commission).

I wanted to share what I believe is the most recently adopted definition of Economic Development, from the Edmonds City Council minutes of 9/24/2002:

The undertaking of very specific and targeted efforts to identify tax revenue generating businesses that would be in keeping with the character of Edmonds, to actively market the benefits of locating their businesses in Edmonds and to assist prospect companies in locating their businesses here.

The objects are:
1. To increase the business tax base in order to reduce the reliance on property taxes;
2. Improve the business climate for existing businesses; and
3. To ensure a broad base of retail establishments and other businesses readily available to the citizens of Edmonds and the region.
4. Create and maintain a stable base of living wage jobs in the community.

Lora Petso
Edmonds City Council

2 COMMENTS

  1. While the objectives would support the development of new businesses and real estate in the city of Edmonds, the broader objective is about the encouragement and support of existing businesses and Edmonds economy. Perhaps, the city (mayor, in particular) has lost it’s way. If development of real estate is the only process used to satisfy objectives 1 and 3, it is likely that objectives 2 and 4 will go by the wayside. It seems a less lopsided approach than is currently being proposed and implemented would better serve the citizens of Edmonds. The current approach seems to be satisfying the objectives of developers and their companies only!

  2. Dear Councilwoman Petso:

    As item #1 wishes for an increase in tax revenue based on revenue from sales tax to the City of Edmonds. So, if business adds this revenue, saving property owners from a tax increase, is this not a “special benefit” to the property owners, as such they should have been included in the Edmonds BID. The Mayor in his letter welcoming a business to the Edmonds BID, states the same thing, thus a benefit to property owners. Yet, the city refuses to see the correlation to assessment of multi-family within the BID, stating they receive no “special benefit”. There is no legal definition of “special benefit”, beside the common vernacular. The City of Seattle applies the law correctly, without preoperative reading and application, amazing how Edmonds needs to cite a case from Colorado, for defense of its actions, rather than looking at what is done in it’s back yard. Edmonds looks for every loop-hole they can find to assess who they want and twist the law to avoid assessing others. That may be crafty, but hardly an honorable attribute.

    Point 2, Show me, or any of the business owners (29- I think now) who have been sent out for collections, one improvement in the business climate from the Edmonds BID, which was forced onto business owners in Edmonds. Show just one positive action, just one. Show me a more cohesive business environment.

    In the latest minutes of the Edmonds BID, they are now supporting a new effort called—- Friends of ED! please….

    On Sept 24, they held a luncheon and the board approved spending $ 12 per person for their lunches. They stated invitations were sent out, I did not get one??

    I find it rather ironic that business establishments which have been around the central fountain for numerous years, who have told me in person that they can barely pay their rent and are barely holding on, and who could not afford to pay their assessment, and were ultimately sent out for collections by the City of Edmonds. Then the money which has been collected from businesses, rather than doing a thing to improve anything for businesses, is being spent on lunches to entertain others? Rather ironic, don’t you think?

    EDBID, now known as Dysfunctional Ed! is highly reminiscent of paying money to the MOB for protection, the only protection you get is the stated act of them not harassing your business, and giving up your money. I guess sending businesses out for collections and the MOB, is a rather accurate analogy. Give us your money, or else.

    The $ 20K spent on painting stripes as an experiment, probably could have been re-directed to fixing the sidewalks downtown, or even in front of my store, after all, they are existing sidewalks, not the pipe dream and whim of the few. They are also what our tourist and shoppers walk on. You stated you want tax revenue, address real issues.

    The Edmonds City Council created an out of control organization in Dysfunctional Ed!, with no oversight, zero.

    Is the City Council ever going to address that businesses within Dysfunctional Ed! are assessed up to 369% more than the University and 45th BIA/BID as I pointed out in my highly researched and detailed letter to the City Council? I have not received a reply from any Council member regarding that issue.

    When will the Council admit they made a mistake, and shut down the EDBID, Dysfunctional Ed!?

    Or, is sending business owners out for collections, forcing businesses to endure more hardship, just fine with the City Council, as long as the City gets their money. The Council was snookered, admit it was a failure, and close Dysfunctional Ed!

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