From the Edmonds Mayor: Big holes to fill

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Dave Earling
Dave Earling

As most of you know, the council has passed the city budget for 2016, which the staff and I proposed this past October. While I characterized the previous two budgets as “conservative” and then “cautious,” respectively, this year I have characterized the budget as “pretty darn hopeful”.

As I also previously reported, we have seen dramatic improvement in our economy and thus our revenues are up. We have been successful in bringing major businesses to the community such as Jacobsen’s Marine and WinCo Foods. Our Permitting and Engineering Departments have been challenged with a dramatic increase in construction activity. Public Works is involved in scads of catch-up projects.

And projections for next year remain equally strong.

During my first four years of office, we have been operating with dramatically fewer full-time employees as a result of cut-backs beginning with the 2008 recession. In 2008 we had about 232 full time employees, while currently we have about 212. With those reductions, the staff has been stretched very thin in several departments for years.

My budget to the council this year is focused on two areas. Bringing some carefully chosen staff positions back to the workforce to better serve the public, together with one-time expenses such as the wayside horn system to quiet train horns coming through town, providing a long-needed downtown public restroom, as well as several one-time software and hardware improvements in our IT Department.

Also front and center will be such additions as reviving our Police Street Crimes Unit and adding key members to Planning, Permitting and Engineering to keep the work flow moving for home improvement and construction permits, as well as Public Works staff to perform major infrastructure projects. We have a very productive and professional staff here in Edmonds. When we have true budget challenges we need to reduce. When the economy expands, we in turn acknowledge the workload increase.

The budget is a common-sense approach intended to acknowledge necessary, one-time improvements and additional staff, balanced against strong revenues. It is a restrained budget, does not overspend, and keeps us with healthy reserves. We need to keep the city on the move… common sense, restrained.

— By Dave Earling, Mayor

2 COMMENTS

  1. After 30 years of living in Edmonds and loving everything but the train noise! Thank you for the commitment to the train wayside horn system. All the businesses and people living along the waterfront, and all of us in the “Bowl” (and probably beyond) will appreciate the noise reduction.

  2. It is good Edmonds can have an increase in spending. We must invest to maintain and improve our quality of life. But we must also think strategically about the long term.

    And on that note, the nation should invest in re-tooling the entire freight train system. We could start here in Puget Sound. When they tunnel dig is over in Seattle; dig a rail tunnel from Monroe to Renton. Then remove the tracks from the beach. This will solve Edmonds noise, congestion and safety issues as well as let us more naturalize the beach which will improve the health of Puget Sound.

    Then eliminate the auto ferry from Edmonds and replace them with a fleet of catamaran passenger boats moving people, not cars, up and down the sound as well as across it.

    Edmonds should never allow the Edmonds Crossing project to be built. It will only enable complete urbanization of the northern Kitsap peninsula and eastern Jefferson County. Edmonds has waterfront; don’t build a freeway on our beach! That is what the Edmonds Crossing project is.

    If the Edmonds Crossing Project is built, we will go from having weekend ferry backups to all year round rush hour backups. All of the land owned by Olympic Resources, (the old Pope and Talbot lumber company), will be developed for housing, golf courses, marina, etc. There is a hole in the WA state growth management act that allow for construction of “Resorts” if you build a sewage treatment plant. So once that plant is in many of the surrounding property owners will want to develop for highest and best use by paying to join the newly formed wastewater district.

    Also think about how difficult it will be to route all the north bound auto ferry drivers out of town from the Point Edwards location.

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