Skippers purchase proposal dies for lack of counter offer

Councilmember D.J. Wilson listens to the discussion during Tuesday night's meeting. (Photo by Chad Emerson)

The Edmonds City Council’s proposal to purchase the vacant Skippers restaurant property across from the Edmonds waterfront for $1.1 million is dead — at least for now.

The Council had voted 5-2 during its April 14 meeting to purchase the property pending the outcome of an appraisal and feasibility studies. During executive session at the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, the council learned that Cascade Bank did not accept the city’s counter offer, submitted last Friday, which addressed the amount of time the city can take to conduct its “due diligence” activities on the property before deciding whether to actually buy it. The city had originally requested 90 days to perform due diligence activities such as an appraisal and environmental assessments but the bank had countered with a 60-day period.

The council decided not to make another offer for the property Tuesday night, effectively putting an end — at least temporarily — to an issue that has drawn both fire and support from Edmonds citizens since the April 14 vote was taken.

The bank did have a second offer from another potential buyer, which was for less than the council’s offer of $1.1 million but would involve a two-year contract rather than the city’s offer, which would be in cash. Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, who has staunchly supported the Council’s decision to at least investigate the Skippers property, said after the executive session that the proposal could come up again depending on the outcome of the other offer. It all depends on what the bank says, she said.

In other action, the council discussed the procedures to follow in determining whether to place a levy before citizens. No decision was made on timing, but members of the council’s finance committee — Michael Plunkett and Diane Buckshnis — proposed forming a seven-member commission to study the city’s current financials, look at long-term projections and make a recommendation after a thorough review.

The discussion led to a testy exchange between Councilmembers Wilson and Fraley-Monillas, as Wilson stressed the urgency of placing the measure before voters sooner rather than later, given the city’s looming budget deficit. “If we don’t take a vote in August or November, then we are going to be taking a vote that will put us into 2011 or 2012,” Wilson said, adding that “by 2012 we will be deeply in the red.”

“I will not be bullied or pushed into a levy until I have numbers in front of me,” Fraley-Monillas responded, noting that the budget situation may not be as dire as Wilson suggests. “We don’t have a clue what we are doing.”

Mayor Gary Haakenson assured that council that the budget he will present to them in the fall will contain “severe budget cuts that reflect the city’s projected shortfall. It’s not panicking, it’s not “the sky is falling,” Haakenson said. It’s a fact that we’ll be in the red in 2012.”

The council also decided to hold a public hearing in the next few weeks on Plunkett’s proposal to change the city’s governance structure from a mayor-council to city manager-council form of government. Plunkett said that he believes the timing is right to introduce such a measure, since Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson is nearing the end of his third term and has already stated he doesn’t plan to run again. (Haakenson’s term expires at the end of 2011.) If approved by the council, the measure is likely to appear on the November 2010 ballot.

  1. Our Council, I trust, knowing the facts better than all of its critics, has probably made a wise decision to postpone or give up entirely the Skipper’s opportinity. And they will act respnsibly and carefully while ignoring Wilson’s “panicking.”

    A levy discussion will soon need to take place. It is still a lingering question why after approving a levy proposal last year, Wambolt and the two blatherskites, Wilson and Peterson joind Olson in canceling it. The community would probably have supported that levy then.

    What is most needed now from the Mayor and Budget Director is an up to date and accurate statement of our finances. Its a mystery to me why this still isn’t available.

    Also, it would help if Wilson would do a lot more listening and far less babbling. For instance,is he really concened about parks? I think not. Last year he stated that if a levy failed the city would build fences around all of the PARKS to keep the citizens out. How utterly moronic. And then he proposed a Council resolution to support the mayor’s efforts to close Yost pool and to reduce Senior Center support. This died without discussion nor a second. Wilson is an erratic blatherskite who wastes a lot of the council’s valuable time,

    Finally, the city must NOT reduce one penny from the Police Dept. PUBLIC SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT. (Certainly not, while retaing the pie in the sky fiber optic mirage, which even the Mayor has strong doubts about).

  2. I want to thank everybody for making some noise maybe the council listened, I hope this one is over

  3. While the right outcome has been accomplished the Council once again failed to admit their initial decision to purchase the park was flawed. They took a backdoor technicality to explain away the fact that the purchase wasn’t prudent.
    if they really felt the purchase was best for the city, they would have pursued it by working out a new agreement with the bank.

    Instead of admitting that there was no money to puchase the property, without dipping into general funds (1.If they used REET 126 funds for the purchase,there wouldn’t be enough left to make the debt service, which would then come out of the general fund 2. The odds of getting a grant were long and at earliest were over a year away, 3. Even if they had secured funds to purchase, funds to maintain or develop the property do not exist)

    They continued to say they were going to do what the citizens wanted, yet ignored that every indication, polls, emails, testimony, all emphatically showed that citizens did not want the city to make the puchase.

    It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a piece of property that had been sold just four years before, who’s lifetime is that?

    Yet, rather than admit that it was just a bad idea, they snuck out the backdoor by saying that the bank had not responded to their offer and so the offer was no longer valid.

    We got the right end result, but we also saw how the council arrogantly didn’t listen to it’s citizens and admit that their original plan was flawed.

  4. I don’t know who Harry is, but he summed up the situation beautifully, and accurately. He’s left nothing for me to add, except to say that I hope that he stays involved.

    Ray Martin’s comments above show very clearly that whatever position his buddies on the council take, it’s absolutely the position that he’ll support.

  5. Well said Ron.

    Ray Martin’s nonstop deceits, heckling, name calling and encyclopedic knowledge of logical fallacies are a poor substitute for rational, fact-based discussions. I would describe his usual premise as argumentum ad hominem, or in terms he won’t need a dictionary for; claptrap and noise pollution.

    It is ironic he uses the term blatherskite, “a babbling, foolish person” to describe others when it clearly hits so close to home.

  6. Harry, great comments. Council majority is out of touch, out of money and hopefully soon, out of office. We won’t forget their arrogance at election time.

    Ray “blatherskite claptrap” Martin- thanks for wearing the mantle of “town crank”. You wear it well.

  7. Harry – astutely observed, and lucidly stated. Please continue to comment – more such voices are needed to counter the accusatory babble often found online.

    Now, on to the next few tasks:
    1. Levy. Yes, we’ll need one. How precise does it need to be in order to be justified? Tough question, but Patton said it best, “A good plan, violently executed NOW, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
    2. City Manager form of gov’t. Interesting study. Nothing yet on why it is needed or will enhance Edmonds, just a change whose timing makes sense so far, so I’ll stay tuned to see if there’s something more to this than a back door path for Plunkett to act as Mayor.
    3. The 800 pound gorilla. The economy of Edmonds. The Economic Development Commission has been meeting weekly, working on project proposals and ideas, and the only mention they got at the Council meeting was one “I attended the EDC mtg”. I look forward to proposals from the EDC, no matter how small, to spur growth, diversification, and robustness in the Edmonds economy.

  8. So Ray My guess is that you will not be endorsing DJ Wilson if he runs for mayor. On another note does anybody know what there doing with the sewage treatment plant . There’s equipment in there material rebar but nothing is happing, It looks like the job is shut down

  9. Good comments from Todd. #2 is a new twist that I have known for years as far as
    Plunkett wanting to be mayor.
    I do think we need to give council kudos for getting out of the deal now matter how. I hope it was because they saw the hand writing on the wall. If they did. I’m for starting over with a fresh attitude with this council. If they act openly and above board I see no reason to rush to replace them. Time will tell us soon enough.
    Dave Page

  10. Dave:
    It seems to me that the council didn’t get out of the deal; it was the bank that brought it to an end by not responding to the city’s last offer.

  11. I was told from a good source the city would not agree with what the bank wanted and it had to with disclusure, now we really won’t know till the minutes of that last meeting come out, my personal feeling is that the bank figured that the city would’nt get the property because of one of two reasons or maybe both one the appraisal would be lower than the offer 2 there is a lot of contaminated soil there. Now those are probably the REAL REASONS, We will never know, the bank probably put that disclousure thing in to just get out of the deal, knowing the city couldnt accept it and the other party would buy it. It doesn’t really matter the main thing is the city is out of the deal, I will give the council credit for holding there ground with the due dillgents, and if that other party is reading get that property checked out , there is something funny or up with this whole thing.

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