Mayor announces $2.26 million levy proposal for Edmonds voters

Mayor Mike Cooper issued a video message on Wednesday announcing he has sent to the Edmonds City Council a proposed levy plan to go before voters this August.

“The time has arrived to allow our voters to decide the future of this city,” Cooper said. “After more than two years of talking, the clock has run out; now it is time to send this to the ultimate decision makers, the people of Edmonds.”

Cooper’s levy memo, entitled “Safe Neighborhoods, Safe Streets and Parks For Everyone,” proposes a 35-cents-per-thousand of assessed valuation general operations levy over a four-year period, that would be indexed with a 2.5 percent increase on an annual basis.

“Economic times are tough for every citizen and now is not the time for extravagant fixes,” Cooper said. “I am proposing what an average household will see as an $11-a-month levy that begins to restore what has been taken passively and quietly over time. Street maintenance, crime prevention, reliable parks.”

You can see Cooper’s memo to the council here, the levy calculation here and the general fund forecast here.

  1. Haven”t we been taxed enough to fill the city’s coffers? Mr Mayor and council, do like most folks have to and sell something, maybe the ECA at 11 -20 million that you have into it, I’m sure you have a piece of land or a Gold ring or something to sell at the hawk shop, We the people already voted for a levy lid and now your looking for a nice way as always for lack of spending controll by the city, to ask us to keep paying for the mess the council has gotten itself into. You say only $11.00 per month average, what are you basing that on? the prices of homes east of 99, lets be real with the people of Edmonds that its going to effect, the real cost to us is removing the levy lid!!!!!!

  2. I think the Mayor’s math is correct. A tax rate of $0.35 per thousand on property assessed at $377,000 is $132 per year, or $11 per month. The Snohomish County Assessor reports that the average Edmonds home was assessed at $375,000 for 2011.

  3. Count my family as 3 yes votes
    One question: If the levy fails will the city build fences around the city parks in order to keep citizens out?

    D. J. Wilson made the assertion that the Council would do exactly that when he was Council President. He also was for closing Yost Pool and cutting funding for the Senior Center.

  4. yost pool should be a private public venture..take it out of city control, off the books, would end up being profitable for citizens and city..better ran, more cost effective, etc..

  5. Here’s some interesting property tax data from the County Assessor:

    The average annual property tax bill in Edmonds for 2011 is $3,731. In Mukilteo it’s $3,796. Lynnwood is much lower at $2,585, but they’ve got the mall and red light cameras to supplement their income. And they’re in a deep hole, financially. Mountlake Terrace is the lowest in South Snohimish County at $2,335.

    If you’re interested in looking at more numbers for the county, they’re here on page 25:

  6. Mayor – have you identified the streets that would be improved by the levy funds dedicated to street maintenance? If not, it would help as while all homeowners are taxed, I doubt everyone gets the benefit. Seeing the maintenance plan would help neighborhoods know if they are in or out of the improvement goal.

    And I agree with Michael Burdett that Yost needs to become private so as to generate greater benefit to Edmonds, that is, all year. A great place but a missed opportunity to make it better. And all the levy does is allow it to limp along for 3-4 months of the year.

  7. how about putting a red light on 220th and edmonds way, instead of a flashing emergency light.

    ‘crime prevention’… what a joke.

  8. 220th does not intersect Edmonds Way.

    What do you mean by replacing a flashing emergency light with a red light? That doesn’t make sense to me.

  9. I’m in too. Omaha has a 2.5% prop tax rate (compared to our 1) AND 7% state income tax (we have none) AND sales tax. They take it when you make it and they take more when you spend it. Overseas countries have 30, 40, even 50 percent taxes. We need the money. Just make damn sure they spend it wisely. That’s what I want to see, Accountability. And I’m a Republican for smaller governments.

  10. Joe, Thanks for the math update, I would also agree with Michael about yost pool, The Mayor states it going to cost $200,000 to get this on the ballot, again that money could go to road work and or many other projects, my main concern is this, We voted in the levy lid and if this vote passes it will remove it, If we had a council that was in the least bit caring about real issues and financial responsibility I might not be so worried, But they dont listen to us or anybode else, Just ask the transportation Committee, They have plenty of funds thru REET and in the General fund that is suppose to go to road improvements, sidewalks for schools, Please read the last edition of the enterprise the reasons why the transportation committe RESIGNED not one all of them. You cant trust our leadership.

    1. Ed, just wanted to note that My Edmonds News reported the resignation of the transportation committee followed by a very lively discussion of the issue (32 comments). If you didn’t see that, please read the story here.

  11. Our taxes are in place to fund our government services. Over the past few years, the recession has had two impacts: service costs have continued to rise, and tax revenue has continued to fall. The City has limits on how much it can increase tax rates without a levy, and that limit does not support City operations.

    Speaking about government transparency and specific line items is distracting from the core issue – the City requires additional funding to continue to provide the services we expect. And let’s keep the discussions of personalities out of this, as such distractions prevent focus on the real issue.

    We DO need the money, and I am all for paying my fair share. Let’s get this train rolling so that we reduce the risk of future shortfalls impacting City operations.

  12. Todd:
    You, of course, are correct when you say that “service costs have continued to rise”. The point that some of us have tried to make here, using facts, is that compensation has not been appropriately managed. When there’s some evidence of that being taken care of I’ll then support an appropriate levy.

  13. Todd Cloutier said: “We DO need the money, and I am all for paying my fair share.”

    You state this as if it were an incontrovertible fact. While it is true that money is needed FOR projects like street overlays, it is less clear how much additional money is need FROM taxpayers. Without sufficient government transparency, any statement about government need lacks credibility.

    We obviously have some government transparency but many people here are arguing that there’s not enough. I’m still not sure what I think about that, but I find the arguments for more transparency to be interesting and compelling. If the mayor continues to ignore this issue, I’ll probably vote no on the levy.

    The mayor said “I think if we’re reasonable, we’re honest and we show the public what our real needs are, they’ll support it.” If he doesn’t address the transparency issue, I think he will have failed to pass that test.

    Your attempt to dismiss this discussion as “distracting” is at best insulting. I applaud Joan and Ron for responding with considerably more grace than I can muster.

    There are some voters who will mindlessly vote for a levy because “street improvements are good”. There are some who will will mindlessly vote against a levy because “taxes are bad”. But the election will be decided by those of us who want to understand the whole picture. If you want the levy to pass, it is unwise to ignore us.

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