A letter from Councilmember Plunkett: I’m not supporting an operating budget levy

As some may know, I will not be supporting the proposed levy for Edmonds if it is designed to subsidize the City of Edmonds Operating Budget. This is for two primary reasons:

To date, no real progress has been made on the largest, fasting growing expense in the City’s Operating Budget — that being labor cost and medical expenses. I cannot ask the taxpayers of Edmonds to support an Operating Budget that increases the pay and benefits of City employees at a time when many residents are struggling (and certainly not realizing similar increases), yet asking them to support these increases through additional taxes.

Also, as I have in the past (especially when former Finance Director Lorenzo Hines completely failed to provide open and transparent finance information to the people of Edmonds), I continue to  believe  we need more open finance transparency and financial information presented in a manner that is understood by our citizens. Again the citizens of Edmonds who will be asked to pay more in taxes need to truly understand the City’s financial picture in a user friendly manner.

Therefore, until Councilwoman Diane Buckshnis and Lora Petso’s efforts for user friendly finance reporting is achieved and operating budget expenses are resolved, I will not be able to support an Operating Budget Levy.

Michael Plunkett
Edmonds City Council

  1. Thank you, Michael, for taking this stand. And thanks to Diane and Lora for their efforts to bring transparency to the financial operations of Edmonds. Each of you deserves our support and recognition as we move, together, through this difficult process.

  2. I’d like to talk a bit about transparency. During my working career the companies that I worked for routinely conducted employee surveys, primarily to determine what the company needed to do to improve morale. Always at the top of the list, no matter what corrective actions were taken, was “improve communications”. For some of the citizens of Edmonds, its “increase transparency”; and it probably always will be.

    I cannot defend the city’s financial reporting since the summer of 2009 when Lorenzo Hines took over the top financial position for our city. The mandated financial reports were virtually never available at the required time. And there has not even been a representative of the finance department at the last two, perhaps three, city council monthly finance committee meetings. For this to have been an issue for as long as it has been is simply inexcusable.

  3. Mr. Plunkett, While I understand your position on an operating levy that goes to the General Fund do you have a position on a levy for Street overlays? Overlays have not been budgeted for the last few years and City studies show our roads are in need of repair. Further delay will only create a worse situation.

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