Tonight: Your chance to be heard on property tax levy proposal

While we’ve had our share of comments on My Edmonds News lately about the Edmonds City Council proposal to place a property tax levy before voters, a common complaint by those who go regularly is that no one bothers to actually attend the meetings to tell the council what they think. So citizens of Edmonds, here’s your chance, as the council will hold a public hearing Tuesday night specifically to hear what you think about the idea.

The levy proposal that will come before the council in ordinance form was passed 3-2 last week by a temporarily smaller council (Adrienne Fraley-Monillas and Michael Plunkett were absent). It calls for $700,000 to perform overlays on aging streets, $800,00 for building maintenance and $1 million to cover the city’s budget deficit.

Also on Tuesday night, the council will discuss a report form the Edmonds Public Facilities District which will include additional funding required for the Edmonds Center for the Arts, which has been struggling to meet its bond payment during the recent economic downturn. And the council will recognize the promotion of Edmonds Police Officer Josh McClure to the rank of corporal, and will also discuss the possibility of self-funded medical insurance for city employees.

The meeting will be in the Council Chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N., starting at 7 p.m. Prior to the regular meeting, the council will hold an executive session on labor negotiations.

  1. Regardless of whether you think we should pass a levy to bring more money into city government, there’s plenty to be angry about. The recently completed levy survey of registered voters in Edmonds shows:

    Survey: 78% of us think it is very important that the City Council find a levy package they can all support, and not take opposite sides against each other.

    Council action: Pass a levy proposal with only 3 of 7 votes.

    Survey: 88% of us think that the City of Edmonds should wait until after they complete their Strategic Plan later this year before proposing a new tax

    Council action: Levy proposal passed last week. No strategic planning in progress yet.

    Survey: 65% of us think we should earmark the money from the levy for specific projects so they have stable funding

    Council action: Add in $1,000,000 to cover the budget deficit. This is money that goes into the general fund.

  2. Hi Joe, I always read with interest your well reasoned points. I worked on the levy committee and lead a discussion at the Feb 22 council meeting about levy options and taxes. Many of the points that came out in the polling you cited were discussed and predicted from the reserach we did. When we showed some examples of potential levies we cited that they should be targeted for a specific purpose so the people could decide for themselves if they wanted to support the targeted activities. We did not like the idea of taking a popular item, linking it with something less popular just to get the less popular item passed. We reasoned that voters are smart enough to figure out what they want and what they do not wish to support. We proposed AS EXAMPLES 4 levies each standing on their own so the public could decide what they want to fund and what they do not want to fund.

    Just an update on the Strategic Plan for Edmonds. The RFP’s are now back from more then 10 firms and they are being evaluated by staff and other citizens starting this week. The great thing about creating a strategic plan is that the work will look at the question of what we the citizens consider as a basic service and how do we want to pay for these services. This is an execellant time for all the citizens of Edmonds to provide their input. I dearly hope that all the folks who comment on MEN will make their voice a part of the process. The more input the better the plan that will result.

    Your comments about the polling and the levy work by council so far is right on. It is not likely they will get their work done by the May 24th deadline to be on the Aug ballot. That would mean they would have until the Aug primary to craft a levy request. That added 3 months will go a long ways to building a concenses.

    Thanks again for your comments, they are always fun to read.

  3. Hey Darrol,

    Your words are kinder than I deserve, but thanks all the same. It’s nice to know somebody gets some pleasure from my what I write here.

    I’m glad to hear that the strategic planning process will soon be moving forward. I think this is a great use of citizen and city resources. It’s easy to be cynical about likelihood that the City Council will pay attention to the outcome of strategic planning, but I truly admire people like you who have the stamina to keep fighting the good fight to keep things moving in a good direction. The strategic plan will provide a good framework for many future battles we’ll need to fight.

  4. I am so impressed with the process for the strategic plan…those on the committe are REQUIRED to rate the firms. Lots of great firms. I am excited!

  5. Ron B,

    You are very welcome, and thanks to you as well. Both you (non-represented employee salary information forwarded to you by Bernheim) and Ron Wambolt ($ spent on new construction in 2009 versus 2010) provided information which is not on the city website that I included in my comments to council. I have yet to receive a reply from Mayor Cooper to my May 7th request for a link to the Development Services Department report on land use applications in 2010.

    Due to the city’s lack of transparency, it is so important that all interested citizens work together to obtain the information that we need to make decisions regarding our city’s future.

    For those who are interested, here is a link to the text of the comments I made at the council meeting Tuesday night:

  6. Joan, It was nice to see you at the council meeting .So few come to speak any more.I totally agree with your comments. We have to keep hammering home what the citizans think. Hopefully more council members will start to listen

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