Whether you are for or against any or all of the three property tax levies that will appear on the November general election ballot, the Edmonds City Council needs you!
City Council President Strom Peterson said the council must appoint people to the pro and con committees for each ballot initiative. (One person can be on more than one committee.) Members will need to sign a form (their name will appear on the ballot), attend a meeting, and participate in email conversations to finalize the statements.
The deadline to have the forms signed is Monday, Aug. 15, and statements are due at the end of the month.
Anyone interested in participating should email Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To all the bloggers out there, being a part of democracy is one step better than just talking about it. This is our city and we have an opportunity to bring about more transparency, more citizen involvement, and in the end help educate the public with what sometimes appears to be our infinite wisdom of the bloggers.
Regardless of our individual opinions we should have at our core the desire to help educate the public and make informed decisions. YES or NO are both good answers in this election for 3 important ballot issues. The council has been divided on a single levy or multiple levies; permanent levies or 3 year levies; levies which escalate over time and those that are stable; and in the end the people have gained a victory for this election cycle. 3 separate targeted levies, 3 year, non escalating,(even if all our home values begin to return). And we get to decide if and how our money is spent.
Each has legitimate YES and NO positions along with the resultant consequences.
For example. Streets. Facts: $59/year avg for 3 years to do a total of $3m of street overlays. Yes position is we get to decide if we want to start fixing the streets. The Mayor and Council stopped funding street overlays in 2008. So a YES vote will start the funding again and it is for Streets. The NO position is also clear. We can save the money, risk that the repair may cost more in the future or take the position to push the Mayor and Council to fund streets in next year’s budget. Or we may believe we do not have a problem. YES or NO the voter gets to decide the direction.
Maintenance and Park Issues. Facts: $30/year avg for 3 years for a total of $1.5m to do catch up maintenance and improvements. YES would mean we do the work and NO means we want the work funded some other way or we do not believe we have a maintenance issue.
General Fund Issues. Facts: $59/year avg for 3 years for a total of $3. This is about the projected needed revenue to keep revenues and expense in balance for the 3 year period. That projection is a status quo projection that appears not to reduce or expand city services. YES would tie us over through 2014 and give us time to let the economy recover. It also gives us time to completely and thoroughly evaluate how we provide Fire Services in the future. This is a $7m decision or about 20% of the GF. The Mayor and some Council members want to have a vote in 2013 to go to a Regional Fire Authority (RFA). Contrast that with an known obligation of the Council to evaluate the existing 20 year FD1 contract. We will have 3 basic choices in 2014 (if we have not already voted to go RFA). 1. Stay the course for the remainder of the contract. 2. Give a 2 year notice and go back to providing our own fire service or I think 3. We can do some renegotiation. The bottom line for the YES is it gives us a status quo position and time to decide some important issues. A NO on the GF also has its points. Among them is we can cut staff further than we already have. It would take about a 10% reduction to bridge the gap and is likely to impact services. Another plan would be to use $3m of our reserves. Depending on who you ask and how you do the accounting we have between $4-7m in reserves.
So bloggers unite, get involved on any or all 3 of the levies on either the YES or NO side. Just contact Strom Peterson at the email above and translate your opinions to actions. I have volunteered for one of the levies on the YES side and would like to volunteer for the GF levy on the NO side so I could join the 3 council members who voted NO on the GF levy. I am hopeful they will join the NO voices to match up with their convictions that lead to their NO vote. I would like to learn firsthand their solutions to the imbalance between Revenues and Expenses. They may have some good ideas that need to be shown to the people.
Finally, I would hope and urge all who read this to get involve with the process and not just talk about it. We can make a difference for Edmonds and we should feel some sort of duty to contribute.
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