Edmonds City Council approves interlocal effort to address Lake Ballinger water quality, flooding

A dock underwater on the Edmonds side of Lake Ballinger following a 2010 rainstorm.

The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night unanimously agreed to allocate $10,000 to a multi-jurisdictional effort aimed at addressing flooding and water quality issues in Lake Ballinger. The lake, located just north of the King/Snohomish County line and shared by Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds, has been the focus of a five-year effort by the Lake Ballinger/McAleer Creek Watershed Forum — which includes representatives from several municipalities as well as concerned residents.

Edmonds Public Works Director Phil Williams told the council that Forum participants developed a $1.4 million capital improvement plan and are hopeful that the plan could be funded at the federal level, through the Water Resources Development Act that is up for reauthorization this year. Through an interlocal agreement, three cities represented through the Forum– Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds and Lake Forest Park – would chip in $10,000 each to pay for a Congressional lobbyist, while between $1,400 and $1,600 per city would cover the group’s administrative costs – mainly for staffing Forum meetings, Williams said.

In addition, the council:

-Agreed to ask the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that would increase the charge for new developments connecting to the city’s water, sewer and storm water systems. The connection fee would increase from $908 for water, $730 for sewer and $428 for storm water, to $5,050, $4,417 and $799 respectively. The new charges were developed by a consultant, taking into account past investments into the system by long-time customers, Phil Williams said. The charges will be phased in over three years, with a 50 percent increase the first year and a 25 percent increase in each of the following two years.

– Heard a status report from SNOCOM, the emergency communications agency that handles Edmonds’ 9-1-1 calls, on the pending “New World” software upgrade that will improve information sharing among Snohomish County’s dispatch, law enforcement and corrections agencies. Currently, databases at various agencies aren’t always able to talk to each other and as a result it can be more difficult for dispatchers and law enforcement officers to track important information, from the background of a suspect being stopped for a traffic arrest to the medical history of a schoolchild with severe allergies.

– Received a presentation from City Finance Director Shawn Hunstock illustrating the declining balances in the various city funds, which have seen a 33.6 percent dip overall from 2000 to 2010. Calling them  “very significant declines,” Hunstock noted that 55 percent of the city’s general fund constitutes sales taxes, which are decreasing, and property taxes, which are limited by state law to a 1-percent yearly increase. Hunstock said he will place his detailed report on the City’s Finance Department website in the near future for citizens to review.

– Amended the requirements of a city apprenticeship program, approved in 2011, to make it easier to implement.

At the end of the meeting, Councilmember Diane Buckshnis noted that 49 baskets have been sold so far through the City’s new Adopt-A-Flower Basket Program, in which participants can make a one-season donation of $100 per basket. Donors will select the basket location, while the City plants and maintains them. You can learn more about the program here.





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