Edmonds City Council report: Police chief lauded, check presented — and budget work begins

Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan receives his award from Mayor Dave Earling
Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan receives his award from Mayor Dave Earling

It’s not every day you get a standing ovation in the Edmonds City Council chambers, but Edmonds Police Chief Al Compaan received that response after Mayor Dave Earling presented the veteran police chief with a plaque for 35 years of city police service.

“He is the longest serving police officer we’ve had in our midst in the City of Edmonds,” Earling noted.

Compaan even got accolades from Snohomish County Executive John Lovick, himself a former law enforcement officer, who happened to be in the council chambers for another matter — to assist in presenting an $80,000 county grant award to Edmonds for a spray feature at City Park. “I have never worked with a more professional person in my life,” Lovick said while offering his congratulations to the Edmonds chief.

Awaiting the start of the check presentation ceremony, from left: Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite, Earling, Council President Lora Petso, County Executive Lovick, County Council Chair Stephanie Wright and her son Quincy.
Awaiting the start of the check presentation ceremony, from left: Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite, Mayor Earling, Council President Lora Petso, County Executive Lovick, County Council Chair Stephanie Wright and Wright’s  son Quincy.

Those two presentations were followed by another recognition, a proclamation of October as National Arts and Humanities Month.

Then it was down to more serious business for the council, as City Finance Director Roger Neumaier provided an overview of a 2014 proposed city budget that reflects a rebounding economic picture. The city’s budget revenue for 2014 is estimated to be 7 percent over the 2013 estimate and 10 percent more than the  2013 budget, he said.

The increase is projected to come from rising property tax revenues, increased emergency medical services taxes, more sales taxes and greater building activity leading to larger fee and permit income. The budget also proposes increases in certain fees, Neumaier noted.

The goal of the 2014 budget is to spend most of the city’s increased revenue to restore some essential services that were cut in 2013, and this was reflected in the 51 “budget decision packages” — essentially areas where budget increases are proposed — that were introduced to the council during presentations by city department heads throughout the evening.

Among the proposals: restoring City parks department summer seasonal labor, adding back to the police department an assistant chief and partially redeploying the street crimes unit, and improving efficiency in the Information Technology department. The budget suggests spending $1.2 million to begin a long-delayed street overlay program and $200,000 for LED street lighting that will save electricity expenses for years to come. Several of the other new expenditures are linked to the city’s Strategic Plan.

All of the proposals will be discussed in detail throughout the budget process, Neumaier added.

You can see the entire proposed 2014 budget here.

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