I am often asked “how are things going at the city?” or “what’s the city up to?” Both are fair questions and after giving my usual, “it’s always sunny and 82 in Edmonds” line, if the asker is serious, I acknowledge them, they deserve serious answers.
Coincidentally, I have recently spent time thinking through the tremendous amount of work which is currently underway by staff and contractors in the community. So below is just a sampling of the work being done, or winding up. Keep in mind, the list is only a portion of the workload, and is not reflective of the daily work that goes on in each department.
Public Works – a major project is about to get underway at 76th and 212th, the at-grade-crossing Task Force is nearing conclusion, as is the seasonal street overlay program and water and sewer line replacement.
Parks – the Fishing Pier rebuild is nearing completion, Civic Field planning process is underway, and the Frances Anderson Center new Band Shell construction will begin shortly.
Community and Economic Department – the new downtown public restroom construction is in progress, the multi-family tax plan will be before council soon, and the Diversity Commission is planning several outreach/engagement events.
Development Services/Engineering – the departments are busier than you can imagine with a high number of development projects from planning, to engineering, to building inspections. That, along with the Highway 99 sub-area planning and code updates, is keeping them “in over-drive.”
Police – the new Street Crimes Unit is in place and having tremendous success in dealing with drug enforcement, organized retail theft, stolen vehicles and prostitution. Year-to-date efforts of the entire police department have resulted in 237 felony arrests by members of our patrol, traffic, street crimes and detective units.
Human Resources – under new Director Mary Ann Hardie, the department is busy with health care open enrollment, job application processing, and preparing HR mandated workshops over the coming months.
City Clerk and Police – as is the case statewide, public records requests continue to consume vast amounts of staff time, as exemplified by just three requests which will each take one-plus years to fulfill.
Finance/IT – this time of the year, besides their daily work, staff is consumed with assembling the 2017 budget. The process begins in June and ends with the council approval in November/December. In IT, maintaining software programs, hardware, security, and now moving to cloud-based solutions, monopolizes every day.
So there you have it! In my opinion we have high-quality staff, with great expertise, dealing with a vast array of challenges on a daily and year-round basis. Do we ever fall short? Sure! But our educated and experienced staff face every day with enthusiasm and professionalism.
— By Dave Earling, Edmonds Mayor