In his final budget address to the Edmonds City Council Tuesday night, outgoing Mayor Dave Earling offered some words of wisdom to the new administration that will take over city government in early 2020.
While introducing his proposed $131 million budget for the coming year, Earling — who is not seeking re-election in November — noted the range of projects city staff have completed since he took office in 2011, from the 228th and Highway 99 corridor improvements to the Five Corners Roundabout to the Dayton Street utilities improvement project, now underway. He then reiterated the importance of continuing to modernize the infrastructure of 129-year-old Edmonds, stating that so far the city has spent over $8 million during the past seven years on street resurfacing, with another $1.2 million scheduled for 2020.
Of the $10 million Edmonds had acquired in state funding for Highway 99 improvements, the city has used $1 million, with the rest becoming available in 2021, Earling said. “The next administration will need to be focused on the Legislature and Washington, D.C. for long-term funding” for the $150 million to $175 million estimated to complete Highway 99 renovations, as well as finding additional state and federal funding for the Edmonds Marsh restoration and Willow Creek daylighting projects, he said.
The mayor also referred to an extensive study conducted recently that highlighted the need for extensive maintenance work on many of the city-owned facilities. A total of $1.5 million has been allocated in the draft 2020 budget to begin stage one of the estimated $6.5 million of facilities improvements needed, Earling said. In addition, there is funding for both the waterfront redevelopment and Civic Park projects, and “constant vigilance will be needed in meeting those budgets,” the mayor said.
The proposed budget, which was distributed to the council Tuesday night and will be available for the public to review on the city’s website Wednesday, includes two new full-time staff positions as well as three new half-time positions, Earling said.
“On the revenue side, we’re having another very good year” due to the Puget Sound region’s very strong economy, Earling said. The mayor also pointed to the revenue generation efforts of the Edmonds Downtown Alliance, the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, the Port of Edmonds, the arts community and city staff, who “have all worked to increase our reputation as a daytime destination.”
“Without shopping malls, without big box stores, we’ve created an identity that generates the revenue needed to sustain our community’s expectations and quality of life,” Earling said. “It is a reputation I hope the new council and administration will continue to foster for our future financial well-being.”
In conclusion, Earling stated that the proposed budget “looks to the future and at the same time is focused on making only good decisions for the long-term good of our community. We leave you with a city which has a new sense of energy and vitality. We leave you with a very healthy community and a strong fund balance.”
“It has been my pleasure to serve the city,” Earling said.
Also at Tuesday night’s council meeting:
– the city was recognized by Snohomish County PUD for the energy-saving efforts of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
– the council voted unanimously to appoint a short-term task force that will review the results of the Windward Environmental’s baseline study of the Edmonds Marsh and determine next steps for implementing recommendations.
— By Teresa Wippel