Residents offer ideas on 2021 city budget priorities

Edmonds residents begin gathering at Pine Ridge Park Saturday to provide input on the city budget. (Photo courtesy Vivian Olson)

Edmonds residents gathered outdoors Saturday to share their thoughts on priorities for the 2022 City of Edmonds budget.

Organized by Councilmember Vivian Olson, the meetings Saturday were at three city parks — Pine Ridge Park, Mathay-Ballinger Park and Frances Anderson Center Amphitheater.

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson will present the City of Edmonds budget to the council within the next few weeks. Then it is the council’s responsibility to go over the budget with a legislative eye and make decisions based on legislative priorities.

The last meeting of the day, held at the Frances Anderson Center, opened with Olson requesting to hear what people had to say, noting that budget priorities differed from neighborhood to neighborhood in Edmonds and therefore council needs to hear what residents prefer.

Resident Judy Hardesty said she wants to make sure the city council pays attention to the following:

  • Portable scales to prevent large trucks from residential streets. Hardesty says many large trucks are trying to avoid lights by using residential streets.
  • A dive team for safety in the Edmonds Underwater Park.
  • A bicycle team for Edmonds, which Hardesty thinks will encourage community engagement.

Councilmember Diane Buckshnis, who was also in attendance, questioned the need for a dive team without data on accidents in the Underwater Park. But several other attendees agreed that truck traffic needs to be better regulated.

There was a question about the new homelessness task force, appointed by the mayor, that excludes any at-large public citizens.  Councilmember Olson said she was happy to serve on that task force but agreed that citizen participation would be preferred. Councilmember Buckshnis stated that an ordinance banning camping in public parks was needed and Councilmember Olson mentioned a ban on panhandling. “We are in a pickle, statewide, with changes at the state level in policing.” But Olson hopes for some “down-to-earth, practical solutions” to a growing problem in Edmonds and everywhere. Buckshnis emphasized that there is no real current data on homelessness in Edmonds at this time.

Resident Joe Scordino recommended that councilmembers write legislative priority statements into the budget before approving it, so that staff would know clearly what council wants when actually spending their budgets throughout the year.

Scordino also told the councilmembers that it is difficult for citizens to have open access to the city’s budget since the budget decision packets are not available online. He was told by the city administration that they decided not to offer those online to citizens, leading another attendee to complain that council simply could not provide adequate oversight to the mayor’s budget.

Buckshnis said she is frustrated with the “fight” and the difficulties with council and city leadership but urged the public to pay close attention to the city’s Capital Facilities Plan and the Capital Improvement Program, since they needed to be carefully “scrubbed” by council.

Those and other documents can be found online at https://edmondswa.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=16495016&pageId=17275126

Olson has scheduled additional budget meetings as follows:

Thursday, Sept. 23

6 p.m. Haines Wharf Park – 16121 75th Pl. W.

Saturday, Sept. 25

10:30 am Seaview Park – 80th Avenue West and 186th Street Southwest

Thursday, Sept. 30

6 p.m. Hickman Park – 23700 104th Ave. W.

If you have questions, contact Vivian Olson at vivian.olson@edmondswa.gov or 425-361-8176.

— By Mauri Shuler

  1. As a resident that lives near Mathay- Ballinger Park, I would like to know when these meeting were announced and when it was. I would have gone if it was published and arranged in a timely matter. I asked around our neighborhood and no one else had heard about them. Did you talk about the concerns of residents on this side of Edmonds?

    1. A news release was sent from the Edmonds City Council staff person Maureeen Judge Sept. 13, which we publicized then — on our website and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts — and then posted a reminder on Friday. I don’t know what other types of publicity was done. We didn’t have anyone covering the meeting in the Ballinger or Pine Ridge neighborhoods so not sure what concerns were mentioned there but perhaps Councilmember Olson can provide a list?– Teresa Wippel, Publisher.

    2. Oshuna, There are still three upcoming opportunities including another meeting on the south side of Edmonds (that one is on Thursday, Sep 30th at Hickman Park at 6pm; the other two are this Thursday, Sep 23 at 6pm at Haines Warf Park and at Seaview Park on Saturday, Sep 25th at 1030 am).

      Residents from all parts of Edmonds are welcome to attend any that are convenient for them based on location and/or date and time scheduling.

      I found your email address from a past communication to Council and just sent you the notes taken on the citizen budget inputs at these first 3 of 6 town halls.

      Anyone else who wants it can email me at vivian.olson@edmondswa.gov and I will send it to
      you too.

      Inputs received in other ways are also making it into these budget input notes for Mayor and Council so if the meetings do not work for you I would love for you to connect with me in any way that does.

  2. I like the suggestion by Joe Scordino about adding a priority statement to the budget.
    Adding intent guides people while implementing.

  3. I see a lot of value from these neighborhood meetings. For instance, pointing out the problem with trucks on residential streets is helpful’.

    Each neighborhood sees things differently.

    It is also good to point out helpful actions. The crossing at Main Street and Olympic with the pedestrian signal has made that intersection much safer.

  4. I missed these meetings, but would definitely want to attend another.

    Here are four budget priorities I would like to see implemented.

    1) Snohomish County Buy-In-Bulk partnership. I would like to see us coordinate with other cities in Snohomish County to coordinate on city, PUD, and educational purchases to try to get bulk purchases for lower costs. This would lower costs and improve purchasing power for all cities involved. As well as reducing the need for quick purchases for out of stock items.

    This also could be good as a separate initiative for Edmonds businesses through the Chamber of Commerce

    2) Digital downtown business maps. I think we should set up 4 basic digital displays around downtown with maps to different businesses. With a cheap camera you can set up gesture and voice control system instead of touch so that these can be securely installed behind glass and easier to use. These could be installed at select storefronts and near the farmers market. I have reviewed the equipment and software needed to run these, and each of these could be set up for likely less than $600.

    With digital displays, you could easily add new businesses, guide shoppers to shops off the main street, and even give current wait times at different participating restaurants.

    3) 3D scan the insides of business stores, and allow people to support local businesses by buying local online.

    4) Repair existing sidewalks, and add new ones. Walking around this great city is one of it’s biggest charms. Improving our sidewalks is something that has a lot of support, and provides a lot of benefits.

    Also there is the safety aspects in neighborhoods as well. There is an area on 80th Ave W between 206th St SW and 212th SW where people walk in the middle of the road with zero shoulder in some places, and is a serious accident waiting to happen. We definitely should put some budget into addressing these safety risks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.