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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-361-8176.
— By Mauri Shuler