The Edmonds City Council Tuesday night got its first public look at proposals from city department directors for the 2022 budget, and also approved an $18,000 contract with Seattle artist Clark Wiegman to design artwork for the renovated Civic Park. Once a final design is approved, an additional contract will come before the council to cover artwork fabrication and installation.
The new Civic Park design by Walker Macy includes the siting of a welcoming, signature artwork near the primary entry point to the park on 6th Avenue North. During Tuesday night’s meeting, Wiegman met the council virtually and also presented photographs of his work.
The budget presentation began with remarks from Administrative Services Director Dave Turley, who addressed concerns he had been hearing about the budget adoption schedule, including that it was rushed. (See the Oct. 18 My Edmonds News commentary by Councilmember Diane Buckshnis here.) Turley said that the city is following state law and accepted best practices in developing the 2022 budget, and added the budget schedule has been on the council’s extended agenda since Aug. 4.
“I’m kind of surprised that it’s being brought up now, that people are feeling rushed when you’ve had two months to know about this,” he said.
“I just want the public and the media to know that there’s nothing unethical about trying to pass a budget before Thanksgiving,” he said. Turley said that as long as he is finance director he will be submitting a similar budget timeline, so that people can concentrate on the budget prior to holiday-related distractions.
“My interest is having a collaborative, efficient process that everyone understands,” he said.
Buckshnis replied that her concerns focus on the fact the council is getting the Capital Improvement Plan/Capital Facilities Plan (CIP/CFP) budget document much later than it was originally promised for review. That leaves both councilmembers and citizens with little time to hear the presentation and make comments, she said.
(During their budget retreat in May 2021, councilmembers stressed the need to have discussions on the city’s CIP/CFP earlier in the budget process, as that work involves long-range planning and can inform budget priorities.)
In remarks prior to budget presentations Tuesday night, both Buckshnis and Councilmember Vivian Olson noted another concern: Approving the budget before Thanksgiving means that whomever is elected Nov. 2 to the Position 2 council seat now held by appointed Councilmember Luke Distelhorst, wouldn’t have a chance to participate in the budget development process. (The winning candidate — either Janelle Cass or Will Chen — would take office after the ballots are certified later in November.)
Councilmember Laura Johnson countered that during the 2020 budget development cycle, councilmembers had to sort through 41 budget proposals in a six-hour meeting on Dec. 10 — most not submitted in advance and thus not available for councilmembers or constituents to review.
“To me that was rushed, and one could argue was not as transparent as it could be,” Johnson said.
Turley then introduced the department directors to present their proposals. (Note that we are highlighting some items here, but you can see the complete list of budget packages at this link.)
– Increase funds for pre-employment medical assessments for police department, $6,800
– Fund assessment centers to assist in hiring of police department corporal and sergeant positions in 2022. $15,000
– Contractural increases for city attorney Lighthouse Law Group as well as prosecuting attorney Zachor & Thomas. $35,300
– Adjustments to non-departmental costs such as excise taxes, elections and voter registration, and Sno911. $74,689
– Increase in software maintenance costs that includes Zoom meetings and employees working remotely. $52,560
– Hardware maintenance costs. $26,700
– Add one commander position to establish mid-level management and adjust pay of two other existing positions that will be converted to commander. The recommended addition would allow the Edmonds PD organizational command structure to go from corporal, to sergeant, to commander, to assistant chief, and then chief. $266,385
– Purchase of body-worn and fleet cameras as required by changes in state policing law. Includes hardware, software and personnel to manage additional data collection. $731,088
– Establish a public safety marine unit that includes reinstatement of police dive team, to assist with search and rescue, recovery, evidence search operations. $73,150
– Create a police department community engagement program that includes a volunteer program, community academy, youth explorer and volunteer reserve program. This would be overseen by the department’s newly appointed community engagement officer, Tabatha Shoemake. $73,500
– Make safety improvements to the police campus perimeter to encourage pedestrian travel around the perimeter rather than through it. $270,180
– Hire a Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) program manager that would provide city-wide leadership to advance race, equity, diversity and inclusion goals. $155,677
Community services/economic development
– Increase half-time public information officer to full-time. $69,000
– A partnership between the city’s Climate Protection Committee and Washington State University Extension to develop and implement a seven- to eight-week public education and action series. Each session will provide information on various aspects of climate change with information about rebates, programs, and climate action opportunities specifically geared for Edmonds’ residents. $20,000
– Rooftop solar grant program focused on low- and moderate-income applicants. $150,000
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services
– Human services, $534,500
$81,000 for a full-time human services administrative assistant
$50,000 for supplies such as blankets, toiletries, gas / bus cards, etc and office supplies for new division office
$175,000 in professional services (social worker annual contract and updating key assessments to best inform decisions)
$500 travel reimbursement
$3,000 for communications (flyers, brochures, handout materials, etc.)
– Park planning and capital project manager. Current services are provided by a contracted employee. $119,840
– Creation of an ADA transition plan for the park facilities. $120,000
– Recreation operating cost increases. $40,717
– Replacement fleet vehicle for a field arborist.$60,000
Public works and utilities
– Third building maintenance operator for facilities. $84,000
– Update facilities condition assessment from 2018. $15,000
– Citywide carpet cleaning twice a year. $45,000
– Two new facilities maintenance vehicles. $145,000
– Ongoing building repair and maintenance. (This is a reserve fund for unanticipated expenses, separate from what is covered under already approved bond funding.) $100,000
– Continued staff participation in the commute trip reduction program, which encourages employees to use transportation alternatives like transit and carpooling.
– An additional variable message sign. $30,000
– Community event support to cover employee overtime. $40,000
– A consultant to conduct a review of utility rates and general facility charges — to recommend rates for next three years. $120,000
– An update of the city’s stormwater comprehensive plan. $300,000
– An update of the transportation plan. $185,000
– Hiring two additional full-time wastewater treatment plant operators. $214,000
– Installing new odor scrubber in City Park designed to alleviate smells drifting into nearby neighborhoods from sewer lines. $297,000
— By Teresa Wippel