Council gets first look at 2021 budget proposals, OKs Civic Park artist

Seattle artist Clark Wiegman, upper right, shares a photo of artwork he created for installation at the entry to Seattle’s Gas Works Park.

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.

Administrative Services Director Dave Turley makes a budget presentation Tuesday night.

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.)

Human resources

– 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

Administrative services

– 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


Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett makes her presentation.

– 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

Mayor’s office
Economic Development Director Patrick Doherty introduces the mayor’s proposal for a Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion program manager.

– 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

Development services

– 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

Development Services’ Rob Chave discusses the proposed rooftop solar grant program.

– 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

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Angie Feser talks about the proposed ADA Transition Plan for Edmonds parks.

– 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

Public Works and Utilities Director Phil Williams says purchasing new maintenance vehicles will address the issue that staff are now using personal vehicles for their work.

– 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

  1. I’ve emailed Mr. Turley the following this morning. Hoping to get a response with answers:

    Mr. Turley,

    The Edmonds City Council Extended Agenda updated October 8, 2021, indicated that Budget Deliberation and Adoption of the 2022 City Budget would take place on November 23, 2021.

    Are you aware that something changed a week later? The Edmonds City Council Extended Agenda updated October 15, 2021, indicated that Budget Deliberation and Adoption of the 2022 City Budget would now take place on November 16, 2021.

    November 16, 2021, is also the night the following is scheduled:

    Resolution thanking Luke Distelhorst for Service on the City Council

    Please inform all if you were aware of this change to the extended agenda?

    Also, are you aware that the following is what is CODIFIED for budgeting in Edmonds?:

    ECC 1.02.060 Mid-biennial budget review and modification.

    A review of the mid-biennial budget shall commence no sooner than eight months after the start nor later than conclusion of the first year of the fiscal biennium. The mayor shall prepare the proposed budget modification and shall provide for publication of notice of hearings consistent with publication of notices for adoption of other city ordinances. Public hearings on the proposed budget modification shall be heard prior to the adoption of the ordinance modifying the biennial budget. At least seven days before said hearings, the mayor shall distribute the proposed budget modification to members of the city council, with copies available to the public at City Hall. [Ord. 3671 § 1, 2007].

    ECC 1.02.060 has never been repealed. Ordinance No. 3671 has never been repealed. The City Council did pass Ordinance 3793, but that Ordinance failed to address Ordinance 3671 or ECC 1.02.060. Ordinance 3793 also contains at least one error so somebody may want to review that Ordinance.

  2. Mayor Mike’s REDI program with a price tag of $155,677.00 can be chopped first as it is a useless, unnecessary, waste of tax payer dollars and nothing more than a feel good for “wokesters”.

    1. It would be nice if the Mayor would explain what a REDI position is and the actual need for such a position. Would like to hear it directly from him. It would help the citizens understand and make a fact based position

  3. Thank you to the many residents who took time last night to call in during audience comments – especially those asking the council to not rush the city budgeting process.

    Also, I want to thank the resident who called in specifically to complain about what I said during audience comments. Thankfully, as Americans we are able to speak freely due to the First Amendment of the Constitution.

    It is important that we, the people, participate in our local government. The residents of Edmonds are at the top of the city’s organizational chart. Even when our elected officials don’t seem to be doing the will of the people, we need to continue to speak up. Even if they call us names, we need to continue to speak up. If we stop participating, if we stop voting, if we stop having the courage to speak the truth, we will have no one to blame but ourselves when our rights are taken away.

    Our elected officials are supposed to serve the residents, but if residents are not paying attention, pressing on Council and the Mayor to serve Edmonds better, then we can only blame ourselves when Edmonds morphs into something we never wanted it to be.

    As I mentioned to my new neighbors who lived in Seattle before moving here in the last six months, if you like Edmonds now, you need to get involved now because the decisions our council and Mayor are making now greatly affect how Edmonds will look in the future.

    This is the hope I want to share – as residents we can and are making a difference – when we participate. Local government is not a “set it and forget it” exercise, but it’s like a garden that needs to be tended to regularly. Forget to pull the weeds when they are small and they will eventually take over. For the good of Edmonds, keep speaking up.

  4. I will make 2 separate posts on last night’s meeting. Spend, spend, spend, spend, spend and let’s make sure that when we do so….everything is at the top of the range, carpet cleaning 2x/year 45,000.xx. (that could be an entire years salary for someone! And, let’s make sure that we force our police officers to wear body cams and get all the necessary software for the gear (because we can’t trust the blue/SARCASTIC) To the tune of 731,000 beans of taxpayer bucks. “Some” of this spending its just for the sake of spending. The nonsense Diversity spending is crap and I am a “minority”. Stop the nonsense.
    Keep our infrastructure of roads, parks, libraries, schools etc. Intact. If you add new govt jobs….eliminate something somewhere to offset wasteful spending and….sorry but if we don’t get artwork for over 100k, we aren’t going to kill over dead. This can wait….give taxpayers cuts on their utilities! Hmmm, but that would be too practical !!

  5. Let’s pause the budget process until January and indeed, my jaw drops at some of these amounts and whether they are necessary. In fairness, we should keep an open mind about spending and, at the same time, do the proper analysis in light of the relevant facts and authentic needs.

    1. Why does the mayor not speak for himself like other departments do or does he just not want to be questioned by council or public.

  6. Can someone please explain this budgeting process for me? I’m used to starting with what the priorities are and then working a budget from there. Last night was just a wish list. It was totally without context and an irresponsible way to present the information to the citizens and the Council. I saw no summation of the budget at the top level, let alone by department. What revenues are we expecting to support this budget? What am I missing? Please point me to where I can find the COMPLETE budget and not just these Decision Package Budget Reports.

    Hopefully, future meetings will provide additional insight and detail, however I’m not holding my breath, particularly with this administration.

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