Letter to the editor: ‘Do things right, not just expedite’ budget process

Editor:

I am very concerned that the budget process is unnecessarily being rushed. I have sent the following letter to the Edmonds City Council and Mayor, and I would like to share my concerns with you and my Edmonds community.

Many people have been saying that the budget and planning processes are being “expedited” because of the coming election. I hope there is a much better reason than that. Good plans for Edmonds survive elections even if the designers don’t.

How come there is never enough time taken, by the people we have elected, to have constructive discussions with the many knowledgeable people in our community who are willing to volunteer their time and expertise to help the Edmonds community? It appears that even when there is input given, solicited or otherwise, it is rarely considered if it is not in line with and supports where the council or mayor want to go.

Here is a case in point. In December of 2020 the Save Our Marsh (SOM) group of well-informed citizens, wrote a letter to the Edmonds council. In it, they suggested, after much research, a change that needed to be considered to the Capital Facilities Plan (referred to below as the “CFP”). They wrote:

“Restoring the tidal-estuarine functions of the Edmonds Marsh-Estuary and making necessary modifications to Marina Beach Park should   NOT be placed under a Stormwater heading in the CFP; the focus of the estuary restoration project must be on ecological processes and benefits to salmon/wildlife as well as public recreation. As the SOM has suggested previously, a future CFP should place the restoration project under “Parks” (since the Edmonds Marsh is a wildlife reserve/sanctuary)”

It saddens me to see wonderful opportunities to create exceptional environmental conditions fall victim to politics and political infighting. our local government seems to be becoming a microcosm of other larger governments, in that the thinking of the people that we elect revolves more around their staying elected or getting what they want rather than taking the time to effectively engage the community, lead a civilized discussion and listen to the needs of the people of Edmonds so that the council can make community centered decisions.

In the case of the marsh/estuary, we actually have time, since WSDOT doesn’t even have the land yet and will not for at least a year, to really plan for the future of the marsh/estuary. Let’s not jump ahead with unfounded and inappropriate decisions. Let’s call on our Edmonds community to bring well thought out plans to the table before we hire outside consultants to tell us what is “right for Edmonds.” Let’s have a dialogue with the city staff and the community they are paid to serve.

Do things right, not just expedite!

Thanks for reading this.

Bernie Busch
Edmonds

  1. great letter, with the current partisan mayor and several city council members, this issues in this letter will be ignore. the counc8l has its own agenda regardless of citizen concern. this upcoming election can change this by booting many of the partisan arrogant council members.

  2. Excellent letter that accurately summarizes what so many of us who care about the Edmonds Marsh have been saying for a long time: It is primarily an ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION project, not a stormwater project. Marsh restoration should proceed with the goal of full ecological function as the driving force. Budget allotments need to be corrected to accurately reflect this significant distinction.

    Over the past year, many citizens have tried a variety of ways to communicate to council members the importance of having our city budget reflect this big picture restoration goal for the Marsh. We have sent letters and emails, given public testimony at council meetings, written guest columns and letters to the editor in local news sources, and organized community work parties at the Marsh. Will this year’s budget deliberations show we’ve been heard? That Council is listening to the scientists in our community and the many citizens with first-hand knowledge of the Marsh? I join many in hoping that it will.

    1. Be sure to send your comments directly to the City Council in written form because these comments on MEN raise awareness for the community but they do not get recorded into the public record. I would also encourage you to make you views known the public hearings for the budget and during the public comment period during Council Comments at the beginning of every Council Agenda.

      I am one of your Council Members and I will represent your concerns about the Storm Water project. When it was in the Parks Department, it was an eleven million dollar project but now that it is in the Public Works Department it is a sixteen million dollar project. When the City applied for a grant last year as a storm water project, the granting agency denied it’s narrow proposal. We would more likely receive generous granting , after environmental cleanup is complete, in the future. Now, we will all see our utility rates increase to pay for this inflated storm water project.

      Thank you for caring about our Edmonds Marsh. It is our greatest natural treasure. I want to see it back in a natural state and will work hard to make that happen.

  3. I appreciate your input regarding the marsh and estuary. There has been infrastructure construction on a regular basis in Edmonds. The restoration of the Marsh was drastically reduced in order to consider other construction projects. What is most important, and how do we deal with compromise? In order for the marsh to be brought back to provide a functional spauning area for salmon and other fish it will require commitment, focus and money. I attended an open meeting of the city council that had experts explaining what would need to happen, and three choices were presented. There was no final vote, since the final choice had not been decided. I hope the city council and mayor will follow through with the best options/marsh design. Ignoring or neglecting the habitat value of the marsh , would reduce the opportunity to heal what was damaged by neglect.

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