In a time when our local economy is strong with record revenue and stable city finances, some of our city councilmembers want to cut critical city services taking Edmonds backwards 30 years. Their threats of cuts to the 2022 city budget (which was passed last year after months and months of review) has already delayed implementation of these projects.
These council cuts will make Edmonds unsafe, polluted and make our residents uninformed.
They wish to cut the replacement of our worn-out police vehicles, which will result in them being in the shop for constant repair. Is the expectation that our officers respond to our residents’ emergencies by calling an Uber? Relying on older vehicles will delay the emergency response of our police officers to our residents, exposing our residents to harm and risk that is completely preventable.
They want to cut a new pedestrian safety barrier at the police parking lot designed to protect our residents from being struck by police cars responding to emergency calls. There have been too many close calls and it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. This barrier will also protect our officers who have had over 50 cases of vandalism and damage to their personal vehicles over the years with no action taken from previous mayors or councils.
Additionally, they wish to cut funding to our new Human Services Department. Cutting $200,000 will send a clear signal that the Edmonds City Council does not feel that there is a homelessness problem in Edmonds and that it is acceptable for our unsheltered residents that we have now to remain living on our streets and parking in our neighborhoods since it is unconstitutional to remove an unhoused person without providing shelter. The city’s current collaboration with Snohomish County and neighboring cities to expand shelter and behavioral health treatment for our chronically unhoused residents will be put on hold if these cuts are passed.
It is clear from their amendments they don’t think it is our city’s responsibility to help ensure you have clean air and water. Removing green streets and rain garden programs will create more flooding of our roadways and pollution of our streams. Their removal of the filtration system used to clean polluted water entering the Edmonds Marsh will allow toxic chemicals to harm salmon and wildlife in our city and Puget Sound.
They want to cut upgrading solar panels on city buildings, eliminate electric city vehicles and delete adding electric charging stations which will increase our use of dirty fossil fuels, thereby increasing harmful air pollution and more extreme weather. What’s their alternative? Build a wall that shields Edmonds from the impacts of the climate crisis?
These cuts will waste taxpayer dollars on higher utility and gasoline bills. This will take us backwards at a time when every U.S. auto manufacturer has already begun phasing out manufacturing gasoline-powered vehicles and is moving forward to only produce electric vehicles in the near future.
For the first time ever, this year our city has a full time public information officer (PIO). They are working to improve our engagement with our residents on topics of interest, to quickly respond to press inquiries on a 24/7 basis, and enhance our transparency on city initiatives and projects. In times of emergency, we will improve public safety by providing timely and critical information to the public.
In fact, this just occurred with the recent tsunami advisory. Our PIO was called upon at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning to attend county and city disaster calls to gather pertinent information and was able to communicate to our residents and media throughout the day to avoid our beaches and stay safe.
However, some councilmembers wish us to go backwards and cut the position from full-time to half-time. Our residents will not be able to be kept abreast of developing issues in a timely manner and will be unaware of actions their local government is doing in their communities. Is this what these councilmembers want? I hope that is not true.
You can stop these cuts. These cuts will require a super majority of five votes. Speak out at the public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. during the regular council meeting. You can find more information here: http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/Detail_Meeting.aspx?ID=3747.
Another way is to share your concerns is to email council directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is link to entire 2022 budget that was already passed in 2021: tinyurl.com/2p9ym9d8
Here is the link to the Decision Packages that were passed in 2021: tinyurl.com/265yt2cw, The items they wish to cut are the decision packages #1,11,13,14,16, 20, 21, 22, 33, 34, 35, 37,38,40,41,47,48,51,55,60,61,70,71, and 72.
— By Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson