In its final meeting of 2022, the Edmonds City Council approved the city’s 2023 budget ordinance and additional capital project amendments, and also selected its new leadership for 2023. Councilmember Neil Tibbott was elected council president while Vivian Olson, who served as council president for 2022, was selected as council president pro tem.
Tibbott was elected to the council in November 2021 after previously serving one council term. He gave up his seat in 2019 in an unsuccessful run for Edmonds mayor.
As part of finalizing the budget Tuesday night, the council also reviewed additional amendments to two projects related to the city’s Capital Facilities Plan (CFP) and Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for 2023-26. Among them was one by Buckshnis proposing more detailed language be inserted for future Edmonds Marsh/Estuary restoration and Willow Creek daylighting. Buckshnis argued that “a larger narrative” was necessary to attract future federal grant funding, but Parks, Recreational and Human Services Director Angie Feser said she feared that the proposed language was too specific and might even disqualify the project for some grants. Buckshnis’ amendment failed on 2-4 vote, with Councilmember Jenna Nand abstaining. Councilmember Dave Teitzel voted with Buckshnis.
Councilmember Susan Paine then moved to approve the original language for the Edmonds Marsh/Estuary project. Buckshnis responded with an additional amendment that attempted to insert some of her original language from earlier, but it was rejected by a 3-4 vote (Nand joining Buckshnis and Teitzel in supporting it). That was followed by a discussion of whether there should be a dollar amount associated with the Edmonds Marsh/Estuary project, given the uncertainty of whether the city will be successful in obtaining the nearby Unocal property, which is undergoing cleanup. An amendment to do that — proposed by Buckshnis — was also rejected on a 3-4 vote (Buckshnis, Teitzel and Tibbott voting yes). Paine’s main motion was then approved.
Next, Teitzel submitted an amendment adding language to a project involving future restorative work on Shell Creek in Edmonds’ Yost Park. The park is facing a range of challenges due to soil erosion, aging trees and two concrete weirs. A study is planned in 2023 to determine what improvements are needed, and Teitzel proposed adding language that the study’s scope of work would be “informed by direct input by key stakeholders.” In addition, Teitzel also proposed adding language noting that Shell Creek “is a salmon-bearing stream with very good water quality, supporting annual returns of chum and coho salmon,” as well as delineating that restoration work may include “near term actions to address severe reosion issues caused by the creek.”
In speaking to his amendment, Teitzel said the project “doesn’t just involve Yost Park or erosion within the park, it involves fish,” adding that those erosion issues are impacting the ability of salmon to spawn. Teitzel further argued that talking about salmon recovery is “the hook that we need I believe to go to grant funding agencies and ask for grant money to help us with this project.”
Paine countered that Teitzel’s proposed language has “drawn some presupposed assumptions … particularly regarding some of the causes and might be limiting some of the breadth of what actually needs to be covered.” Feser agreed with Paine’s assessment, stating that the goal was to take a holistic approach that includes an overall look at “the length of Shell Creek within Yost Park as a whole entity.” While erosion and salmon are issues, Feser said, “I wanted to take a look at the broader sense of what those problems are,” including the parks trail system and bridges.
Teitzel replied that his changes “actually do make this a holistic look,” especially because they include the mention of fish. His amendment passed 6-1, with Paine voting no.
The council is off for the rest of 2022. The first meeting of the new year is set for Tuesday, Jan 3.
— By Teresa Wippel