The Edmonds City Council has scheduled a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20 to consider additional council amendments to the draft 2024 budget and also to hear staff-proposed changes.
Edmonds faces an ending budget fund balance of $6.64 million this year, requiring the city to dip into its reserves. The city council earlier this month approved a resolution declaring a fiscal emergency and authorizing the city to use general fund operating reserves for 2023 general fund expenses.
One of the amendments being offered Monday — from Councilmember Will Chen — asks Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson and his administration “to find ways to strategically reduce expenditures by $4 million,” which is 7% of proposed expenses for 2024.
Chen is also proposing using $2 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to establish an Edmonds Police Department substation at the site of the former 7-Eleven store on Highway 99 and 238th Street Southwest.
Councilmember Jenna Nand, meanwhile, has proposed allocating $250,000 of the city’s ARPA funds to disperse $5,000 grants to qualifying small businesses.
Meanwhile, city staff are also scheduled to offer their own changes to the budget, although the specifics are not listed as part of the council agenda released on Friday.
The meeting agenda includes a memo — signed by all seven of the city’s department directors — stating that a public discussion “of deep cuts to staff is cause for concern for the long-term morale of city staff, threatens retention and will hamper the provision of effective services to our residents.”
The current draft 2024 budget, “with the spending cuts already made by council, is balanced and provides city staff with predictability needed to operate effectively,” the directors’ memo added.
“We need to enter 2024 on stable ground,” the memo said. “By doing so, we can begin work immediately, and collaboratively, to identify solutions to the structural problems we have ahead of us in 2025 and beyond.”
The memo requests that the council amend the 2023 budget to bring $6.5 million of remaining ARPA funds into the general fund and also requests that the council initiate a red-light camera study. The council last week passed a motion by Councilmember Dave Teitzel to reject a pilot project to install red-light cameras at some Edmonds intersections. Teitzel said that more research is needed to demonstrate the benefits of such cameras in Edmonds
The department directors signing the memo include Public Works and Utilities Director Oscar Antillon; Police Chief Michelle Bennett; Parks, Recreation and Human Services Director Angie Feser; Human Resources Director Jessica Neill Hoyson; Planning and Development Director Susan McLaughlin and Director of Community Services and Economic Development Todd Tatum.
Monday’s meeting will be in the council chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N. Those who want to attend remotely can use the Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/95798484261. Or comment by phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261.
You can see the complete agenda here.
The council will also hold a regular business meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21, starting at 7 p.m.