We all need to step upMayor Earling is an equal opportunity hatchet man. He has no choice but to balance the budget.
When the Tim Eyeman initiatives, rolling back car tabs to $30 and freezing property tax increases to 1 percent passed, a whole bunch of us in Edmonds Jumped for joy.
“That will teach ‘em,” we thought. Well, Mayor Haakenson and the then city council weren't jumping for Joy.
The Mayor let it be known that the City would somehow need to make up more then a million dollars a year in lost revenue.
In the 10 years since, Edmonds has cut, trimmed delayed and stalled everywhere it could waiting for better economic times and more revenue.
What Edmonds has become is a lean mean fighting machine. We have been doing more with less every single year for the past 10 years.
When Mayor Haakenson was debating running for a third term I sent him an email of support but not for a third term.
We knew that during his third term Edmonds was going to hit a wall that we would not get through without additional revenue.
Skip to now and here comes Mayor Earling looking deficits right in the eye. No more juggling, no more delays, no more three card Monty to get us out of a severe financial crisis.
So being the responsible Mayor that he is, he has proposed a balanced budget that will keep us in the black for the next year and a few months.
To do this he has asked all departments to reduce their budgets by 4.5 percent.
OK, we have already cut out the fat and further cuts will be into the muscle and bones. The very foundation of what makes a city tick is being cut.
The Police Department that already has cut several programs including the popular Dare program, and is proposing laying off three more police officers to meet the 4.5 percent requirement.
Public works currently hasn't enough money to do the street overlays that we all want done in our neighborhoods.
The money accounting for the recent street work has come from Federal grants.
Cutting back more manpower and more services is the only thing the city can do given the lack of funds.
The Parks dept. has to cut back service levels on all parks, the grass will be brown next year.
Maintenance will be reduced. You may run out of toilet paper in the public bathrooms. Ha!
The flower program will not be as hearty, less plantings will occur throughout our city.
The court system, community services, development services, administrative services, even the mayors office is being cut.
Mayor Earling is an equal opportunity hatchet man. He has no choice but to balance the budget.
All and all I counted 287 cuts that the city will have to make to balance an already bare bones budget.
So the question the citizens need to ask themselves is this,
"Do we really want an anemic anorexic city? Are we going to let this stand or are we going to step to the plate and everyone contribute just a little more to close the gap?”
We live in an extraordinary city that has served us well. If the Country ran as efficiently as our city Government their would be no deficit.
We won't have a deficit in Edmonds, but we all need to contribute at a slightly higher level to maintain the first class city that we have become