Departmental budget requests become clearer in Edmonds

Nov 16, 2017

It’s that time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas, yes, but also ’tis the season for budget requests.

It’s when the city of Edmonds’ department heads make their case for funding to City Council members while reminding them what they accomplished during the past year.

As Mayor Dave Earling noted last month in his regular “Mayor’s Corner” column: “Assembling the budget is a large undertaking for the departments. Obviously, depending on staffing and activities, some department budgets are more complex than others. And, just as with your own family budget, we have to deal with revenue and expenses balanced against priorities.”

Indeed.

After Tuesday of this week, all departments had presented their pitches. Earling submitted his recommended 2018 budget Oct. 10. The first public hearing on the proposed 2018 budget was Nov. 14, with another planned Nov. 21. This is your chance to give the mayor, city leaders and councilmembers your own thoughts on their decisions.

On Nov. 21, after a discussion on the budget, there will be deliberation and potential adoption of the budget. If a decision isn’t reached on that date, it also will be discussed and possibly approved Nov. 28 or even Dec. 5.

You can read about it all by digging through the city’s website. But here in no particular order of importance, are some highlights from budget proceedings that might help:

Economic Development/Community Services

In addition to assisting property owners in all parts of the city with appropriate redevelopment, pursuing funds for the Edmonds Street waterfront connector and continuing to promote the city as a destination, the department’s proposed $583,000 budget includes $72,000 for a federal lobbyist.

The department also continues to look into bringing a hotel to downtown Edmonds.

Revenues from the tourism promotion plan with funds from the city’s lodging tax are projected to be $115,000, down slightly from last year.

Finance and Information Services

The department’s proposed budget is $1.24 million, an increase of almost $200,000 from 2017.

Information Services is requesting $253,000 to replace its phone system and $24,000 for a server memory upgrade, among other items.

Non-Departmental

Non-departmental is used to segregate all costs not directly identifiable to departments and those expenditures and services required by law or contract that are beneficial to all citizens.

The proposed budget is $13.6 million, an increase of more than $1 million. More than $7.6 million of that is budgeted toward South Snohomish County and Fire (formerly Fire District 1) services.

Police

The Police Department was busy this year internally, in addition to its street work on public safety.

It hired a part-time parking enforcement officer and an additional staff assistant; partnered with the Lynnwood Police Department on a social worker position who will start Nov. 20; re-instituted a partnership with the Edmonds School District for a school resource officer to be staffed next year; and purchased a new speed trailer and pole-mounted radar speed sign.

In 2018, Chief Al Compaan is requesting funds to update the main entry to the Police Department, enhance front office ergonomics for staff and public, and accommodate operational changes for archival records storage.

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services

The department was (and still is) busy in 2017. Its accomplishments include the future Civic Park, Frances Anderson Center bandshell, Meadowdale Playfields, Edmonds Veterans Plaza, pickleball at Yost Park and preliminary landscaping developments at the future Edmonds Waterfront Center.

It has, however, faced problems, including cost overruns from the contractor updating the Fishing Pier.

Among items on the 2018 agenda are outdoor fitness zones, Fourth Avenue North parklet, removal of the old Civic Park bleachers, replacing the Frances Anderson Center playground equipment, and updating the locker rooms at Yost Pool.

The department’s anticipated 2018 budget is $4.3 million.

Among its requests are $25,000 for security systems at Frances Anderson Center and the Parks Yard; $4,500 for a generator; $5,000 for Puget Sound Stewards; $15,000 for portable toilets; and $8,000 powder-coating existing public benches around town.

Public Works and Utilities

It’s a big department, with an anticipated budget of $31.7 million in 2018. There were plenty of stormwater and sewer improvements.

What the public sees most, of course, is the department’s work on city streets. Most notable is the continued improvement of the 76th/212th intersection at Edmonds-Woodway High School. The $8.3 million project is expected to be 95 percent completed by the end of the year, said Director Phil Williams.

Other roadwork included 174 asphalt repairs covering 5,750 square feet, 6.8 miles of pavement preservation, Bike 2 Health signage and bike lane work, and completion of the 236th Street walkway from Edmonds Way to Madrona K-8 school. The department also expects to complete its trackside warning horn system early next year.

In 2017, it began preliminary engineering on the Edmonds Waterfront Connector, finalized a citywide ADA transition plan, and began the Highway 99 revitalization/gateway project.

2018 budget requests include funds for much-needed improvement at the intersection of 76th Avenue West and 220th Street SW; 84th Avenue West overlay; Sunset Avenue walkway; pedestrian crossing improvements; 238th Street SW walkway and Edmonds Street Waterfront Connector.

Revenue overview

The city reports that the economic prospects for the city will continue to be strong, as the Puget Sound economy continues to be one of the healthiest in the country.

Barring the unforeseen, 2018 operating revenues see only 0.5 percent growth over 2017. Property values are increasing, as if anyone didn’t already know that.

But future budgets may become more challenging as revenue growth slows, the city says. In that case, it will have to look for either new on-going revenues or ongoing expenditure savings.

 

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