Taxes going up again? | City Briefs

Also: Update on 'noose' incident; sidewalk not a top priority
By Brian Soergel | Nov 16, 2017

Property, EMS taxes could go up – again – in 2018

The Edmonds City Council will consider a proposal next week to raise both property and emergency medical services taxes.

Finance Director Scott James on Tuesday, Nov. 14, told councilmembers that a 1 percent property tax levy would raise an additional $102,000 and a 1 percent EMS levy $39,700.

State law allows municipalities to raise property taxes by only 1 percent a year, although Edmonds has lobbied the Legislature for a local option to allow it to exceed that amount.

That means, in 2018, the city would see $10,378,930 in property taxes and $4,040,700 from EMS taxes.

There was a public hearing on the proposed raises, but no citizens spoke out.

James pointed out that the average home value in Edmonds is now $474,800. The property tax increase would, on average, add $5.93 annually. The EMS tax would add $2.30 annually.

The average homeowner would pay about 69 cents extra a month, James said.

The city also imposed a 1 percent property tax increase last year for 2017.

Residents will have another chance to speak at the next council meeting, which is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the Public Safety Complex at Fifth Avenue North and Bell Street.

2 fired after ‘noose’ incident in Edmonds

Seattle-based contractor Venture General Contracting has fired two workers involved in a disturbing incident in Edmonds on Oct. 26.

On that day, according to police reports, two African-American construction workers at the Building 10 condos construction site on Pine Street discovered a noose tied over a beam in an area they had access to.

“As referenced in our previous statement, Venture General Contracting strictly prohibits workplace harassment and racial intolerance and stands with others in the Edmonds community who are appalled by this highly offensive incident,” spokeswoman Natalie Quick said.

“After further internal investigation, and in line with this strong commitment, Venture General Contracting has terminated employment of the job superintendent and foreman involved in the incident. We are deeply committed to maintaining an open and inclusive workplace and will continue to work openly with all parties involved as this incident is investigated.”

Mayor: Auto dealerships always welcome on Highway 99

During an update on amendments to the city’s 2017 Comprehensive Plan, a roadmap for the next few years, Councilmember Dave Teitzel signaled a particular goal for the revitalization of a 2.2-mile stretch of Highway 99.

The passage in question: “The city will encourage the retention of commercial uses which provide high economic benefit to the city, such as new auto dealerships ...”

While an admirable goal, Teitzel said, he added that he was not certain new auto dealerships were consistent with a mixed-use environment, and that there may be other high value economic opportunities such as medical and high-tech businesses.

Teitzel suggested deleting “such as new auto dealerships” from the plan.

Mayor Dave Earling was quick to respond.

“I occasionally get comments from folks that we don’t need another car dealership on Highway 99,” he said. “All we need to do is look at the sales tax revenue to understand the importance of that. I get your point. But if I can recruit another automobile dealership, I will move post-haste.”

Chamber board nomination deadline approaching

The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce is searching for community members to join its board of directors.

The chamber has about 400 businesses and three staff members.

“Only three people staff the chamber office, which means that we rely heavily on volunteers in order to accomplish so many things,” President and CEO Greg Urban said.

“Our board members are among those fantastic volunteers, serving on committees and dedicating their time for our events. We rely greatly upon the collective knowledge and influence of our board members in order to identify opportunities and serve as a bridge between the chamber and larger businesses community.”

The board of directors meets from 7:30 to 9 a.m. the third Thursday every month.

“As a policy board, we look to our board members to guide the chamber into the future, set long-term strategic goals and help identify issues our membership should support or oppose,” Urban said.

The Edmonds Chamber is a nonpolitical organization, meaning it does not endorse specific political candidates.

Board members serve three-year terms, with a maximum service of three terms. Bylaws allow as many as 30 board members, but the number is typically kept to fewer than 25.

“It is our desire to strengthen the representation on the board to include a diverse cross section of the business community,” Urban said.

To apply, go to www.edmondswa.com. Self-nominations are open through Friday, Nov.17. The only requirements for board service are that the applicant or business is an active member of the chamber.

For more information: 425-670-1496 or greg@edmondswa.com.

Edmonds Diversity Commission seeks member

Edmonds residents interested in working on issues, programs and activities associated with the changing demographics of the community and enhancing an environment of mutual respect and understanding are encouraged to apply to fill an open position on the City’s Diversity Commission.

The opening came after Tung Bui, one of the original members who also was on the task force created to develop the Diversity Commission in 2014-15, decided not to seek reappointment after his position expires at the end of the year.

The roles of the nine-member volunteer advisory commission members are:

  • to serve as a resource for City government and the community by providing information, education, and communication that facilitates a better understanding and celebrates our differences;
  • to provide recommendations to the mayor and City Council that would identify opportunities to address diversity issues, promote diversity programs, and/or provide guidance to create a more accessible, safe, welcoming and inclusive government and community; and
  • to assist the city of Edmonds in supporting and challenging all areas of government and the community to eliminate and prevent all forms of discrimination.

Applicants will be reviewed and considered by the existing members of the Diversity Commission, who will make the nomination, subject to City Council confirmation. The new appointee will fill a three-year term that expires Dec. 31, 2020.

Applicants must live within Edmonds city limits.

You can pick up an application by contacting City Hall directly at cindi.cruz@edmondswa.gov or 425-775-7724. You also can pick up an application at City Hall, 121 Fifth Ave. S.

Application forms may be returned as indicated on the form no later than noon Monday, Nov. 27.

$8K requested for bench upkeep

You may have noticed that several public memorial benches around town are losing their luster.

To combat this, Edmonds Parks and Recreation Director Carrie Hite, in her budget request for 2018, included $8,000 to continue their upkeep through a process known as powder coating.

The benches in the budget proposed to be powder coated are 20 years old.

Hite said the bench donations from those requesting them are about $2,500 each, which covers one cycle of maintenance. When someone purchases and donates a bench, she added, they are informed the city will maintain it for 20 years. After 20 years, the purchaser is given the first right to buy the bench again and, if they choose not to, it is resold.

The benches are popular, and Hite said there is a long waiting list. Whenever a new park is brought online, such as the spray park at City Park, benches are sold to people on the waiting list. That also will be done with the future Civic Park.

No money for Maplewood Drive sidewalk

There are plenty of neighborhoods in Edmonds that would benefit from sidewalks.

At a recent Planning Board meeting, City Engineer Rob English received 165 signatures from citizens again asking for one on Maplewood Drive, which extends north from Main Street to past 200th Street SW to Maplewood Park.

English said this stretch was rated No. 22 in the city’s Long Walkway Project List in the 2015 Comprehensive Transportation Plan. Staff submitted grant applications in 2014 and 2016 for the design phase, but were unsuccessful.

Staff will continue to look for funding opportunities for the sidewalk, English said.

 

 

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