A promising new year ahead
Last updated 1/20/2011 at Noon
Happy New Year, Edmonds. 2011 looks to be another promising year for our city and one rife with opportunities. As your new City Council President, I am looking forward to a productive year and would like to give you an idea of what lies ahead, at least from the Council perspective.
We have many issues to tackle in the coming months, but none as important as our city’s revenue situation.
Like just about every municipal government across the state and country, we have some important decisions to make when it comes to delivering the services that citizens expect and deserve.
Do we continue to reduce budgets? Do we work on growing our revenues? Do we ask the voters for help? The City Council looks forward to hearing your input to each of these important topics this year.
Let’s take a quick look at each question individually.
Trimming the Budget
Edmonds runs a lean government. Our staff gets more done with less than any comparable city, and 2010 was no different.
Once again, it looks like most city departments will be coming in under budget and operating with fewer staff members than cities of comparable size.
This, however is still not enough, to accommodate the projected future budget shortfalls. In order to be proactive, we will be looking at new ways of doing business.
The Council is reviewing the basics of the City budget and also considering a variety of possibilities for long-term solutions, from a regional fire authority or a parks district to a levy, to gain more efficiencies within the City.
Growing our Economy
Last year the Council and Mayor appointed a 17 member Citizens Economic Development Commission, and the committee is doing great work.
One of the cornerstones of the economic development plan is to create and implement a city-wide strategic plan.
This will begin to form in the coming months, and it will be imperative that we get as much citizen input as possible.
The Council wants and needs to know your priorities. This will not only help the economic development necessary to grow our City’s revenues, but will help to create a shared vision.
Our Economic Development Department also continues working hard to attract quality businesses to Edmonds (Dick’s Drive-in!) as well working with the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce to retain and grow our existing businesses.
Asking the Voters for help
Economic development takes time and there is only so much budget cutting we can do before services and City amenities are impacted. This year, the voters may be asked for help.
One option is a levy. The Council has a Citizen’s Levy Committee that has been going through the city budget with a fine tooth comb and will soon be making a report to the council and to you.
This report will include recommendations regarding putting a levy on the ballot.
The Committee will recommend what a levy might look like, the timing, and the impact to the City.
Be confident that any levy process, if recommended, will be open, honest, and transparent.
You, the people of Edmonds, are they key to all of this. Talk to your Council members, your Mayor, your neighbors, your City staff, your community leaders, and local merchants.
Ask questions and get answers. And most importantly, vote. We can’t do it right without you.