Finances; positive COVID-19 at PCC; apartment coming | City Briefs
Last updated 5/21/2020 at 8:26am
City remains optimistic about its finances
As reported in last week’s Beacon, the City is projecting COVID-19 will cause a 9.2% decline in operating revenue in its general fund.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Assistant Finance Director Dave Turley said this decline amounts to a $4 million loss in revenue out of a revenue budget of $43.8 million. It’s a difficult task to make up for a loss in revenue of this magnitude in the remaining seven months of the budget year, he said, but the City is moving forward with a two-phased approach.
First, by suspending new hires and nonessential expenditures (operational and capital) to preserve essential City services, such as public safety and maintaining basic transportation and city building infrastructure.
Second, by continuing to monitor the City’s budget situation in conjunction with incoming revenues and economic indicators.
Turley said the City entered this crisis in a strong financial position, giving it time to chart a course of action to minimize service impacts to the community.
“We examined our budgets and identified $1.3 million of nonessential expenditures that can be delayed and an additional $271,000 in savings from suspending new hires,” he said. “While the reductions in nonessential expenditures and savings from the hiring freezes help us balance the budget, we may need to access our reserves to help make up the difference.
“We have also cut the budget in other areas, including training, supplies, and holding several projects from moving forward until we better understand the financial impacts COVID-19 will have on the City.”
Turley added other cities in the Puget Sound area have made layoffs and furloughs.
“Those are pretty extreme measures,” he said, adding that some were significantly lower than 20% of reserves, which is best practice. “I feel very happy to work in Edmonds, where hopefully we can avoid some of those more drastic measures.”
PCC worker tests positive for COVID-19
PCC, in a news release on its website May 15, reported that a staff member at its Edmonds store has tested positive for COVID-19. This staff person last worked in the store May 9.
PCC said it has been in regular contact with King County and Snohomish County Health District. “They have informed us that our current, rigorous COVID-19 cleaning protocol is sufficient to address the situation and that no store or department closures are required,” the release said.
“Additionally, they’ve indicated that no other staff members at Edmonds PCC need to self-quarantine if they are asymptomatic. The staff member who tested positive is receiving care and will not return to work until guidance from public health officials allows it.”
PCC reports it is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federal and local governments to protect the individual to ensure they do not lose wages as a result of these steps.
88th next for stormline replacement; don't call them 'manholes'
Dayton Street between Third and Ninth avenues south has been the focus on the City's program to replace and upgrade existing stormlines at various locations reaching the end of their useful service life,
Up next is 88th Avenue West between Olympic View Drive and 185th Place West.
The project will replace storm piping with associated services, catch basins, and manholes along 88th Ave.
Shoreline Construction, which Public Works Director Phil Williams says has done excellent work on Dayton, won the contract with a low bid of $540,000. The City's estimate was $614,855.
Construction will begin this summer and is expected to be completed by early fall 2020.
One side note: On Tuesday, May 12, Councilmember Laura Johnson suggested to Williams that the term "manhole" be replaced with less gender-specific term. She suggested "sewer hole," "maintenance chamber" or "utility chamber."
"Sure," Wiliams replied. "We usually just call them structures."
‘Westgate Station’ possible for Edmonds Way empty lot
It’s an empty lot that’s had fits and starts over the years. Now, there’s another new plan for the empty lot at 9601 Edmonds Way just east of the 76 gas station.
The applicant is Bob Gregg.
According to a public notice from the City of Edmonds, Westgate Station is a planned two-story mixed-use building and site improvements at the vacant site. The second floor would contain 20 market-rate apartments with a shared south facing deck for residents, while the first floor would include an at-grade parking garage with 33 stalls, 4,700 square-feet of commercial space, storage rooms and the residential lobby with leasing office, elevator and stairs.
There would be a partial basement on the west side of building, which includes additional storage units for residents and support spaces for mechanical, electrical and fire sprinkler systems, as well as the elevator machine room.
Related site improvements include street level amenity spaces, an additional 13 surface parking stalls east of the building, and landscaping.
The site is zoned community business.
Mayor creates conservation advisory committee
Mayor Mike Nelson has formed the Mayor’s Conservation Advisory Committee to help fulfill what he said is his commitment to preserving the environment and enhancing the quality of life in Edmonds.
The all-volunteer committee, made up of local residents, will advise the Nelson on community stewardship actions in Edmonds that conserve and enhance healthy air, land, and water resources, as well as wildlife habitat, for the benefit of the environment, residents, visitors, and future generations.
“It’s viewing what we do as a city and what we do as residents through a green lens to make Edmonds a heathier place now and in the future,” said Nelson.
Conservation Advisory Committee members are Marjie Fields, Lora Hein, Deborah Hopkins, Alan Mearns, Denise Miller, Joe Scordino, Kathleen Sears, Mike Shaw, Erin Zackey, and Councilmember Susan Paine.
Nelson said he wants the group to advise the City and residents on a wide-range of work, actions and activities from sustainable gardening to sustainable practices for City projects to increase wildlife habitat, protect open spaces, wetlands and streams.
Diversity Commission reopens ‘I Am Edmonds’ project
The Edmonds Diversity Commission seeks to counter social distancing by reopening the “I Am Edmonds, This is my Story” project, with the aim of encouraging meaningful community connections during these challenging times.
With the Diversity Film Series cut short, the 4th of July Parade and many community events canceled, reopening the Diversity Commission’s Facebook page “I Am Edmonds” can provide a virtual platform for community members to express themselves creatively and come together in hope.
“The stories shared with us last year were inspiring and heartwarming,” said Diversity Commission Chair Pat Valle. “They gave us an insight as to the variety of experiences of our Edmonds community and highlighted our similarities.”
The project was rated in conjunction with the Communities of Color Coalition over the summer and fall of 2019. According to Economic Development and Community Services Director Patrick Doherty, “this community storytelling highlighted some wonderful experiences of a variety of individuals within Edmonds and the Commission wishes to revive the powerful art of storytelling by”:
– Sharing personal stories of local Edmonds residents through all types of creative media – story, poetry, music, visual arts, dance, etc.
– Acknowledging acts of kindness within our community
– Celebrating the wonderfully diverse community by sharing short films, TEDx Talks, and local events that focus on diversity and inclusion
_ Sharing stories and short films on celebrating the human spirit and ingenuity locally and throughout the globe
For those of who do not use Facebook, the Commission is considering creating an online blog that will share this same information and more.
Message the commission on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/IamEdmonds/), @IamEdmonds, or email [email protected]