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Food Bank open; questions on the Port | Letters to the Editor

 

Last updated 11/19/2020 at 10:37am

Edmonds Food Bank remains open

Our goal at Edmonds Food Bank during COVID-19 is to protect our volunteers and customers above all.

We want to thank Edmonds United Methodist Church for their immediate and comprehensive response to having a parent of a Children's Center student tested positive last week.

As we are on the same property as the Children's Center and with an abundance of caution, we have completed a deep cleaning of the food bank. We have verified that these individuals were not in any part of the food bank and after completing contact tracing on any possible intersections, we are now assured that the food bank is safe.

Further, we have worked with Mindy Woods, Human Services project manager for the city of Edmonds, and the Snohomish Health District to review our situation and response. Based on that review, we are confident that we can safely open for distribution during our normal hours on Monday and Tuesday, and maintain our normal operations.

We will continue to require that anyone on the property during food bank distribution wear masks at all times, even when they are sitting in their vehicles. We hope that all those impacted in this pandemic find support and recovery.

We will continue to work diligently to ensure that we meet all COVID-19 safety requirements to protect our volunteers and customers. They are our most important concern.

Questions can be addressed to [email protected]

Casey Davis
Executive Director
Edmonds Food Bank

Port property tax should be discontinued

Open letter to the Edmonds Port Commissioners:

I have lived in the Port District configuration for over 50 years.

I am currently perusing the 2021 Preliminary Budget, which I find as a document complete and easy to follow. As you know, I am not a stranger to your meeting, particularly at budget time (you have honored me with the title "The Port Curmudgeon").

I love the way you have conducted your meetings, as everybody has an opportunity to express an opinion on every issue.

I would now like to address the main point of this letter.

Back in 2005, the Port was involved in litigation over issues at Harbor Square. The case did not go well for the Port's decision, and it was prudent to purchase Harbor Square rather than lose the case, so subsequently the issue of a bond to purchase Harbor Square was enacted; however this decision was never presented to the Port District taxpayers.

The Port District taxpayers have sat quietly until the bonds were paid off, which has been satisfied, so now the Port has the opportunity to discontinue the property tax of the people who live within the Port District (not the whole city of Edmonds).

On page 21 of the preliminary budget, it suggests a discontinuation of the tax should be considered ("property tax allocation is no longer necessary"), and I respectfully request that this statement remain in the final budget. The point I want to make is that the opportunity should be presented to the Port District taxpayers for their consideration if there is a need in the future.

Notable is that the Port District includes the Town of Woodway, so it does not include the whole city of Edmonds. Therefore, the most equitable measure is to use the current assessed valuation of the Port District (to include Woodway) vs. the City of Edmonds, which to the best of my estimation is 37.4% Port District and 62.6% city of Edmonds.

Thank you for your service, and I await your reply.

Jack Bevan
The Port Curmudgeon
Edmonds

From the Port: Unwise to forego modest tax levy

The Port of Edmonds appreciates the comments made by our mutual friend, Mr. Bevans. The perspective provided in his letter concerning the Port's acquisition of Harbor Square is generally correct, however I would like to take this opportunity to expand on the context and scope.

It is true the purchase of Harbor Square Development in 2007 was supported by the tax levy; it contributed to the debt service as required by the bond covenants. The loan, however, was paid by Harbor Square income and was paid off in 2020, five years sooner than originally contracted.

After the debt was retired, the Port Commission adopted a new policy and redirected those tax levy funds toward improving public access along the Marina Portwalk, an investment in community development.

We believe it unwise to forego the modest tax levy that funds Port capital improvements.

The capital budget for 2021-2035 is oversubscribed relative to existing funding sources. Many physical assets such as the Mid-Marina Breakwater, North Portwalk, and essential infrastructure are approaching the end of their useful life. They will need expensive repairs to extend their usefulness.

The Port is in the process of designing, engineering, and permitting required to overhaul and replace these critical structures.

We will need to finance these projects with a combination of cash reserves, grants, taxes, and new debt.

The current $400,000 a year tax levy has not been increased since 2008. The levy rate is based on property values for the Port district, including the Town of Woodway and parts of Edmonds, not on the entire City of Edmonds alone, and has decreased steadily during that time as property values have increased.

The property tax levy provides some support for the public access plan and other features that benefit the public as a whole; it is not used to defer marina or Harbor Square expenses.

This is how we create value for the benefit of the Edmonds and Woodway communities.

Mr. Bevans has long been a Port of Edmonds Budget watchdog. He holds our feet to the fire, lets us know when he thinks we are wrong, and tells us when we do right.

He is a valuable citizen who loves his community. We need more like him.

Jim Orvis, President
Port of Edmonds Commission

 

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