Edmonds mayor, council to tackle budget

  • Sun Aug 22nd, 2010 10:21pm
  • News

By Mina Williams Herald Writer

EDMONDS — In Edmonds, it’s all hands on deck when striving to find a solution to the city’s financial woes.

Mayor Mike Cooper has invited all seven council members to participate in the budget review process by late August.

The council has named seven people to its 2010 Levy Committee, with Cooper adding Barbara Chase during the Aug. 3 meeting.

Council appointees are Jessie Beyer, John Carlin, Harry Gatjen, Darrol Haug, John Reed, Bill Vance and Eve Wellington.

Spearheading the group is Councilwoman Diane Buckshnis, who assured council the group would use the committee’s evaluation of a levy in 2009. Additionally the 2010 group would look into expenses, comparable salaries and review the general fund and capital planning.

“We will be working toward coming up with recommendations by the end of the year so as to place the levy and/or capital planning for specific assets,” she said.

The levy committee was established by council to evaluate if a levy is needed and, if one is, what would be the optimal timeline and what amount should be attached to the effort.

Without passing a levy, projections are that 2011 will be the last year the city will have a positive cash flow. It spirals down from there.

A June 8 projection pins the budget hole at $3 million by 2013. An updated projection is expected mid September.

Modeling projections and researching bond financing, a levy or both styles of revenue stream, will also be on the table, according to Buckshnis.

She anticipates continued progress of the committee’s work to be available on the city’s website.

“We want people to think of how much they are willing to spend on your city,” Buckshnis said.

The levy committee meets at 6 p.m. the last Thursday of the month at City Hall, 121 Fifth Ave. N, in the Brackett Room. Meetings are open to the public and the agenda includes time for public comment.

So far the committee has met to discuss strategies and address possible subgroups, receive current financial information and skim through workbooks.

“Our intention is to (take) a comprehensive review of our financials and as well as look into many areas that will assist the citizens of Edmonds in understanding how our city operates in comparison to local cities in Snohomish County,” Buckshnis said. “We hope to provide (a) recommendation to support a sustainable budget through 2015. We will also provide a focused review of potential area regarding capital planning. If possible, I would like the group to work alongside our mayor and city staff to understand the budget process. By the end of the year, we hope to provide our recommendations.”