By Evan Smith, Herald writer
Two-term incumbent Lynnwood Mayor Don Gough faces three challengers in the Aug. 6 primary: City Councilmen Loren Simmonds and Mark Smith, and Edmonds Community College administrator Nicola Smith.
The top two vote getters in the primary advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Here are statements on the City’s financial difficulties from Loren Simmonds and Nicola Smith (Don Gough and Mark Smith have not responded to requests for statements):
The primary cause of Lynnwood’s financials woes are rooted in the “great recession.” The devastating impact was and continues to be felt.
Property tax revenues have plummeted along with property values. Consumer spending has declined drastically as has sales tax revenue. They are the major sources of city support.
Going forward, we must:
- Focus limited resources on core services
- Live with lower service levels
- Expand our economic base/lessen dependence on property and sales tax
- Significantly increase our “rainy day” fund
- Utilize more inter-local agreements and partnerships/cost savings
- Do a better job of financial oversight/review and update financial policies
Financially, Lynnwood is a city with great potential. When overcoming challenges there needs to be leadership that is more inclusive. Making businesses feel unwelcome and attempting to balance the budget on revenue generated through unpopular taxes and fees is only hampering the ability for smart growth in the city. By working with citizens and businesses, and by reviewing the findings in the audit Lynnwood will be able to make smart fiscal decisions that empower our community. Barring the ability to change the past, we can take this opportunity to refresh and reset Lynnwood as a city we believe in.
Evan Smith can be reached at email@example.com.