By Mina Williams and Katie Murdoch Herald writers
As city council retreats are completed, initiatives have emerged that set South County cities on distinct paths for 2012.
MLT: Civic Center vote
In Mountlake Terrace, officials are forging ahead with current capital projects and development goals that include revitalizing downtown and building a Civic Center.
Council members favor building a Civic Center and ending the rental agreement for City Hall. They also want to see downtown developed, Mayor Jerry Smith said.
The council aims to go to the voters in August with a capital bond issue to construct a Civic Center. The city is renting space for the interim City Hall.
“We keep marching forward; we’ve been at this for 10 years,” Smith said.
It helps to move things forward when there is a council who melds, which hasn’t historically been the case, he added. “We have a happy council with seven people who can work together,” he said.
Lynnwood’s council, plagued with past dissension with Mayor Don Gough, is taking decided steps to foster collaboration, said Council President Loren Simmonds.
“Our constituents want us to be civil,” said Sid Roberts, a newly elected councilman.
Council members made a move toward improving relationships at their retreat. A statement was crafted laying out the tone of respect the body agreed to abide by when interacting with the administration and with each other.
“This is an important piece when looking at the big picture,” Roberts said.
“People are trying. There is a better environment, but implementation is where the rubber hits the road.”
Changing three of seven council members also has the potential to change the chemistry of the council, Roberts said.
Edmonds: Budget changes
For Edmonds, the upcoming budget cycle holds top priority. The council is exploring a method of budgeting that involves examining the desired outcome residents place on each city service.
Lynnwood also is discussing this theory, called “Budgeting For Outcomes.”
If Edmonds moves toward this model, it would not be in position until the 2014 budget cycle, Council President Strom Peterson said.
A more pressing budgetary issue is an impending budget shortfall. Council members will again open up the conversation about bringing a proposed tax increase to voters in 2012.