Council leading way on economic growth

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  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:25am

By Michael Plunkett

As we start the New Year I want to address an important subject for our community.

Due to the untapped economic potential in our community not being used for the benefit of our citizens, the City Council will continue to move forward with exciting and positive action.

From the Berk and Associates October 2004 study we learn that within Edmonds there are approximately $287 million in retail taxable sales generated per year. Whereas other cities of comparable size generate more: Bothell generates $313 million, Burien $317 million, and Kirkland generates $750 million. These are all cities of approximately our size that generate considerably higher yearly retail taxable sale.

Therefore, even though Edmonds residents have slightly more disposable income on average, we have less access to goods and services right here in Edmonds In essence; millions and millions of Edmonds citizens’ disposable incomes are spent outside the city.

This information shows there is great potential to increase the goods and services our citizens need. The City Council has been working to maximize this potential. For instance: The city has not instituted a Business and Occupation tax on our merchants, yet we have increased parking enforcement downtown, spent funds on marketing to tourists and shoppers, assisted in the building of the Center For the Arts that will result in millions of dollars a year in economic benefit, voted on a land issue that made the Bartell’s Drug store possible for South Edmonds, created the new Office of Economic Development, voted to created the Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission, which works to preserve the character of downtown which is so important to attracting visitors, purchased beach front and park land to attract visitors, supported Sound Transit’s commuter stops in downtown, created the Highway 99 Task Force to stimulate the potential on the highway, starting a new vision for the Fourth Avenue Corridor project that will tie the Center for the Arts to downtown, working to place an economic element into the city’s comprehensive plan, and now beginning a pro-active citizen involvement initiative to improve the economics of Ferndale Village and Five Corners. Some exciting new ideas are emerging in our effort to improve the business environment of 5th Avenue South.

As you can see, the council has strategies that work in partnership with our merchants, business associations, arts and parks groups, to capture our citizens’ share of the economic pie. By doing so, we will provide more goods and services to our residents and promote our current businesses/merchants. All this will of course in turn ultimately result in more public funds for roads, public safety, parks, and will promote a better quality of life for us and future generations to come.

Michael Plunkett is an Edmonds City Councilman.

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