Lynnwood mayor’s raise frowned on

  • Shannon Sessions<br>Lynnwood / Mountlake Terrace Enterprise editor
  • Thursday, February 21, 2008 12:08pm

LYNNWOOD — Not even a new utility tax got as much attention as a proposed raise for the mayor at the Lynnwood City Council’s budget hearing Nov. 25.

Lynnwood resident Arnie Knudson said newly elected Mayor Mike McKinnon knew what the salary was before he was elected.

“Mr. Mayor, perhaps you should show some leadership and not ask for that raise,” he said.

Longtime resident Ann Deichmann said, “The fact that the mayor hasn’t had a salary increase in a long time — that’s fine with me. I’d rather see that money going to police, fire or programs.”

Craig Spicer of Lynnwood said the city should focus on public safety and public works.

“They should refuse any salary increase until things have improved,” he said.

Council member Loren Simmonds said he knew it was going to be a hot issue.

“I’ve gotten more calls on that one item than anything else since I’ve been elected,” Simmonds said.

Council member Martin “Marty” Nelson proposed the mayor’s salary be raised from $78,144 to $97,000 annually for the full time position.

“The salary for the position of mayor hasn’t been changed since 1994,” Nelson said. “It’s time we bring it up to market value.”

McKinnon did add it to his recommended budget but lowered the proposed raise to $86,000.

The mayor said he understands the concerns.

“The council will make its final decision,” McKinnon said. “This is the best darn job in the world, and I’m not doing it for the salary.”

The mayor’s eighth and final budget recommendation to the council includes no property tax increases and nothing taken from the city’s savings account, McKinnon said.

But it does include a utility tax to balance the approximately $33 million 2003-04 biennial general fund budget, he said.

McKinnon proposed to add a 3 percent tax on utilities for 2003, bringing in about $1.5 million, and a 4 percent utility tax for 2004, bringing in about $2 million, he said.

Along with the utility tax, the mayor proposed cutting almost seven full-time positions, raising recreation fees about 10 percent to bring in about $94,000 the next two years, and increasing the movie theater admissions tax, which will bring in $50,000 in the next two years.

McKinnon said he had all his department heads cut an even amount from their budgets.

“There was an X amount out of balance still, so we took that amount and allocated it across all of the departments,” McKinnon said.

What is proposed to stay, by popular demand, McKinnon said, are the annual civic functions such as the holiday Civic Lights event (6:30 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Civic Center on 44th Avenue W.), the Easter egg hunt and the Fourth of July celebration.

The council is scheduled to adopt its final budget by Dec. 11.

For more information about the Lynnwood budget hearings or the proposed budget, call 425-670-6604 or see www.ci.lynnwood.wa.us.

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