Calendars

Background

An existing and pending budget crisis faces many local, state and federal governments, including the City of Edmonds. In 2009, a Citizens’ Levy Review Committee, consisting of nearly 60 citizens, was established for the purpose of reviewing the City’s short and long term revenue projections and financial needs to determine whether a property tax levy should be submitted to the voters of Edmonds. The purpose of a levy was to stabilize City resources for a specific period of time.

The 2009 Citizen Levy Review Committee met on March 23, March 30, April 6, and April 13, 2009 in the Brackett Room of City Hall; meetings were held from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. The Committee was made up of 8 color-coded teams: Blue, Green, Grey, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, and Yellow. On April 21, 2009, Citizen Levy Review Committee subgroups submitted their reports to the City Council. A majority opinion of all eight groups was to submit a property tax levy increase to the voters in the fall of 2009; the amount of the levy proposed varied between $2 million and $4.5 million. The City Council then scheduled this issue on several City Council agendas, some of which provided opportunities for the public to provide input. Following many discussions and meetings, the City council chose not to submit a property tax levy in year 2009, and instead, defer a decision to do so until year 2010 or sometime thereafter.

The Edmonds City Council continued its discussion on the possible formation of a Levy Committee on April 20, April 27, May 4, May 18, and May 25, 2010. On July 6, 2010, the City Council approved the formation an eight member 2010 Citizens Levy Committee. The reduction is the scale of the 2010 Levy committee compared to the size of the 2009 Levy Work Group relates to the reduction in the number of City employees (54) resulting from the sale of the Edmonds Fire Department to Fire District #1. Additionally, the City Council Members determined the smaller Levy Committee review both revenue and expenses (not just non-essential), in addition to capital targets of opportunity.

Process

The Edmonds City Council provided direction to the Citizens Levy Committee asking that they work under the guidance of the City of Edmonds Finance Committee and report to the Finance Committee at least – but not limited to – once per month. Council members may, from time-to-time, serve as ex-official members (no voting authority) to the Citizens Levy Committee.

Responsibilities of the Citizens Levy Committee

As directed by the City Council, the Citizens Levy Committee shall consider:

1. Augmentation of the General Fund

i. The Citizens Levy Committee shall help determine what aspects of the city's General Fund should be augmented, such as reviewing each department and their capacity, or separating out areas like parks and recreation or public works to form a separate levy.

ii. Should a General Fund levy have precedent over capital targets of opportunity, and if so what and why

iii. The levy committee shall take into account past levy information and work from newly developed information generated during the 2010 City budget process, and to review the final 2010 budget to identify potential augmentation.

b. Capital Targets of Opportunity

i. The Levy Committee should also consider (but not be limited to) how to fund capital targets of opportunity such as Yost Pool, South County Senior Center, Edmonds Woodway High School, and Civic Play Field (etc.), and determine if capital acquisition projections should be considered as part of a levy.

ii. Questions could be: What are the targets of opportunity? Would they require a separate ballot proposition, i.e., separate from a General Fund levy, and be funded by issuing a bond? What would be the costs? Can targets of opportunity be part of the same ballot proposition with a General Fund levy?

c. Public Participation

i. The Citizens Levy Committee will provide opportunities for public comments during every meeting when practicable and – at the direction of Council President – participate in public meetings with the City Council as the City budget is being developed in 2010.

2. Additional Direction

The Levy Committee shall review (but not be limited to), and provide additional, information to the Finance Committee/Council on areas such as:

i. Other cities' policies, financial statements, cash flows, staff salaries, and financial modeling so as to provide financial examples for Edmonds.

ii. Edmonds' financials to determine compliance with Ordinance 3789 and Resolution 1266.

iii. Salaries and overtime, ( e.g. interview Directors and the Chief of Police), comparing salaries of key individuals to cities comparable in size, revenue losses and employee loses to better understand why police and fire had $1.2 million in overtime in 2009 as opposed to hiring new.

iv. City spending practices for line item 410 (attorney and consultants services to the city).

v. Current modeling and executive forecasts to demonstrate three scenarios that most cities utilize as a means to understanding the current economic climate.

Coordinated Report

In addition to its other duties, the Planning Board has been asked to review and consider strategies for economic development in conjunction with the Citizens Economic Development Commission. Such strategies shall be designed to improve commercial viability, tourism development and activity within the City of Edmonds.

Membership

8-Member Committee

• Mayoral appointees – 1

• City Council appointees – 1 each

City Council Representation

The Edmonds City Council Finance Committee shall participate in, and provide guidance for, the 2010 Levy Committee process. Council members may, from time-to-time, serve as ex-official members (no voting authority) to the Citizens Levy Committee.

Meetings

Regular Citizen Levy Committee Meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.

A majority of the Committee (5 members) constitutes a quorum for transaction of business.

Questions from Levy Committee members and Citizens - From years 2009 and 2010