The City of Edmonds is developing a COVID-19 Financial Crisis Financial plan.

The City is in a similar position of uncertainty as many cities across Washington State and the country related to the long-term financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis on services, programs and staffing.

However, one thing we do know is that, due to sound financial-management policies, the City is in a strong financial position to face the projected loss of revenue from COVID-19 and still provide essential services for our residents during this public health crisis. 

The City has a draft Financial Crisis Financial Policy, a type of framework, in place to track what is happening and what will happen as the crisis changes. This policy creates a consistent and uniform approach to deliver actionable information on which the City and the Council will make decisions.

What we know and what we are doing

  • Due to sound financial management policies, the City is in a strong financial position to manage the financial impacts of COVID-19. This means will are able to provide essential services for residents and basic City function. Our estimated sales tax budget is a little more than $8 million annually. In the first three months of 2020, we took in more than $100,000 over 2019, quarter over quarter. We have also received $2 million of the $8 million already.
  • In March, we took steps to reduce the impact of revenue losses. These steps have included a hiring freeze, affecting up to 10 regular positions across City departments. In addition, Parks and Recreation is holding off on filling seven seasonal positions and has laid off 15 recreation employees. We are leaving open only positions that are required to assist in the City’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • We put a pause on non-essential projects. For example, we delayed from March to May the bid opening for the Civic Park project and the Council did not approve a $100,000 contract to hire a consultant for a sewer project.
We, like most cities across the country, are developing a financial strategy with triggers and benchmarks that kick in when we reach pre-determined financial thresholds. These triggers include percentage drops to our city budget and reserve fund. We shared these with the City Council on Tuesday, April 14 and Edmonds Finance Director Scott James presented our strategic approach to the financial situation.

James laid out three trigger levels:
  • Level 1: If our general fund balance falls below 5% - 10% then we will freeze all new hires except crisis-intervention staff.
  • Level 2: If our General Fund falls below 10%, then we will freeze all non-essential expenditures. This would include projects, equipment and land acquisitions. We will take unspent fund balances from select programs to feed the General Fund and we will have access to our Contingency Fund which will be used to feed the General Fund.
  • Level 3: If we exhaust our Contingency Fund and the General Fund falls below 16%, we will move into another phase of budgeting.
James is also developing several scenarios that reflect various financial impacts, going out as far as January 2021, which will also be shared with Council soon.

There may also be federal and state support for local municipalities to consider, although this is not yet clear.

“We will continue to monitor our financial position closely and will be working with the City Council on potential additional actions necessary to maintain a sound, balanced budget, while also making critical investments in our community and local economy to help ensure Edmonds can recover swiftly and sustainably from this crisis,” commented Mayor Mike Nelson.

More information

For concerns over potential violations of Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” order:

If you have concerns about public gatherings, feel free to kindly remind people of the Governor’s ban on gatherings and encourage them to disperse. If a gathering persists, call the Edmonds Police non-emergency number: 425.407.3999.

If you have concerns about construction work that appears to be nonessential, contact Development Services Director Shane Hope at

Local Businesses
If you have concerns that a non-essential local businesses is open and operating, use this State online reporting form. On the left side of this sheet is a link to “essential business” definitions.  

Permitting Information
Questions about permits and the permitting process can be found on this page, which is regularly updated. You may also call Development Service at 425.771.0220.