Local GovernmentNews

City Council addresses community impact of COVID-19

By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times

At the March 9 business meeting, the Lynnwood City Council tackled a busy schedule, beginning with Mayor Nicola Smith addressing her decision to declare an emergency proclamation on March 4 out of caution for the risk that COVID-19 poses to the community of Lynnwood.

“This emergency proclamation gives our city the ability to quickly respond to the rapidly changing situation and ensure the best possible outcomes for our community members and city employees,” explained Smith.

The council announced that they have canceled all city advisory board and commission meetings through the end of March, as well as all city-sponsored events and gatherings until further notice.

“We’ve been closely tracking the evolving situations surrounding the coronavirus,” said Smith. “We’ve continued to follow the guidance of the Snohomish Health District and the Centers for Disease Control and we understand the important role that the City of Lynnwood plays in helping to keep our community members safe.” 

Former councilmember, Ted Hikel, expressed his concerns regarding coronavirus’s potential impact on Lynnwood’s economy.

“As the economy goes down, as it well might, what is the city’s plan for dealing with that downturn? What is your plan B? What steps have you taken and what steps are you prepared to take to address when people don’t go to the mall and don’t go to the theater?” asked Hikel.

Councilmember Ian Cotton responded to Hikel’s questions, saying that the council has established strategic plans for short-term and/or long-term revenue downturns.

“Between this outbreak and just general economic pressures, we all hope the economy rights itself and we continue to level out and right the ship,” said Cotton. “In the event that doesn’t occur, I would invite everybody to type in the city of Lynnwood financial policies and what you’ll find is resolution 2019-10 which is the updated financial policies of the city.”

In other business, the city council unanimously voted Alyssa Pullia as the city’s new salary commissioner. Pullia, a Lynnwood resident for the past three years, interviewed for the position with the council last week. Mayor Smith also proclaimed March as Public Procurement Month in the city of Lynnwood.

Later that evening, there was a public hearing regarding the future management of the city’s transportation programs and improvements. The Transportation Benefit District (TBD) provides a substantial portion of the funding for Lynnwood transportation, and the proposed ordinance if passed, would abolish the TBD, granting the city its current rights and functions.

Public Works Director, Bill Franz, explained that benefits are abundant to combining the TBD with city government, but expressed one concern regarding a potential loss of attention that the city council, who’ve acted as a TBD board, has given to transportation.

“This is a time we really should be spending more time trying to solve some of our transportation funding issues,” Franz stated after explaining that Lynnwood residents’ top priority has historically emphasized transportation.

“What we’re recommending is facetime with the council to do quarterly work session discussions,” added City Engineer, David Mach.

Councilmember Ruth Ross agreed with Public Works’ desire to find a specific time, if the ordinance is passed, for discussions about allocated transportation program funding.

“I want to make sure we have that scheduled and make sure we still have that ongoing meeting,” stated Ross.

The city council will vote on adopting the ordinance at its next business meeting on March 23. The meeting will be at city hall at 7:00 p.m.

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