By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff

Four departments joined the Lynnwood city council at its October 26 business meeting to present preliminary budgets for the upcoming 2021-2022 year, led by departmental plans to navigate budgetary impacts from unforeseen economic challenges. 

Information Technology Director Will Cena presented the Information Technology Department’s 2021-2022 preliminary budget, announcing a proposed 6.3% from the 2019-20 biennium budget of $5,244,292 to $4,911,171. 

These modifications are anticipated to proceed through a cutback on travel, training, and consulting, reducing the purchase of network tools and hardware while scaling down network tools, hardware and maintenance, and a deferment of computer replacements and upgrading conference rooms. 

Still, the department budget proposal includes plans to improve cybersecurity software and maintenance and increase disaster recovery implementation. 

Judge Stephen Moore then presented the changes to the upcoming Municipal Court’s 2021-2022 preliminary budget, announcing a decrease from the 2019-20 biennium budget of $2,871,854 to $2,835,573.  

The municipal court will undergo a reduction of staff and professional services, and the elimination of training and travel to meet this budget reduction. 

For the upcoming 2021-22 years, the court’s biggest goal is the remodel of the Community Justice Center- a renovation of its facility. The Municipal Court will also be converting the court from paper files to a computer-based document management system through implementing an E-filing system followed by a court management system. 

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department will undergo elimination of programs and a reduction of public facility hours to compensate for a reduction from its 2019-2020 budget of $17,261,088 to its 2021-2022 budget of $16,542,992, said Director Lynn Sordel. 

According to Sordel, adult softball will be eliminated, the Lynnwood Senior Center will be closed Saturdays, the Recreation Center Pools will be closed weekday afternoons, and Park Seasonal staff will be reduced. The department will not offer the spring volunteer recognition dinner in 2021 and will reduce the number of Shakespeare in the Park performances. 

“One of the things we are hoping to do in the next biennium is focus on how to create more flexible outdoor space for programming as part of our capital budget so that we can do more on-site outdoor physically distance programming,” said Sarah Olson, Deputy Parks & Recreation Director. 

As you’ve heard on previous presentations and as you well know 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for all of us,” said Lynnwood Police Department Chief Jim Nelson. “And it’s been no exception for the police department.”

The Lynnwood Police Department will forgo $1,943,002 in its 2021-2022 budget from its 2019-2020 budget of 43,826,031, says Nelson. The budget decrease will be met through a reduction of full-time scheduled hours of narcotics enforcement, investigative capacity, and support service capacity, along with social worker service changes.

Additionally, when the Community Justice Project goes under construction in mid-20201, the department will not have a jail housing population, resulting in savings of jail expenses. The jail will be managed by continued strict booking restrictions, robust transport and significantly increase electronic home detention efforts, says Nelson.

The Lynnwood Police Department also slightly reduced training, but Nelson says this reduction cannot continue year after year as training is vitally important “with… current discussions in our society.”

“We missed out a lot in 2020 and I just couldn’t reduce it any further and still provide the level of service and professionalism that’s expected in ever-increasing demands on law enforcement,” said Nelson. 

During the October 12 city council meeting, Mayor Nicola Smith presented the Lynnwood City Council with the city’s preliminary budget with general fund expenditures totaling $112,176,210. That article can be found here: https://lynnwoodtimes.com/2020/10/13/lynnwood-mayor-proposes-6-4-reduction-for-2021-22-budget/

Future Lynnwood City Council Business Meetings, Work Sessions and Committee Meetings can be streamed live by the public at https://www.you- tube.com/user/CityofLynnwood/live.

Mario Lotmore

Mario Lotmore is originally from The Bahamas and for the last seven years has called Mukilteo, WA his home. Having lived in every region of the United States has exposed him to various cultures, people, and approaches to life. Lotmore created the Lynnwood Times to represent the character of a diverse and growing Lynnwood. The launching of the city’s free community newspaper will only help bring neighborhoods together. Lotmore was an industrial engineer by trade and proven success implementing and managing lean accountable processes and policies within his eighteen years of operations excellence, strategic development, and project management in the aerospace, manufacturing, and banking industries. Over his career he has saved and created hundreds of union and non-union jobs. Lotmore is the President of a Homeowner Association, an active Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics volunteer in his community, and former Boeing 747 Diversity Council leader. Mario’s talent is finding “that recipe” of shared destiny to effectively improve the quality of life for others.

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