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November 28, 2020

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Support Sno Co Website Now Live To Aid Local Business Owners

There’s a new website for those who want to get ideas on where to shop locally this Holiday season.

Click to visit the site.

Snohomish County has announced the launch of Support SnoCo to boost the economic health of local businesses.

This program is one of the recommendations from the Snohomish County Economic and Workforce Recovery Task Force and is being funded through federal CARES Act resources. A key feature of the effort is the SupportSnoCo.com site featuring local businesses from across the County and encouraging people to spend holiday dollars locally this year. This effort allows businesses to both attract more customers and maintain their COVID-19 protocols during the holiday season.

Since being the first local government to set up COVID-19 response efforts in the US, Snohomish County has emerged as a national leader in pandemic recovery. Support SnoCo is an integrated partnership bringing together public and private entities—including local chambers of commerce, cities, and towns—with the goal of supporting small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Powered by the community coming together, this effort represents the strength and resiliency of our business community, adapting to change. The kickoff of the support campaign is on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday with the unveiling of a website, SupportSnoCo.com.

“We know that local business owners and the people who work for them have had a very hard year,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “We want this holiday season to bring a bit of cheer to our neighborhood businesses by encouraging people to shop locally and safely. The Support SnoCo Campaign provides residents, business owners, and visitors tools to help them make the most of the shopping season. In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we support one another.”

“The Support SnoCo online hub will strengthen the economic health of Snohomish County by highlighting the fantastic shopping, food, and outdoor amenities that the County has to offer,” said Snohomish County Councilmember and Task Force Advisory Group Chair Nate Nehring. “We encourage residents and visitors alike to support their neighbors this holiday season by buying locally. Together, we will weather these difficulties and emerge as a stronger community.”

Visitors to the new Support SnoCo site can connect to local shops, access some of their favorite destinations online, and even create an itinerary to keep track of places they want to visit and support. The Support SnoCo campaign will drive discovery and commerce across the county and encourage residents and visitors alike to show their pride and support for their neighbors. Support SnoCo also offers small business resources, such as toolkits on how to move a business online and how to adapt to the current environment of health restrictions.

“I’m thrilled that during this challenging time Snohomish County is doing the important work of supporting small businesses. This new Support SnoCo online hub has so many features that will help us survive and hopefully thrive, giving visitors and residents of Snohomish this great place online to learn more about the variety of business and recreation in our county. If we join in this effort to support one another, we’ll bounce back faster and come through these challenges even stronger than before,” said Leah McNatt, Owner, Uppercase Bookshop.

The Snohomish County Office of Economic Recovery and Resiliency supports the Economic and Workforce Recovery Task Force. The Office website www.snohomishcountywa.gov/recovery contains important information about COVID-19, as well as resources for businesses, workers impacted by layoffs, and the general public. An innovative Chat Bot on the site answers common questions about economic recovery efforts.

Experience the Support SnoCo online hub at http://www.SupportSnoCo.com/.

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November 27, 2020

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Time To Think About Flooding (Yes, Even In Everett)

Rotary boat launch

Rotary Park and Boat Launch have closed multiple times due to flooding over the past few years.

With the forecast calling for this to be a La Niña year, meaning a wetter than normal winter (and given the way 2020 has gone so far), it may be a good idea to check if you are in a flood area within Everett, Washington.

In addition to parts of the Snohomish River valley, urban areas in Everett can also experience flooding. Here’s a timely guide and more information from Snohomish County Public Works.

With the rainy season underway, Snohomish County Public Works has mailed more than 8,000 copies of its “Flood Safety in Snohomish County” pamphlet to residents who live in or near 100-year-floodplains. The Flood Safety guide is also available online and additional resources are available here.

Most significant floods occur in fall and winter and this 16-page pamphlet provides current resources and helpful information on avoiding, preparing for, and coping with floods. It includes historical flood information, natural benefits of floods, how to research your property’s flood risk, protecting your home, and flood recovery tips. Hang on to the guide, as there is a list of emergency contacts on the back, for reference.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center — a division of the National Weather Service is predicting a La Niña year, meaning a wetter than normal winter.



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November 26, 2020

Comments Off on Council Pushback, Concessions And COVID-19 Drive 2021 Everett City Budget

Council Pushback, Concessions And COVID-19 Drive 2021 Everett City Budget

The budget process will continue into December. A balanced budget must be passed by the end of the year.

The Everett City Council has taken a more vocal role in budget planning this year and that has led to extended briefings and later decisions in adopting a balanced budget for 2021. On November 1st Everett City Council members put several items into a “parking lot” for further explanation and consideration.

Those included so-called “Quality of Life” items which were highlighted by Council Budget Chair Scott Murphy. At that time he indicated he wanted to make sure they were included in the 2021 budget. Examples given were:

Senior Center Funding
Jetty Island Days
4th of July
Music in the Park
Restoration of Library operating hours
Return of the Coordinator position for the City Office of Neighborhoods.

Most of those items were eliminated this year after COVID-19 flared up this Spring. With the prospect of the pandemic continuing well into 2021 they were not included in the 2021 budget. The administration also put out a call for partnership proposals for things like the Senior Center and other events.

At the most recent City Council meeting Wednesday afternoon 11/25 (which lasted more than four hours) council members went item by item over the parking lot list and made the following budget requests.

  • Earmarked $80,000.00 to bring back the 4th of July fireworks display over Port Gardner Bay
  • Put $300,000.00 in reserve for operation/reopening of the Senior Center
  • Directed $300,000.00 to the Library Budget with the wish those dollars be used to restore full operating hours
  • Asked remaining savings identified (approximately $360,000.00) be put toward budget gap of $500,000.00 that the City had hoped to close with concessions from employees.

    Other items, including Jetty Island Days, Music at the Marina, Kid’s Music in Parks and a COVID Art Installation will stay in parking lot for further consideration after the first of the year.

    Council found the money for the above reinstatements by moving money recently released from the street overlay fund after a court decision, cutting the amount of money to be budgeted to cover the increasing cost of housing prisoners in the County Jail and tweaking some other amounts in the budget proposed by the City Administration.

    There is still a gap in the 2021 budget that is being worked on before a final vote on adoption. The City had hoped to gain a million dollars in concessions from various City Employee Unions but not all agreed, leaving administrators short of their goal.
    The Everett Police Officers Association announced the following last week:

    The Everett Police Officers Assoc. in an unprecedented move, voted in late October 2020 to re-open the collective bargaining agreement and voted to increase their share of healthcare premiums; saving the city over $180,000+ in one year. It’s a drop in the bucket but doing our part to assist in the crisis and avoid further layoffs!

    That was followed by an announcement from Everett Firefighters Local 46:

    “The Everett Firefighters Union wanted to do our part to help balance Mayor Franklin’s proposed budget, by providing concessions to the City during these challenging financial times. The membership agreed to suspend the annual sick leave incentive program for the 2020-2021 collective bargaining agreement. Concessions from the Everett Firefighters should yield an estimated $160,000+ in savings to the city next year.”

    On Wednesday after the City Council meeting MyEverettNews.com was given the following breakout on concessions by City of Everett Communications Director Kimberely Kline:

    Thanks for your patience while we gathered this information. Here is a breakdown on concessions agreed by unions thus far:

    Everett Police Officers Association: $178,000

    IAFF: $165,000

    Additionally, the City will be ending medical coverage for separating employees the month that they separate, which will save $75,000. This applies to EPOA, AFSCME, IAFF and all city appointive employees.

    Negotiations are ongoing with ATU and the Everett Police Management Association.

    In addition to these concessions, I wanted to note that the City further expects to save $258,000 by reducing medical benefits similar to the EPOA and IAFF reductions and limiting wage increases for appointive employees. We are thankful for the support from our appointive (non-represented) employees.

    Also during that latest budget briefing Wednesday, the council was told the City expects a carry forward of around $12 million dollars at the end of this year that could be put to the expected deficit of $14 million dollars in the 2022 budget.

    The council received a reminder that the so-called structural deficit identified several years ago remains and each year of the five-year outlook moving forward contains deficits in the millions of dollars.

    The council votes were not unanimous with council member Jeff Moore absent. Budget Chair Scott Murphy led the argument for the “Quality of Life” items to be put back in the budget while Council Member Liz Vogeli argued this needs to be a bare-bones budget and Everett has to get by on Top-Ramen for a while and the City needs to stop kicking things down the road.

    You can click here to see the full deliberations on the budget from past City Council meetings. As of this writing (Thursday 11/26/2020) the most recent meeting has not yet been posted.

    A final budget ordinance may come before the full Everett City Council next Wednesday December 2nd with a final vote on the 2021 budget coming on Wednesday December 16th.

    One thing to note is the City is driven by what can be open and where money can be spent by what phase things are operating in under the pandemic. Budget amendments and adjustments can be made throughout the year and as forecasts change so does the budget. Programs including the Senior Center and Music and Parks may be supplanted with public-private partnerships.

    Here is a link to the proposed 2021 budget on the City of Everett website.



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    November 25, 2020

    Comments Off on Amazon Cameras Spotted On Sidewalks In North Everett

    Amazon Cameras Spotted On Sidewalks In North Everett

    robot

    This camera gathers info on streets in Everett to help “Scout” safely navigate. Photo credit: Bill McKinlock

    Another look thanks to Bill McKinlock

    Today we received a photo and video from MyEverettNews.com reader Bill McKinlock after he spotted an unusual vehicle on the sidewalk of his street in north Everett.

    The small vehicle looks like a robot with multiple cameras and is accompanied by an operator with a controller.

    After a bit of crowd sourcing, we were advised it was likely an item being used by Amazon.

    We reached out to Amazon and heard back from Amazon’s Av Zammit who confirmed that it is part of the training system for “Scout”, a new delivery system which has been in trials in Snohomish County for some time.

    “We are carrying out a survey to train our systems; this navigational data aids in safe operations,” said Amazon Spokesperson, Av Zammit.

    The Scout delivery robot. Photo courtesy Amazon.

    During Halloween Scout was decorated and delivered goodies along with customer orders. Photo Credit: Amazon

    An Amazon blog post explains that Scout s a fully-electric delivery system designed to safely get packages to customers using autonomous delivery devices.

    Scout is the size of a small cooler and rolls along sidewalks at a walking pace.

    Amazon says Scout can safely and efficiently navigate around pets, pedestrians and other obstacles in its path.

    Scout deliveries began in parts of Snohomish County in 2019 and the system is being tested in other areas of the country.

    You can learn more about Scout here.



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    November 25, 2020

    Comments Off on Port Of Everett Names Kimberly-Clark Site Norton Terminal, Shows Layout

    Port Of Everett Names Kimberly-Clark Site Norton Terminal, Shows Layout

    As cleanup continues on the former site of Kimberly-Clark on the Everett, Washington waterfront the Port of Everett has added the site to the Marine Terminals Master Plan and named it Norton Terminal. Here’s more from the Port. On November 10, 2020, the Port of Everett Commission approved the Marine Terminals Master Plan Addendum, Appendix E that […]

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    November 24, 2020

    Comments Off on Don’t Call 911 To Report COVID-19 Violations In Everett

    Don’t Call 911 To Report COVID-19 Violations In Everett

    Everett Police have issued a reminder that 911 is not the number to call if you want to report people or businesses violating COVID-19 restrictions put in place by State and local authorities. Here is what EPD had to say on their Facebook Page Tuesday afternoon. COVID-19 complaints of social gatherings, businesses or organizations not […]

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