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December 1, 2021

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Everett Passes 2022 Budget Of $761 Million – Adds 8 New Police Positions

Everett Police just added 8 more positions for 2022 and are undertaking a major effort to diversify the make-up of the Department.

Wednesday night the Everett City Council unanimously passed the budget for 2022 in the amount of $761,494,955.00.

In addition, 6 of 7 city councilmembers approved an amendment that added eight more uniform positions to the Everett Police Department with four of those being designated for the bicycle unit.

The amendment was proposed by Scott Murphy with a second by Scott Bader. The only no vote on the amendment was by Liz Vogeli who said she had various reasons, but that public safety means different things to different people and public safety doesn’t have to mean more police.

The majority of the money for the eight uniform police positions is coming from a COPS Grant that the City received last year. That grant was controversial at the time but was ultimately approved by the Council based on the flexibility in how it could be applied.

There was concern by City Council President Brenda Stonecipher that adding additional positions when the police department was having trouble filling the current vacancies would send the wrong message to the public. The difference in the amount covered by the grant and the balance of the expense will be covered by the carry-forward from vacant positions.

President Stonecipher asked Police Chief Dan Templeman how many vacancies the department had at this time and how many were expected looking into 2022? Templeman advised there are currently seventeen vacancies, and another ten officers are expected to leave next year. Adding in the eight authorized tonight that would leave thirty-five positions to fill in 2022.

Templeman said in the past several years Everett PD has filled between twelve and twenty-four positions a year, but they have increased the number of background investigators from two to ten and have received grants to target hiring a more diverse force. He said 36 percent of officers hired recently were female and 41 percent were people of color.

Mayor Franklin said she supported the additional number of officers and that is shows Everett, Washington is boldly hiring while other departments are not. She also noted that these positions are specifically targeted to be directed to community policing. She also said the administration would be very transparent in reporting on the department’s recruiting efforts.

Prior to the budget vote was the third and final public hearing and for the second year in a row no members of the public spoke up about any aspect of the budget. Liz Vogeli reminded the council that the budget was a living, fluid thing and that amendments and adjustments could and likely would be made after the first of the year to address concerns over staffing and neighborhood equity issues. Other Councilmembers expressed concerns over library hours and the failure to provide funds for the 4th of July parade.

It remains to be seen how the addition of four new city council members after the first of the year will shape spending in throughout 2022.



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December 1, 2021

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Day 3 Of Our “Shop With A Cop” Donation Drive

Just a quick reminder that it is day three of five in our effort to raise cash donations to help the Everett Police Officers Association fill the wish lists of local kids this Holiday Season. Last year Everett Police shopped for gifts and then delivered to the kid’s homes and other locations but were not able to interact with the kids. It is a similar situation this year though there are plans to have a meet-up with Santa share some cocoa and let the kids pick up their gifts. Right now we need to raise money to purchase the gifts kids are asking for (Everything from infants to teenagers). You can help by dropping off a cash donation at the Everett Police Records room today, Thursday or Friday between 9am – 4pm. They are located at 3002 Wetmore in downtown Everett. Thank you.
Leland Dart, Publisher MyEverettNews.com.

Last year Chief Templeman and Santa teamed up for deliveries to kid’s homes.



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December 1, 2021

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Snohomish County Proposing Sales Tax Hike To Help Pay For More Housing

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A public hearing and vote is set for Dec. 15th.

While not all are on board, the leadership of Snohomish County voted to introduce an increase in the sales tax on purchases in unincorporated Snohomish County by 0.1%.

The money from the increase would be earmarked for more housing. The move was announced by Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers along with support by Council Chair Stephanie Wright, and Council Vice Chair Megan Dunn.

Meanwhile Snohomish County Council member Nate Nehring opposed the increase saying it was being rushed through with minimal transparency with a public hearing and vote set for December 15th. Both sides sent out press releases this morning to make their case.
 
First, here is the press release from Executive Somers’ office.
 
Today, Snohomish County leaders—including Executive Dave Somers, Council Chair Stephanie Wright, and Council Vice Chair Megan Dunn—proposed to authorize new funding for affordable housing through a 0.1% sales tax, as allowed under HB 1590.

Using existing federal, state, and local resources, Snohomish County anticipates being able to construct and acquire 222 new units of affordable housing in the next five years. Authorizing this new source of critically needed funding would help support the creation of a projected 300 new units of affordable housing over that same time, more than doubling the current production rate and increasing the total new affordable housing units to 522.

Snohomish County, like many parts of the region and country, is facing an affordable housing crisis. Many teachers, first responders, tradespeople, public servants, and others are finding it increasingly difficult to live in their own communities because housing costs have skyrocketed, pushing many towards the margins.

“Too many of Snohomish County’s residents are worried about being forced onto the street because they have been on the losing end of the affordable housing crisis,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers. “For years, the supply of affordable housing has not kept pace with demand, and the spike in housing costs has pushed people to the limits. It is time for us to take bold action and do what we can to address the affordable housing crisis. Without this investment, our economy will weaken, more people will become homeless, and our quality of life will be diminished.”

“There are people throughout Snohomish County who are being forced to choose between food, medicine, and losing their home. This is not just a crisis for those experiencing or living on the verge of homelessness but one that affects the safety and economic health of our entire county,” said Snohomish County Council Chair Stephanie Wright. “We have the opportunity to make significant, long-term impacts on homelessness, and to provide wholistic services that address the root causes. During the pandemic, these problems increased even as federal and local dollars were used to maintain stability. It is a moral imperative that we take action, and this is another important step in protecting our residents and ensuring that we create healthy communities where all can thrive.”

“In order to address the underlying causes of homelessness, we need sufficient access to supportive housing and services to address mental health challenges and substance abuse,” said County Council Vice Chair Dunn. “Every night, over 1,000 people experience homelessness in Snohomish County with the majority in our urban centers. This funding provides sustainable revenue for emergency and affordable housing, long term supportive housing, and operating and maintenance costs coupled with the wrap around services needed to help people get back on their feet. This is not only addressing a humanitarian challenge to house our residents with dignity; funding will support our economic growth and get us on a better path as we recover from the pandemic.”

The affordable housing crisis in Snohomish County has been well documented:

Over 33% of households in Snohomish County are cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs (based on 2018 Census Bureau report).
Nearly half of all households in Snohomish County cannot afford an average two-bedroom apartment offered at fair market rent without becoming cost-burdened.
As of 2019, Snohomish County would need 127,215 additional units of housing by 2040—approximately 6,300 new units each year—for no household in Snohomish County to spend more than 30% of their income toward housing.
Approximately one-third of all households are at 60% of Area Median Income or below. This means that about one-third of Snohomish County households are in need of housing that will not be produced without governmental or nonprofit interventions.
During 2020 in Snohomish County, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment was $2,099. To afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing, a household must earn $6,997 monthly or $83,960 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly housing wage of $40.37.
To afford a two-bedroom apartment at minimum wage, a household would have to work three full-time jobs.
Additionally, there has been a 50-67% decline in low rent housing in our region from 2011 to 2017 and new construction has not made up for these declines.
In 2020, there were 1,132 people living unsheltered in Snohomish County, according to the Point in Time Count. It is likely that number has increased significantly due to the pandemic.

In response to the housing crisis, Executive Somers and Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith established the Housing Affordability Regional Task Force (HART) that met throughout 2019 and 2020. One of the action items in the HART report was the need to find additional resources to build more affordable housing. If authorized by the County Council, Executive Somers intends to coordinate any spending on affordable housing with HART to ensure these resources have truly regional and equitable impact.

The following counties and cities in Washington have already authorized .1% sales tax for affordable housing, including Jefferson, King, Skagit, Spokane, Whatcom Counties, and the Cities of Anacortes, Ellensburg, Olympia, Port Angeles, Poulsbo, Tacoma, and East Wenatchee/Wenatchee.

Snohomish County has distributed approximately 90% of their $67.7 million in federal and state-funded rental assistance. That assistance is a short-term solution for a long-term problem; more affordable housing is needed.

The Snohomish County Council will now consider the ordinance and hold public hearings later this month. It is expected that if approved this would raise approximately $116 million over five years for investments in affordable housing.
 
Here is the press release sent out afterword by Nate Nehring’s office.

This morning, the Snohomish County Council introduced a proposal to raise the countywide sales tax rate to fund additional taxpayer-subsidized housing in Snohomish County. On the same day as its introduction, a public hearing on the proposal was set for December 15th, only 2 weeks after this was brought forward. County Councilmember Nate Nehring objected to the rushed timeline for consideration in addition to the overall process.

“Typically, proposals to increase the sales tax rate are placed on the ballot for a vote of the people” said Councilmember Nehring. “In this case, a loophole passed by the State Legislature is being used to avoid a public vote. That isn’t right.”

At the public hearing on December 15th, during its last meeting before Christmas, the Council is expected to act on the proposal. This fast-tracked approval timeline is not the traditional process for Council consideration of this type of action.

“There is no reason why this tax needs to be rushed through with minimal transparency,” said Councilmember Nehring. “If there are Councilmembers who think this is a good idea, they should be willing to make that case to their constituents through a robust process of public input and deliberation.”

Councilmember Nehring is in the process of drafting an amendment which, if passed, would send this proposal to the ballot for a public vote.



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December 1, 2021

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Everett Taking Next Step To Possibly Merge Bus Service With Community Transit

A preliminary study is happening but a vote is likely a couple of years away.

Editor’s Update 10:00PM: The Everett City Council unanimously approved the study but made assurances that this was about gathering data and not pushing for a merger.

At their Wednesday meeting the City Council in Everett, Washington will vote on setting up what is being called a

SCOPE OF WORK AND JOINT STUDY FRAMEWORK FOR CONSIDERATION OF CONSOLIDATED TRANSIT SERVICES.

This comes as a result of the ReThink Transit study earlier this year and the direction of the Everett City Council to explore the Growth Through Consolidation alternative presented in June. Basically, this is the beginning of a long process that examines what a merger of Everett Transit into Community Transit would look like. From the briefing papers…

The agencies agree that the highest value and level of long-term sustainable, equitable transit service in the City may best be achieved by the City of Everett joining the Community Transit PTBA, thereby merging Everett Transit with Community Transit as envisioned by the Growth Through Consolidation option.

Consolidated transit service would provide a significantly higher level of mobility throughout Everett’s neighborhoods as well as seamless, equitable connectivity and access to surrounding communities. This integrated transit system would provide the level of service and sustainability Everett requires for mobility and opportunity today and connection to light rail in the future.

This proposal, developed jointly by Everett Transit and Community Transit executive leadership, provides a recommended framework for developing a consolidation implementation plan to move forward to the respective governing bodies for further consideration.

It will be a year and a half before the City Council gets a final report on the idea.

The stated objective of the joint study framework is to define a plan where Everett Transit is integrated into Community Transit and then develop that into a ballot measure where Everett voters would ultimately decide if a merger would be undertaken. That vote wouldn’t likely happen until fall of 2023. The plan would cover some of the following according to materials being presented to the City Council.

Community Transit and City of Everett leadership agree the integration plan will:

• Define the mechanism for implementation and identify the path to a ballot measure for
voter consideration.
• Clearly describe the type, extent, and delivery model of transit services that would be
offered under Growth Through Consolidation option.
• Define the transfer of facilities, vehicles, and equipment.
• Consider governance implications and options for Board representation and reach
agreement on preferred approach.
• Evaluate options and timing of transition, including potential phasing, and its financial,
service, customer, and community impacts.
• Describe the transition and integration of workforce and all supporting functions.
• Develop a joint communication, marketing, and brand strategy.
• Determine the need for and clearly define any policy changes required by the mutually
agreed consolidation plan.
 
You can click here to see the agreement as it is being presented to the Everett City Council.



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November 30, 2021

Comments Off on Day Two For Cash Donations At EPD Records For Shop With A Cop 2021

Day Two For Cash Donations At EPD Records For Shop With A Cop 2021

Today is day 2 of our week-long effort to assist the Everett Police Officers Association in collecting funds to fill the wish lists of local kids this Holiday Season.

shop with a cop

From 2019, Officers wait for the first group of kids to arrive.

It is the 7th year for “Shop with a Cop” for Everett Police and things are still a bit different. Instead of going through a department store with an officer and selecting gifts for themselves and their family members kids referred by the Everett Gospel Mission and other social service agencies are creating lists that the EPOA will work to fill.

That’s a main reason this year the request is for cash donations which allows shoppers to target multiple retailers and methods to get the right gifts requested by the child. Later in December the cops and kids will get together to enjoy a visit with Santa and the kids will receive their gifts to bring back to their families.

You can drop your donation off at the Everett Police Records Department at 3002 Wetmore Avenue in downtown Everett every day this week between 9am and 4pm. If you’d like to donate by check and be able to claim a charitable tax deduction you can make the check payable to the Everett Gospel Mission and be sure to put “Shop with a Cop” in the memo line. Checks also need to be dropped off with EPD Records.

MyEverettNews.com is matching the first $500.00 of cash donations this week and if you can’t make it to the EPD records room, give me a call at (425) 280-7620 or send me an email at news@myeverettnews.com and I’ll come pick up your donation and take it there for you. Thanks for your help and support of this very worthwhile effort.

Leland Dart – Publisher MyEverettNews.com



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November 30, 2021

Comments Off on Santa Visiting Everett Neighborhoods By Firetruck – Wednesdays In December

Santa Visiting Everett Neighborhoods By Firetruck – Wednesdays In December

Santa and the crew will be spreading cheer all across Everett!

A big hit last year returns again this Holiday season in Everett, Washington as Santa gets aboard an Everett Fire truck to cruise around the city collecting donations for Volunteers of America Western Washington. Here’s more from Everett Fire.

Santa’s Neighborhood Cruise – Food and Toy Drive – is back! Starting this Wednesday, December 1, in North Everett at 5 p.m., Firefighters will be escorting Santa through town to visit all the good boys and girls while collecting donations of food, toys for @Volunteers of America Western Washington. We will also accept cash and check donations – please make checks out to Volunteers of America.

Maps can be found at https://visiteverett.com/1391/Santas-Coming-to-Town.

Click to see the individual route maps.

On the day of each visit, we will post a GPS tracking link, so you can see Santa’s travels. This year, we have a few modifications. On the maps, you will see numbered stops, these are areas where Santa will stop for a visit while his elves collect donations.Otherwise, we will do a slow roll along the marked streets to also collect donations, but Santa will not be stopping. For the best view, Santa will be in the front passenger seat of the fire engine. Major streets such as Broadway, 41st St, 19th Ave SE, Evergreen Way, and Everett Mall Way, are travel streets to the next point.

Summary:
Santa’s Cruise Dates are Wednesdays starting at 5pm:
North Everett – December 1
Central Everett – December 8
South Everett – December 15



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