EVERETT, Wash. – Mayor Cassie Franklin delivered her budget address and presented the City of Everett’s proposed 2021 budget at the Sept. 16 city council meeting.
The 2021 budget continues to build on a foundation of quality-of-life priorities: responsive & responsible government, safe community, economic & cultural vitality, transportation & infrastructure, engaged & informed community, and education & workforce development.
In her address, the mayor acknowledged the difficulties and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and described several City recent accomplishments, including opening the Grand Avenue Park Bridge, completing Rucker Renewal, taking its permit counter online, and leading efforts to collect and distribute face covers, distributing more than 110,000 throughout the region.
“This is undeniably the most difficult year our City has faced in our lifetime, and an especially difficult budget year,” Franklin said. “… In the face of adversity, our City teams have truly risen to the occasion, and have all exemplified everything that makes me proud to lead this City.”
Franklin also highlighted several initiatives, programs and announcements, including:
- Everett’s new equity manager will work to improve inclusion, equity and diversity at the City and create a culture of anti-racism, including implementing staff training programs, and identifying and addressing inequities and bias in City systems, policies and procedures
- The City will continue exploring forming or joining a regional fire authority
- Everett Police will increase officer training and participate in participation in Project ABLE, a program that prepares officers to successfully intervene as necessary to prevent misconduct, avoid police mistakes, and promote officer health and wellness
- With more than 1,000 units of housing in the permitting and construction pipeline, the proposed budget includes expanding permitting and planning staff resources to support continued development in Everett
- Major public works projects budgeted for 2021 include continuing the seismic retrofit of the Maple Heights bridge and replacing the Edgewater bridge
- New funding for Everett’s Cultural Arts Commission to partner with the City on cultural event or art project to commemorate the challenges of 2020 and help the community heal
- Proposed parks funding includes completing the Emma Yule Park, upgrading several playgrounds, adding a maintenance project coordinator position and six more entry-level park maintenance positions, and starting work on the Silver Lake trail
Franklin spoke about the Everett Public Library’s expanded and adapted services to meet the community’s needs for entertainment, resources and learning during the pandemic. The proposed budget includes support to expand these services, as well as fill a second youth librarian position to connect with diverse families, and provide bilingual and bicultural programs and services.
“I have been hearing loud and clear that people love our libraries!” Franklin said. “I received more calls and emails from the community advocating in support of the library than any other service, so it’s clear how much this resource is highly valued by our community.”
The mayor also spoke about housing affordability and the need for housing at all price points. Rethink Zoning will move into the implementation phase in 2021 to simplify zoning codes and Rethink Housing will engage the Everett community to understand current and future housing needs. She shared plans for the City of Everett to work in partnership with Snohomish County to focus on affordable housing and shelter capacity.
In closing, Franklin acknowledged the innovation, creativity and commitment of City teams and leadership to find new ways to serve the Everett community, continue delivering core services and conduct business.
Public invited to provide comment
Public hearings on the 2021 proposed budget will be held during Everett City Council meetings, held remotely, in October and November. Community members are invited to view learn more about the budget and provide input at everettwa.gov/2021budget.
The full text of the mayor’s remarks is available on the City’s website. A video of the mayor’s address is available on the City’s YouTube channel.