During Monday business meeting, Lynnwood council discusses future roundtable talks with local business owners, vaccine rollout

Lynnwood City Council President George Hurst (bottom left) discussing future roundtable work sessions with local business owners at the council’s Jan. 25 business meeting. (Not photographed: Councilmembers Jim Smith, Ruth Ross, Shannon Sessions and Mayor Nicola Smith)

Aiming to support the business community impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lynnwood City Council is looking to meet with Lynnwood business owners to see how the city can help.

At its Jan. 25 business meeting, the council discussed inviting business owners to attend a virtual roundtable discussion to hear directly from those whose businesses have been impacted by the pandemic. The idea was proposed by Councilmember Christine Frizzell, who has suggested in the past the council invite community stakeholders to roundtable discussions.

“These are people that have their livelihoods and their savings and their families on the line every day, and if we can do something I think we should,” she said.

In 2019, the council held two roundtable discussions — one focused on Lynnwood’s housing needs and another focused on supporting local business owners — during which each councilmember invited two community stakeholders to discuss their needs. According to Frizzell, the council planned to hold more roundtables but those plans were pushed back due to the pandemic.

Since last March, many businesses have struggled to keep their doors open while meeting state and public health guidelines. In June, the council unanimously approved allocating $500,000 of the city’s federal $1.18 million in CARES Act funding for a business relief program. By July, 50 business owners had received $10,000 relief grants each from the fund to cover business-related costs and expenses, like rent, supplies and labor. The grants are viewed as mutually beneficial to the city and the business community, since more than 40% of Lynnwood’s general fund revenues come from retail sales tax.

Frizzell proposed holding the meeting near the end of February, but Council President George Hust suggested that the council wait until after its annual council summit. At the beginning of each calendar year, the council holds an informal work session where councilmembers discuss high-priority city issues. These meetings typically last longer than regular council meetings, allowing for the councilmembers to take a deep dive into each discussion topic.

Though he was in favor of Frizzell’s proposal, Hurst said the topic was already on the summit’s agenda. He added that the council is set to review summit agenda topics during its Feb. 1 work session. Additionally, he said agenda topics for the month of February have already been planned.

“I think it’s a good idea, (but) I don’t think it’s going to happen (in February), but I sure hope we can do it in March,” he said.

During her opening comments, Mayor Nicola Smith provided an update on the coronavirus vaccine, which is available by appointment for those who qualify. Currently, that includes health care workers, high-risk first responders, adult living facility residents and staff, anyone 65 years or older and anyone 50 years or older who is living in a multi-generational household.

Vaccines are available by appointment at three drive-through locations (Monroe, Everett, Edmonds College) and have the capacity to give shots to 30,000 people a week, according to county officials.

However, Mayor Smith said the county’s vaccine supply is scarce, making it difficult even for those who qualify to receive it. As an example, she said it took her husband — who is eligible for the vaccine — two days to schedule his appointment. 

“It is a supply-and-demand issue,” Smith said. ‘We just don’t have as many vaccinations as we need right now, but we’re working on it.”

However,  the mayor said the county will continue to advocate for more doses of the vaccine. She added that once the county increases its supply, she is confident that the city will have the infrastructure in place to distribute it efficiently.

In other business, the council unanimously voted to appoint the following candidates to city boards/commissions. Candidates were previously interviewed during last week’s work session:

  • Ann Guan, Planning Commission
  • Bob Larsen, Planning Commission
  • Kevin Brewer, History & Heritage Board Candidate

The appointments fall under the council’s consent agenda, which allows the board to approve multiple items together without discussion or individual motions, unless those items are pulled for individual votes. Other items on the consent agenda included a proposed interlocal agreement between the city and Snohomish County to house inmates at the county jail.

As the county jail, the facility holds inmates from several jurisdictions, and the county has drafted the terms and conditions of this agreement to cities. The vote authorized the mayor to enter into an agreement with the county for jail services through December 2023. Per the agreement, the city will pay an annual estimated cost of $500,000 per year to house inmates.

The proposal also includes increases in daily fees, booking fees, and video court fees that will increase an additional 3% at the beginning of 2023. Snohomish County did not provide the new interlocal agreement in time to renew the services prior to the previous agreement expiration. This agreement will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2021.

The consent agenda also included final acceptance of work done for the 2020 Pavement Preservation Project. The work, totaling $1.7 million, involved resurfacing 68th Avenue West between 196th Street Southwest and 204th Street Southwest through full depth asphalt replacement and grinding and overlay of the existing asphalt.

Also during the meeting, council members spoke to the stabbing that took place Sunday morning in front of the Lynnwood Fred Meyer, which left one man dead.

Around 11:45 a.m. Sunday, a Lynnwood man in his 60s was stabbed multiple times in front of the store during a confrontation with a group of three or four people. He died later that night from his injuries at Harborview Medical Center.

“I’m heartbroken with the episode that happened yesterday,” said Councilmember Julieta Altamirano-Crosby. “My prayers are with the family. They lost a loved one.”

Witnesses said the suspect was a Black woman in her late teens/early 20s who fled the scene driving northbound on 48th Avenue West from 196th Southwest in a “white or silver-colored four-door vehicle with black rims and body damage, possibly a late-model Nissan Sentra.”

The vehicle was reported to have a rear Arizona license plate and no front plate. Anyone with information on this incident has been asked to contact Detective Sattarov at 425-670-5633 or Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Photos or video of the incident should be forwarded to the detectives working the case by clicking here.

After completing its Monday night agenda, the council adjourned into an executive session to discuss potential litigation. During executive sessions, city officials meet to discuss private matters behind closed doors before addressing them publicly. No other information regarding the matter is available at this time.

–By Cody Sexton

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