From police to homelessness, Lynnwood City Council reviews topics for summit retreat

The Lynnwood City Council began the 2019 calendar year by prioritizing the items councilmembers will discuss at their annual summit retreat.

The city council retreat will take place on Saturday, Feb. 9 and it is designed to allow the council to informally discuss a variety of issues they will work on in the coming months.

Councilmember Shirley Sutton began the discussion by saying she believed it is important that the City of Lynnwood start to rebuild its police force. Sutton said she has received multiple calls and emails from Lynnwood residents who have reported an increase in crime.

“The way I look at it, if we don’t start taking those things seriously then we’re going to get left behind in terms of being able to build our staff again,” she said.

Sutton said she wants to keep the idea of adding more officers to the police department a priority, because of the time it takes to train new officers.

“It’s very important for our livelihood and our city to keep our residents safe,” she said.

Councilmember Ruth Ross said this would be a good year for the council to begin to establish more council priorities and goals.

“Hopefully everybody can come to the council summit, prepared to put something on the table,” she said.

Ross also said she wants to ensure that when they do establish a list of priorities, councilmembers are able to access the support staff to follow through with those goals.

Councilmember George Hurst said he would like to review the effect of recently-passed ordinances.

“We’ve passed ordinances, but are they effective?” he said.

Councilmember Ian Cotton said he would like the city council to develop a policy for the homeless population in Lynnwood.

“I think there are some good things out there we can borrow from to cobble together our own policy then add a zest of Lynnwood,” he said.

Council President Ben Goodwin also said it is important to discuss the issue of homelessness.

“What is it that we as a city think needs to be done,” he said. “Both as a city and partnering with businesses and other entities and other organizations to combat this.”

Goodwin also said the council should review the idea of having its own city attorney on staff.

“As we have a contract attorney, is that what works well for the city?” he asked. “Do we need to change how that goes or are things going well the way they are?”

In addition, Goodwin said, the council should consider whether to continuing having a contract municipal court judge, currently Judge Stephen Moore.

“Do we continue a contract or do we decide now to have an elected judge in the city?” he asked.

Goodwin said the reason for considering this now is the year or two it would take to establish the position of an elected judge. Mayor Nicola Smith said that one of the differences between a contracted judge and an elected judge is a contracted judge only works 30 hours a week and any more than that would require an elected judge.

“That would affect the budget, police, jail staff,” Goodwin said. “A lot of things to consider.”

Ross said said these summits are a unique opportunity to have in-depth conversations about the issues that the council cannot spend the proper time on during city council meetings.

“If we keep going up against these subjects and don’t sit down and talk to each other about what we really think, we’re never going to reach a solution,” she said.

— By Cody Sexton

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