The Lynnwood City Council at its Monday Feb. 14 meeting agreed to extend by 90 days Mayor Christine Frizzell’s emergency proclamation aimed at giving Lynnwood the ability to quickly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I did have concerns with this in general, knowing that COVID is no longer an emergency; it’s more of a daily lifestyle that we’ve all learned how to deal with,” Councilmember Shannon Sessions said. “I am content with the 90 days. I do understand the reason we’re doing this and why this is important.”
Originally signed by former Mayor Nicola Smith, the proclamation was reissued and signed by Frizzell, who took office Jan. 1. During last week’s meeting, multiple councilmembers stated there should be limits on the proclamation, which was awaiting council confirmation. Councilmembers Decker and Sessions said that they would only be comfortable confirming the proclamation if a specific time limit was set on it.
The motion to confirm the emergency proclamation with a 90-day limit passed 6-1, with Councilmember Jim Smith opposing it.
“As I mentioned in our last work session, I can’t go along with this,” Smith said. “We don’t have an emergency.”
The council also unanimously rejected a motion – made last week by Councilmember Julieta Altamirano-Crosby – that $1.5 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds be used to mail COVID-19 test kits to all Lynnwood residents. Altimarano-Crosby said she decided not to support the motion this week after talking to health care professionals in the community.
“There’s a lot of resources [already],” she said. “If we receive more notifications from the community that there is still a need, maybe we can come back and say, ‘We need to buy x amount of COVID tests.’”
Regarding how the city should spend the total $10.9 million allotted in ARPA funds, councilmembers agreed that there has not yet been sufficient discussion about spending and decided to postpone the decision until after having more discussion during the March 21 work session.
The decision to delay was made after hearing from Lynnwood’s Senior Manager of Strategic Planning Corbitt Loch, who discussed the number of suggestions that have come in from the community regarding how the city should use ARPA money. According to Loch, originally there were approximately 90 suggestions, but staff have now narrowed that number to around 60.
Councilmember Sessions requested an updated “Top 10” list be made available that includes only the suggestions that have received the most votes from other city leaders.
Councilmembers voted to hold the March 21 work session in person, stating they believe more can be accomplished face-to-face rather than via Zoom.
In other business, the council also unanimously approved the city’s PARC (Parks, Arts, Recreation & Conservation) Plan update and the right of way (ROW) acquisition for the Scriber Creek Trail Project.
The 2016-2025 PARC Plan establishes strategic directions, goals, policies and action items for the Parks, Recreation Cultural Arts Department for 10 years and required a six-year update approval to maintain state grant funding eligibility.
The ROW Acquisition is the first phase of a larger project that will extend Scriber Creek Trail from Wilcox Park north to Lund’s Gulch and Meadowdale Beach Park.
In other business, Councilmember Josh Binda read Lynnwood’s honorary proclamation regarding Black History Month.
“The City of Lynnwood recognizes and celebrates February as Black History Month, a time in which all Americans are encouraged to reflect on the successes and achievements of Black Americans, learn more about Black history and listen to Black stories and voices,” Binda read. “The City of Lynnwood is committed to being a safe, welcoming and equitable city, one in which all are welcome and all belong.”
Council President George Hurst tied the proclamation to the “I Love Lynnwood” event that took place earlier in the day on Feb. 14.
“It’s love that’s going to defeat hate,” Hurst said. “Love our neighbor: that’s what we should be aiming for.”
The council meeting ended with a 30-minute executive session that was closed to the public.
— by Lauren Reichenbach