The Board previously discussed a sales tax increase to fund transportation improvements and maintenance. In the end, there simply was not enough support among Boardmembers at Wednesday’s meeting to place a sales tax measure on the ballot at this time. The issue may be revisited at the Board’s next meeting, which is scheduled for October.
Reasons against submitting a ballot measure this fall included a desire to see what sort of revenues the new Costco will bring in and potential savings with a possible regional fire consolidation with Fire District 1. The concern that sales tax is regressive and has the most impact on low income residents also was expressed. Boardmembers also wanted to explore possible additional transportation funding options from the General Fund.
It is likely that Community Transit will be heading to the polls with a ballot measure to raise sales tax .3 percent in this fall’s General Election.
Boardmembers recognized the need for increased transportation funding and the fact that any delays will only compound the City’s costs.
“Money needs to be found,” Boardmember Ruth Ross said. “But what I’m thinking is maybe it doesn’t need to be found this way (sales tax increase).”
But Ross added that if funds aren’t found, she is willing to talk about a ballot measure next year.
“I don’t think the sales tax option is one we can explore at this time,” Boardmember Ian Cotton added.
Cotton said that transportation funding needs to be a priority of the City.
“Our roads need attention now,” Boardmember Van AuBuchon said.
Board Vice President Sid Roberts said that transportation funding is going to have to come from a lot of different pots and he reluctantly supported waiting on a possible ballot measure.
Boardmember M. Christopher Boyer reminded his colleagues that Lynnwood’s roads are in trouble and that the longer they wait, the more expensive it’s going to be for the City.
“My preference would be to go ahead (with the ballot measure),” he said.
Board President Loren Simmonds agreed not to push for a vote for a ballot measure at the meeting but told his fellow Boardmembers that they need to be thinking about a possible special election next year.
– By David Pan