And now you know the rest of the story I Council Corner

By Scott Whelpley, Mukilteo City Councilmember Position 5 | Oct 25, 2017

This is my first column to all of you, which I am hoping will shine light on what could eventually occur should we decide to not support the 0.1 percent sales tax increase on the November ballot. I’m not a fan of writing letters, but as your elected official I feel it is my duty to provide you with my bottom line assessment of the situation.

Two years ago, I ran on the platform that I would do my best to utilize our current revenues (not raise taxes) needed for Mukilteo to maintain itself as a safe, vibrant, financially sound community.

Unfortunately, I find myself having to ask for and explain the consequences of what will occur if support for the 0.1 percent sales tax increase falls short.

In order to maintain our roads in their current conditions, especially with the amount of commuters that utilize our roads and police/fire services, additional revenues are needed.  Reduction of incoming REET revenues, inflation, increased costs for labor and materials requires a small increase.

Many of us live on a fixed income, make an average wage or have paid more than their fair share of taxes and are fed-up.  I understand your frustrations and concerns especially after the increases we have seen since the passage of ST3.

I’m not a fan of additional taxes, but seeing no other alternatives, I supported and pushed my fellow councilmembers strongly for this measure with the argument that by distributing some of the expense to all users, (specifically visitors and commuters), it is the fairest and most sensible way to pay for roads and not have the citizens of Mukilteo bare the brunt.

Currently, all of council wants to be good stewards of tax payer money but unfortunately for some, it comes with the ask for more dollars that don’t require voter approval.

Last year’s budget the mayor proposed a 1 percent property tax increase, which was nullified by the council. There have been motions made and supported by councilmembers to raise your car tab fees starting at $20 per vehicle (which legally could be increased to $50 in following years), which again was voted down by a majority of the council.

There are current candidates that have clearly stated they support property tax increases (which could equal tax revenues of over $350K).  I am certain that if we do not pass this proposal, there will be other attempts made to raise your car tabs and property taxes that will NOT NEED VOTER APPROVAL.

With your help in supporting this initiative (0.1 cent for every $10 dollars spent) coupled with significant cuts to the budget, we would have the revenues needed to construct and maintain our sidewalks, bike paths and repair and maintain current road conditions.

Bottom line, Mukilteo will be spared the excuse for additional car tab fees and property tax increases. This sales tax increase would only be valid for 10 years and then expire approximately about the same time Rosehill’s bond payments will be completed, potentially allowing us to utilize the one million dollar a year bond payment towards our transportation needs and other capital projects.

In conclusion, I can assure you that as long as I am one of your councilmembers I will fight against additional car tab fees and property tax increases, however if we do not support this ballot initiative come November, I cannot promise you that I will be able to continue to persuade others to what the majority of us do not want and what is best for all of us.

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