Edmonds voters saying no to $40-per-year car tab fee hike

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Edmonds voters on Tuesday night were soundly defeating Proposition 1, which would have added a $40-per-year, per-vehicle registration fee to pay for for street and sidewalk improvements through the city’s Transportation Benefit District. Shortly after the polls closed, the measure was trailing with only 29 percent approval, virtually ensuring that the measure would be defeated.

Proposition 1 would have generated about $1 million annually by increasing the local vehicle registration fee from $20 to $60 per year, per vehicle, with the money used to pay for street, sidewalk and pedestrian projects.

“I am very pleased with the results tonight from the voters on Edmonds Prop. 1,” said D.J. Wilson, Edmonds City Councilmember who chaired the campaign against the measure. “Edmonds’ voters will support smart policy and wise investments in our community. Prop. 1 didn’t meet those standards.”

Transportation Benefit Districts were created by the Washington State Legislature as an option for local governments to fund transportation improvements. The City of Edmonds formed its own district, or TBD, in 2008, with the Edmonds City Council acting as the district’s independent governing board. In 2009, the Edmonds TBD board authorized an annual $2o fee on vehicle license renewals within the City of Edmonds. On July 20, 2010, the board recommended asking voters in November whether to increase the TBD license fee by an additional $40. The Edmonds City Council voted 4-3 at its Aug. 3 meeting to put the proposal on the general election ballot.

“We would like to thank Mayor Cooper, Council President Bernheim and Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis, Adrienne Fraley- Monillas and Strom Peterson for their unwavering support for Proposition 1,” said Yes on Proposition 1 campaign chair Kristiana Johnson in a statement emailed to My Edmonds News. “In these tough economic times, people voted with their pocketbooks.  It is unfortunate that they voted for short-term gains against future benefits. By saving $40 from their yearly budget, they cost the city over $1.16 million that could have been spent to improve the City’s transportation system.

“We pledge that we will continue to work with the Mayor and Council, City staff and citizen groups to develop a transportation financing plan for the City of Edmonds that is fair and equitable,” the statement said.

Now that the measure has been defeated, “there is still work to do,” Wilson said. “We continue to underfund street maintenance.  We continue to underfund parks maintenance. And we continue to underfund police services in our community. So, while I am pleased this option was soundly turned back, the Council and the community must still come to terms with some basic funding challenges faced by our community in the very near term.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. I hope serious analysis is done about why the no votes for this proposition. The TBD car tab may still be an appropriate way to to fund street maintenance, but not this proposition, at this time.

  2. Perhaps scolding the voters for shortsightedly voting with their pocketbooks is as misguided. The voters overwhelmingly rejected the Proposition. There was/is a reason that it wasn’t even close. Moving forward should include that reality. The TBD still exists and still collects $20 per year per car for street maintenance. Show us some results…..

  3. We voted no because we could not imagine bailing out the city council leadership for their years of forsaking economic growth in Edmonds. And because of their spendthrift tendencies and love of pet projects….

  4. I would have likely voted for a $20 addition but $40 with only vague plans seems too much to give to free spending. Show us some specific projects!

  5. “…people voted with their pocketbooks. It is unfortunate that they voted for short-term gains…they cost the city over $1.16 million.”

    Those are some big words from a group that got absolutely and definitively crushed at the polls.

  6. wow folks still don’t get it do they? Kristiana you sound like a very nice person and obviously are passionate about what you believe..but listen to us, the citizens and voters of this great city..especially those of us who have been here 50 plus years..don’t slap us in the face by saying we voted for short-term gains..what a ridiculous comment..your initiative got destroyed because it was poorly written and poorly presented..take responsibility and quit blaming it on others..that is exactly why the votes went the way they did on a national scale..the majority of us are tired of all the politicians and lobbyists passing the buck and not taking responsibility for their bonehead decisions..this would’ve passed w/out all your pet projects, I guarantee it..

  7. I think it’s flat wrong, and borderline insulting to Edmonds voters, to say “people voted with their pocketbooks… for short-term gains against future benefits.” The spokeswoman isn’t psychic; she doesn’t know the motives for knocking down Prop 1. But I can tell you I voted against a huge slate of mostly optional road projects, presented to us without ranking or prioritization, in take-it-or-leave-it fashion. I never heard a rationale for most of the package; I never saw the nice-to-haves separated from the got-to-haves; I never heard a case made, beyond vague declarations that we should all support whatever’s put in front of us because, you know, “it’s only $40.”

    It’s the principle of the thing. If there’s a second round for a package like this, its proponents might do well to spend more time justifying and explaining it, less time scolding voters for not falling into line,

  8. I am a DEMOCRAT! I think people should pay taxes for things they want. However, I voted against this tax because it was short-sighted and regressive. It hit the most vulnerable citizens of Edmonds at a time when we should be protecting them. I did not vote my pocket book — I VOTED MY CONSCIOUS!.

  9. $40 seems a little bit excessive. Don’t you people use ground-up xmas trees for your sidewalks anyway? Who needs concrete? You’ve got Tim Eyman’s head if you need something as hard as a 10-year-old, dried-up cowpat.

  10. Doesn’t Tim the Timwit live in Edmonds, or its periphery? Somewhere around Harbor Pointy? The elitist enclave with lots of plutocratic, steatopygous, grossly over-the-top SUVs parked in driveways? Yep… that what I thought. What a bunch of jerks.

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