A chance to have your say Tuesday as city council holds hearings on property tax, utility rate hikes

city-of-edmonds-logoCitizens will have an opportunity to make their opinions known on a range of city proposals during four public hearings at the Tuesday, Nov. 15 Edmonds City Council meeting.

The council has also set aside time for public comment on recommendations by an advisory task force for addressing access across Edmonds’ two at-grade rail crossings along the downtown waterfront.

Topics for the public hearings include:

– A proposed 1 percent increase in property taxes. Under state law, in order to raise property taxes by 1 percent, the council needed to pass a resolution stating there is “a substantial need” for the increase. Last year the council was unable to field the super majority necessary to pass such an increase, and ended up unanimously approving the allowable rate of .251 percent, tied to the national inflation rate.

– The 2017 proposed city budget.

– A proposal to transfer legal responsibility for the city’s Transportation Benefit District (TBD) to the city itself. The TBD has been a separate legal entity from the City of Edmonds, with city councilmembers also serving as TBD board members. However, recent changes in state law now allow jurisdictions to control their own TBDs directly. The TBD would see no changes in boundaries or oversight with the proposed ordinance as the district is presently made up of the same geographic boundaries as the city and its governing body is the Edmonds City Council.

– A proposal to raise utility rates — water, sewer and storm water — with the goal of addressing rising operating and maintenance costs, including wholesale cost increases for water purchased from the Alderwood Water and Wastewater District and the replacement of failing water/sewer/storm infrastructure. Under the proposal, an average combined monthly utility bill would rise from $103.28 currently to $132.25 in the next three years. The rate increases would also allow the city to fund its maintenance with generated income rather than debt, saving the city approximately $50 million in interest over time.  The proposal also includes a five-year reduction in the water utility tax rate due to a change in state law.

Also on the council agenda for Tuesday night:

– A presentation from Snohomish County Health District representatives on efforts by other cities to support the health district’s budget shortfall.

– A closed record review on a proposal by the City of Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department for a setback variance to replace a play structure at the Meadowdale Clubhouse located at 6801 North Meadowdale Road.

– Approval of resolution of intent to vacate approximately 375 feet of right-of-way on 92nd Avenue West located adjacent to Westgate Church property along Edmonds Way.

– Discussion of a proposed changes in city development fees.

The meeting will begin an hour earlier than normal — at 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. — in the Council Chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N. You can see the complete agenda here.

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