Local elected officials sign letter requesting proposed tax increase for affordable housing be put to public vote

Elected officials from the cities of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and the Town of Woodway are among the 58 names included on a letter sent to the Snohomish County Council and County Executive Dave Somers asking a proposed 0.1% sales tax increase set to be considered by the council Wednesday instead be placed on an upcoming ballot for a public vote.

Among those signing from the 20 jurisdictions are Brier Mayor Dale Kaemingk and Brier City Councilmembers Mike Gallagher, Martin Krienke and Dennis Nick; Edmonds City Councilmember Diane Buckshnis; Lynnwood City Councilmembers Julia Altamirano-Crosby, Patrick Crosby, George Hurst, Ruth Ross, Shannon Sessions and Jim Smith; Mountlake Terrace City Councilmember Bryan Wahl and Woodway Mayor Mike Quinn.

In the letter, officials state they have “grave concerns” regarding the proposal to increase the countywide sales and use tax for affordable housing. “While we share the desire to address affordable housing issues in our county, the process, as it stands is irresponsible and will erode trust with our shared constituents,” the letter said. “As residents and local businesses continue to recover from the economic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is not the time to increase their tax burden,” the letter added.

According to District 1 County Councilmember Nate Nehring’s office, since the proposal was introduced, the county council has received hundreds of emails from concerned residents regarding the sales tax increase. This highlights the significant public interest in this proposal and provides additional justification for placing it on an upcoming ballot for voters to have their say, Nehring’s office said in a news release.

“By sending this to the ballot, we can instead demonstrate that we truly care about transparency and public input by giving the voters a voice,” Nehring said.

The county council is set to hold a public hearing and then vote on the sales tax increase Wednesday, Dec. 15 starting at 10:30 a.m. meeting. An amendment to send the proposal to the ballot for a public vote will be considered as well.

The meeting will be broadcast via Zoom:

Zoom Webinar link: https://zoom.us/j/94846850772

Dial in: (253) 215 8782 or (301) 715 8592

Meeting ID: 948 4685 0772

The public may provide public comment remotely during the meeting, or submit by email to the council clerk at contact.council@snoco.org.

    1. Thank you Ms. Buckschnis from Edmonds and all the elected officials on this list who stepped up. Wish we had more like you.

  1. So none of the other affordable housing schemes worked? Do the elected officials have ADU’s in their yard? Why-why not?

  2. My Edmonds councilfolks do not speak for me when they ask that my taxes be increased.

    Instead, find a way to prioritize the use of the overly adequate levels of income you are already taking from us!

  3. Verdant added housing to the priorities they are funding and raised our property tax through a levy increase just a couple months ago. How many more governments are going to tax us? Can we get a list of all of the taxes we are paying for homelessness?

  4. Thank you CM Buckshnis and all those voters’ representatives who signed this letter, for respecting the democratic process and your constituents. We, the citizens of Snohomish County, have the right to decide on the (ever) increase in our taxes, and vote on investments and any expenditures made with our tax $$$.

    It is infuriating that this tax is being levied before many communities have established the groundwork on “affordable housing” that at this point does not look affordable. We don’t know how these funds will be used, because we were not shown pricing, number of units, etc. Mark my words, this will increase to 2% ( and beyond) easily, because there will be “unforeseen expenses”, etc.

    I find it interesting that most people who participated in the upzoning /housing committees, told people that this tax was already in place, and that all we had to do was access the funds ( which would have been even MORE dishonest to the voters).
    We want to vote on this, not just be faced with a bill. We want to make informed decisions, and for that we need to see impact statements on what these additional buildups through the county mean to our roads, schools, traffic, and last but not least, our pocketbooks.

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