City council April 18 to consider proposal to double Edmonds car tab fee

Among the items being considered during the Tuesday, April 18 Edmonds City Council meeting is a proposal by the city’s public works and utilities department to double the vehicle license fee — from $20 to $40 annually — that the city charges Edmonds residents.

Washington state law gives cities the authority to establish transportation benefit districts (TBDs) to impose a car tab fee, with the money designated for transportation improvements. The City of Edmonds formed its own district in 2008, with the Edmonds City Council acting as the district’s independent governing board. In 2009, the Edmonds TBD board authorized an annual $20 fee on vehicle license renewals within the City of Edmonds.

The agenda memo accompanying Tuesday’s draft resolution says that the additional money generated by the fee increase would be used to cover the city’s rising street maintenance and operating costs. “The number of traffic control devices has increased along with a deteriorating infrastructure due to less than recommended investment in the pavement preservation program,” the memo states. “Investment at the right time is critical to maximize the effectiveness of limited funds. When timely investments are made, infrastructure conditions stabilize and costs to maintain and preserve remain low. ”

The memo also cites “a higher demand to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety, noting that in the last five years, two traffic lights and pedestrian signal improvements in 30 locations have been added. These systems require maintenance, repair and replacement in future years.”

Also on the council agenda for Tuesday night:

– Discussion of a memorandum of understanding between the Washington State Department of Transportation and the City of Edmonds aimed at guiding acquisition of the Unocal property next to the Edmonds Marsh,

– A proposed contract for $67,793 with KPG Psomas for design work on the 4th Avenue Cultural Corridor Project.

– An April 2023 budget amendment ordinance

– The results of a comparator cities survey performed by the council’s City Attorney Assessment Subcommittee. The survey is part of the council’s work to determine what  type of city attorney services Edmonds should have beyond 2023.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, Public Safety Complex, 250 5th Ave. N. in downtown Edmonds. You can also view it virtual and offer public comment via this Zoom meeting link:
Or comment by phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261

Regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the Council Meeting webpage (where you can also view the full agenda), Comcast channel 21, and Ziply channel 39.

Prior to the 7 p.m. meeting, the council will meet at 6:25 p.m. to interview a candidate for the Suster City Commission, followed by an executive session to discuss pending or potential litigation.

  1. “OMG” and so it begins. I am still waiting for my 30 dollar tabs which our government fought the will of the people to fund their “Desires”, how broken are we when we ignore the will of the people in favor of government priorities? I don’t know am I the only one “over” government implementing there will regardless of voters? “No” there should be no increase expect for those that don’t already pay a fuel tax plus the states new tax that will be, what 50 cents a gallon on fuel. Let me put it like this. There should be no increase in taxation to anyone at this point. How much blood/tax should one have to give to exist in society? Guess I will have to go from every 2 years to 3 because of this new tax. I used to pay every year until you invalidated my vote. “SMH”.

  2. Here we go again. Edmond’s is becoming, or may already have become what we used to make fun of “tax-a-chusetts” – anything in Massachusetts, whether it moved or not, was fixed or mobile, was old or new or was just created was “taxed,” regardless of what the voters wanted. Is this uncontrolled appetite for more money going to be stopped?? I thought our wonderful town had a surplus of funds?

    1. As a Citizen of Edmonds, I must demand that the people myself and my fellow Citizens voted to represent us deny this insane (and possibly illegal) money grab. These folks really need to understand they work for us and DOUBLING a so called ‘tax’ is not in the best interest of tge Citizens of Edmonds. I also must demand these representatives of the people ensure the City manages their budget to ensure our tax dollars are being spent in a responsible way so shortfalls are avoided.
      I also want to know how ‘they’ can say one month that the City’s coffers are full and they are proud that there is a surplus, then a couple months later say they have to double tab tax so they can repair the streets. Something is fishy here.

  3. I wonder since law enforcement is no longer enforcing expired tabs how many will just not renew.

  4. I agree with Jim Fairchild. Also, with the amount of money we pay for our property taxes and the increase yearly, what is that money being spent on, it seems to me that is what that money should be used for. Not only our roads, but we should be investing in more snow removal equipment or set money aside to use to hire local snowplows to plow the side streets in Edmonds. I am a nurse and I often cannot drive to work because our side streets have never seen a plow, that is wrong. You in our city government have a responsibility to see that these matters are taken care of first, rather than acquiring the $67793 it will take to do design work on the cultural corridor project.

    1. Agreed Barbara. They could also NOT replace the entire fleet of city vehicles! I seriously doubt all of those vehicles are in such bad shape that they must be replaced.
      I am starting to think that ‘they’ are trying to force older Residents out of Edmonds by making it too expensive to live here, so they can then turn all of those single family homes into complexes to double the tax base.

  5. It is outrageous that, during an election year and in the midst of a recession, the city is proposing a doubling of a flat tax on all vehicles regardless of their value. This proposal ignores the fact that many families and seniors are already struggling due to high inflation and increased costs of living. While those with Lamborghinis and low-end Teslas may be able to pay this tax with ease, those who can least afford it will be hit the hardest. It’s hypocritical that the city claims to prioritize social equity but is willing to impose a regressive tax increase without any input from taxpayers. Instead of punishing those who rely on their cars, the city should focus on providing affordable alternatives and finding more equitable ways to generate revenue.

  6. The request to double local vehicle tab fees can only be attributed to financial mismanagement by Mayor Nelson and his administration. This proves that it’s time to elect new smart leadership that is more prudent and financially

    1. That wonderful photo of Mayor Nelson and his family enjoying a Japanese meal while on taxpayer funded ( for the Mayor) trip to Japan tells the story.
      The City is doing well financially. $1.2M for an open space that is barely useable? How many millions for Civic park? Including cost over runs? How much in legal fees so far for the ridiculous walkway fight with the EbbTide? Costs of heating way up (with an additional local tax of 3.5% and 6%), interest rates way up, utility costs way up, eggs, diapers… Proposed tree fees, and split lots to increase property taxes on the land. Good grief.
      At least in an election year one can see from the Public Disclosure Filings exactly how much the “social equity” crowd makes and is worth (appointed folks don’t file). High net worth individuals all, save the Mayor and perhaps Ms. Nand. Cake anyone?

  7. How about fencing off all special events venues, think arts festival and Taste of Edmonds, charging a fair admission for Edmonds residents but a substantial “tax” for non-Edmonds attendees.

    1. Lawrence –
      As a long-time Edmonds Arts Festival attendee (and the daughter of a former Arts Festival artist), I respectively disagree with your suggestion. The Edmonds Arts Festival has been going on for 60+ years, with no fair admission for any attendees (local or non-Edmonds residents), and it should remain that way. The field is already fenced. Neighboring streets shouldn’t be fenced off. Parking is fine if you know when to go and where to look for parking. Or, park at one of the shuttle lots and take the shuttle… it runs every 20 minutes or so. Or better yet, if you live close enough, leave your car at home and walk to the festival. I live about 2 miles away. I know when to go to find parking but have also utilized one of the shuttle lots, taken the bus or just walked to the festival.
      The festival artists used to park their vehicles at Civic Field but that’s no longer an option. I’m not sure where the artists are parking but it’s definitely not on the streets right by the Frances Anderson Center. They rely on festival volunteers to shuttle them to/from the off-site parking location.

  8. How many add on taxes can people afford? could this break the camels back?
    how do “WE” say no?

    1. Well here is the tired old line for you…VOTE. The Mayoral and the CC elections may be the most important ever for the future of Edmonds. Will we be a bathtub drain as it circles down to a sewer? Or will we be a giant granite rock we all get behind and push together up a hill? Whatever you do Edmonds, don’t stick your heads in the sand anymore. It’s too late to pretend this isn’t happening, our financial situation, our crime situation, so much more! I will pay that 20 bucks extra THIS TIME. But maybe we should have it so that if you LIVE in Edmonds and make under 30,000. a year you can skip it. 2 cars 2 incomes I think we can handle 40 bucks this year! This would ease the pain a lot for many.

  9. As long as we have a city government that puts desired special interest “wants” well ahead of for the good of all “needs”; nothing is going to get better here. Any Strong mayor we elect is going to push pet projects and his/her visions of an ever grander Edmonds over just efficiently running the town. Power is intoxicating.

    1. Yep, Clint is correct we have seen what the intoxication of power can do in many ways all over our world. A mayors pet projects should be in the interest of every citizen not just his/her friends and those who have their same ideals. This goes both ways R or D. I also think maybe we shouldn’t vote for people who have jobs or serve on boards where there is a lot of conflict of interest amongst the citizens. I haven’t got around to reading the City Manager Idea Clint seems to like. I intend to read up on this today. I am not saying I want it but I do want to know the cons to a city manager over a strong mayor?? Clint. Tell me some stuff.

  10. It is outrageous the council would even consider this regressive tax that mostly hurts low income, seniors and retirees. If you own a new BMW (as example) you would pay the same as a senior who drives a 25 year old car.
    Council has always reviewed and said no, why now? Just do the right thing and vote no.

  11. A proposal to double the tab fee tax at this time is beyond tone-deaf. How about shelving the KPG Psomas/Cultural Corridor Project contract – for now (the cost of that contract is the equivalent of the proposed tab fee increase for almost 3,400 vehicles), and holding the line on your spending – for now? Holding the line on spending – “for now” – is not a big ask in these times. Respectfully.

    1. This is so nicely put. Ya know Paul I think we hire way too many consultants, advisers, and on and on. I think we should hire the best to begin with the people with knowledge who don’t need all of these extra ideas and opinions and possibly some of these chosen are not exactly Bi Partisan either. Too many cooks in the kitchen, the chefs get grumpy, the waitstaff is frustrated, and the customers may not return.

      1. “Too many cooks in the kitchen, the chefs get grumpy, the waitstaff is frustrated, and the customers may not return.”

  12. No, No, No, stop with the increases, the water bill increase and property tax increase (value driven) and, and… talk about bad timing, just the increase in car values has raised the annual fee considerably already. Where is all the real estate excise windfall from the past few years. How about $5.00 increase and wait for inflation to settle down, this increase only causes more inflation to some degree.

  13. My fees this year were $547, $424 of which was for the RTA. These fees are getting ridiculous. I moved from Seattle in 2007. One of the reasons were the ridiculous car tabs used to pay for the extension of the monorail that never happened. No more fees.

  14. Look at all the comments against the increase in the car tabs. And will our elected officials listen to their constituents? They haven’t in the past, should we presume they will now? Personally, I think they have all forgotten who they work for! I do wonder where all of our tax money goes?

  15. NO NO NO….Please stop bleeding us residents ………..We are struggling as it is with property taxes driving us out!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.