As Aug. 7 vote on MLT Civic Center approaches, pro and con citizens committees ramp up efforts

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The YES Committee poses for a picture in April.
No on Prop. 1 signs are springing up across MLT.

By Doug Petrowski

Two Mountlake Terrace-based citizen committees are starting their push to convince voters to vote either for or against Proposition 1, the $25 million capital bond issue appearing on the Aug. 7 primary election ballot.

If approved by voters, funds collected from an increase in property taxes would go toward building a new Civic Center that would house city hall offices, a new community/senior center, an expanded police station, outdoor space for community events and a new roof for the library. Design work would start right after election results are certified, construction would start in 2013, and property taxes would rise in beginning in 2014.

Political signs have been popping up around Mountlake Terrace stating “Vote NO on Prop. 1” and “No new taxes.” The signs are from an organization calling themselves Citizens Against Prop. 1, and their message is that the burden of additional taxes upon local residents is becoming too much.

“Citizens Against Prop. 1 is made up of a group of concerned Mountlake Terrace residents who believe that the City of Mountlake Terrace has pushed the envelope,” said Margaret Loiseau, group member. “Since December, the city council has raised the utility tax, implemented the TBD [Transportation Benefit District] tax, and now has the Proposition 1 tax on the ballot for the Aug. 7 election.”

(Starting this month a $20 additional fee has been added to the cost of buying car tabs for vehicles registered in Mountlake Terrace in order to fund street and utility upgrades in the city’s Transportation Benefit District. The TBD includes the downtown area of 56th Avenue West between 224th and 236th Streets Southwest and 236th Street west to I-5.)

The group hopes to continue spreading their message of opposition to Proposition 1 through word-of-mouth and the media.

The YES Campaign for Mountlake Terrace Civic Center formed in April and quickly published a brochure stating reasons to support the proposition. The group regularly sends out press releases to local media, and it keeps up a strong online presence with a YESforMLT.com website and a corresponding Facebook page.

“I am so excited and anxious for Proposition 1 to pass so we can move forward with our new Civic Center,” YES Campaign leader Bonnie Mercer posted recently. “It will finally start the revitalization of our downtown and bring all our city services to one location for easy access.”

City officials, led by City Manager John Caulfield, have given a number of public “Civic Center 101” presentations over the past two months that outline the bond issue and the building project that would follow if voters approve. Now that those scheduled presentations have ended, residents may begin to hear more from the campaign committees themselves.

With ballots arriving in voters’ mailboxes starting next week, both groups are expected to step up their efforts to get their messages out.

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