At Monday night’s City Council work session the City Council voted 6-0 to put a levy to fund the civic campus on the November 2010 ballot.
Since the 1980’s the issue of a new civic campus has been studied by Mountlake Terrace City Councils while the old civic campus gradually aged and deteriorated. In 2008, an 11 member Citizen Task Force was formed to provide recommendations and get input from the community as to what they wanted in a new civic campus. After many public meetings and touring existing Mountlake Terrace and regional civic facilities, recommendations were made and a preliminary design was put together by an outside firm. A levy was recommended as the funding mechanism because the city could not pay for the new campus with existing revenue streams.
Also in 2008, the ceiling in the city council chambers collapsed. The old city hall was deemed unsafe, was recently demolished and City offices and council chambers are now being leased in the Melody Hill neighborhood.
The original estimate for the civic campus was around $40 million. Current economic conditions have created a very competitive bidding climate and have driven construction costs down and the current conservative estimate for the project is around $34.5-$37.5 million.
The city staff and council understand that because of the economic conditions, there is a paradox: an excellent bidding environment but property owners who are more and more concerned about personal finances. Their solution is to pay interest only on the 30-year bond for several years, which will minimize the initial increase in property tax with the hopes that the economy will recover. The impact on an average property owner in Mountlake Terrace would be minimal in 2011 and gradually increase to just under $20/month after 2014. This additional property tax would be deductible, effectively making it around $15/month of after tax dollars. These numbers may change slightly as things are finalized.
In the coming weeks the details of the ballot measure will be finalized and on May 17th the City Council will formally vote on a resolution in support of the ballot measure.
For more information, listen to Monday (April 29) night’s City Council meeting online at CityofMLT.com.
This is likely going to be a hot topic this summer and fall as the city council works to gain public support. There is no better place to keep up to date and to voice your opinion than MLTnews.com.