Mountlake Terrace’s General Fund has always subsidized Recreation. That is an issue now because the General Fund’s healthy surplus of $5 million has been steadily depleted over the last 10 years by unnecessary spending. We never needed to pay city hall rent. We also don’t need paid lobbyists and an economic development coordinator. How much of our current revenue “crisis” is a result of these failed choices? All of it!
Our residential tax base is incapable of sustaining the grandiose vision of these last 10 years. The promises that revenues from new development would pay for itself and more were never true.
Begging for new taxes from their neighbors, our leaders now admit this. And the voter’s brochure makes a new promise – this new money is a gateway to a “modest” city hall. That should mean affordable. The 2007 budget included a $6 million option before the old city hall was demolished. That’s affordable. Had that been on the ballot, this discussion would be moot. We don’t need a $20 million city hall!
Modesty would be recognizing we are a community of modest means living in modest homes. Our property taxes are lower than most because our property values are lower than most.
Why would voters give leaders who squandered our carefully acquired surplus even more money to waste? Anyone voting for a temporary tax for city hall rent in hopes of future modesty is fooling themselves, which is exactly what the proponents expect.
Leonard French, Mountlake Terrace resident