As you may recall, during the last civic center campaign the City warned us that if the civic center measure did not pass, we would not be able to afford future rent payments for City Hall for very long. That time has come and we can no longer afford to pay the nearly half a million dollars on city hall rent.
Since 2008, the city has reduced staffing levels by 18 percent. Some city departments like administration have seen reductions in staff by over 30 percent. Even with these reductions, rent payments for the temporary City Hall have required the City to reduce city services–such as not fully staffing our police department. Maintenance and improvements in our 260-plus acres of parks and has also suffered.
Proposition 1 would help pay City Hall rent for four years while the community comes up with a plan for a scaled back, modest City Hall. Additionally, it would fund parks and recreation improvements and maintenance. By law, after four years, the City Hall portion of the levy lid lift would expire. The average homeowner would see an increase of about $9 per month for the first four years, and about $5 per month after four years. Of the over 20 cities in the county, Mountlake Terrace currently has the seventh-lowest property taxes. This modest increase will still keep the city with the seventh-lowest property taxes in the county.
This slight increase will help prevent more drastic cuts to essential city services such as public safety. Police and fire services account for 61 percent of our general fund dollars and Proposition 1 will help ensure that public safety can be fully funded.
VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 1 to keep our essential city services, give our police department the resources they need, keep our parks safe and usable, and allow the community to create a plan for a modest city hall.
Dustin DeKoekkoek, Mountlake Terrace resident