MLT City Council expected to OK $25 million Civic Center bond issue for August ballot

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By Doug Petrowski

The Mountlake Terrace City Council is expected to place a $25 million municipal bond issue on the August 7 ballot with a vote at their council meeting Monday, April 2. The bond measure would require 60-percent approval from voters and would raise funds to build a 31,950-square-foot Civic Center that would house City Hall offices, a new police station and a new community/senior activities center for Mountlake Terrace.

Repayment of the general obligation bonds would require a raise in residentsí property taxes beginning in 2014. For the first year, taxes would go up $7.42 per month for the average home in Mountlake Terrace; starting in 2015 property taxes would increase $11.59 per month for the average home for the remainder of the 30-year bond.

The tentative plans for a new Civic Center would also include $145,000 of improvements to the Mountlake Terrace library building and an amphitheater, a spray fountain and an ornamental garden at the Civic Center campus at 58th Avenue West and 232nd Street Southwest.

The City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. at Interim City Hall, 6100-219th St. SW, Suite 200. A time for public comment is included in the agenda.

4 COMMENTS

  1. So, if my math is correct (and it’s not my strongest skill) this works out to a total of $4122 per average home over the course of 30 years. It’s more affordable than the last option, but is it the best we can do?

    Where can we find more information about what the new civic campus will offer in the way of public meeting space, senior center space (is this space fully dedicated to the seniors – or will they have to compete for use?), and other general use space? The police station is dated, but I haven’t seen anything that explains why a new space is critically important.

    • Elaine, looks like your math is good. You should also consider a couple of other variables:

      1) Property tax is deductible. If you say the average home owner is in the 28% tax bracket, which most are, this brings the real cost down form $11.59 to $8.34 and from $4,200 to $3,000 for the life of the project.

      2) As more development occurs in Mountlake Terrace this cost will be spread around, reducing the per home owner cost even more.

      I think a lot of people will have similar questions about the design. At this point only a conceptual design has been done and the actual design of the facilities can’t be done until funding is in place. Citizens will have opportunities to chime in with their thoughts during the design process.

      There is a group of citizens that have formed a Yes campaign for the potential ballot measure. The web site is http://YESforMLT.com and a full web site will be launching soon.

  2. Thanks Dustin, I wasn’t taking the tax deduction into account.

    I think the next logical question is what else can we expect to need to fund in the next 15-20 years? What updates will the Pavilion need? Will the updates planned to the library be enough to carry it 20 years, or will we need to build a new one before then? Basically, what else will we likely be adding to our property taxes while we are paying for the Civic Center?

    • The Library was built in 1988 so it may be able to last until the Civic Center is paid off (30 years). There are funds in the Civic Center plan to replace the Library’s roof. The Recreation Pavilion is already almost 45 years old so there is a good chance that will need to be replaced while the Civic Center is being paid off.

      Fortunately us homeowners in Mountlake Terrace have some of the lowest property taxes in Snohomish County and the additional $11.59/month doesn’t really change that. Increasing taxes should never be taken lightly. We are currently spending close to $500,000 a year to rent space for the Interim City Hall and I think a better use of that money would be to build a permanent facility the community owns instead of sending a check to someone in New York City.

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