Local elected officials sign letter requesting proposed tax increase for affordable housing be put to public vote

Elected officials from the cities of Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and the Town of Woodway are among the 58 names included on a letter sent to the Snohomish County Council and County Executive Dave Somers asking a proposed 0.1% sales tax increase set to be considered by the council Wednesday instead be placed on an upcoming ballot for a public vote.

Among those signing from the 20 jurisdictions are Brier Mayor Dale Kaemingk and Brier City Councilmembers Mike Gallagher, Martin Krienke and Dennis Nick; Edmonds City Councilmember Diane Buckshnis; Lynnwood City Councilmembers Julia Altamirano-Crosby, Patrick Crosby, George Hurst, Ruth Ross, Shannon Sessions and Jim Smith; Mountlake Terrace City Councilmember Bryan Wahl and Woodway Mayor Mike Quinn.

In the letter, officials state they have “grave concerns” regarding the proposal to increase the countywide sales and use tax for affordable housing. “While we share the desire to address affordable housing issues in our county, the process, as it stands is irresponsible and will erode trust with our shared constituents,” the letter said. “As residents and local businesses continue to recover from the economic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is not the time to increase their tax burden,” the letter added.

According to District 1 County Councilmember Nate Nehring’s office, since the proposal was introduced, the county council has received hundreds of emails from concerned residents regarding the sales tax increase. This highlights the significant public interest in this proposal and provides additional justification for placing it on an upcoming ballot for voters to have their say, Nehring’s office said in a news release.

“By sending this to the ballot, we can instead demonstrate that we truly care about transparency and public input by giving the voters a voice,” Nehring said.

The county council is set to hold a public hearing and then vote on the sales tax increase Wednesday, Dec. 15 starting at 10:30 a.m. meeting. An amendment to send the proposal to the ballot for a public vote will be considered as well.

The meeting will be broadcast via Zoom:

Zoom Webinar link: https://zoom.us/j/94846850772

Dial in: (253) 215 8782 or (301) 715 8592

Meeting ID: 948 4685 0772

The public may provide public comment remotely during the meeting, or submit by email to the council clerk at contact.council@snoco.org.

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