MLT mayor hints at another Civic Center bond issue in February

By Doug Petrowski

With Proposition 1, the Mountlake Terrace Civic Center bond measure, apparently going down in defeat, Mayor Jerry Smith said Wednesday night that residents can expect to have another bond issue to consider come the Feb. 12, 2013 ballot.

“We’re going to be back in February, I guarantee it,” Smith said. “I think the council all agrees on that.”

The latest results from the Aug. 7 vote on Proposition 1 show 56.7 percent voting yes and 43.3 percent voting no, with 60 percent approval necessary for passage. The election results are to be certified on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

Passage of Proposition 1 would authorize the city to raise $25 million for the construction of a new civic center that would include a new city hall building, a new community/senior center, an expansion of the police station, upgrades to the library, and usable green space around the campus.

With the measure facing defeat, city officials will have to decide whether to pursue the issue again, or continue to pay rent for city offices. Interim City Hall is currently located on the second floor of the Redstone Building, 6100-219th St. S.W. The city claims that the funds used to meet rent payments for the space are gone in mid-2014, and a new funding source will need to be found. That most likely would be an increase in property taxes.

“You’ve got to vote for the Civic Campus or you’re going to have to vote for a (property) tax levy lift,” Smith said.

The city may put both a capital bond measure and a proposed property tax increase on the February ballot, Smith added. The bond measure would be another attempt to raise funds for a new civic center; the property tax levy lift would be to finance the continued rental of office space for an interim city hall.

Smith expressed frustration with the current state of securing space for city offices and the funding to necessary for it. If the base property tax rate is raised, “you’re going to be paying (more in) taxes than we ever asked under a bond issue,” he said. “We just didn’t get all that information out right.”

The Mountlake Terrace City Council has until Dec. 28 to notify the county that it would like to put a bond measure, a property tax levy lift or both on the Feb. 12, 2013 ballot.

  1. As predicted, the mayor is openly attempting to coerce voters with misinformation.

    The mayor is wrong that citizens have to vote for either a tax increase to fund construction of a new civic campus or a tax increase for the continuing payment of rent.  Voters do not ever “have to” accept one bad idea just because it is better than an even worse one.

    The mayor was confident that the measure, which just failed, would pass.  Now he’s mad because people didn’t roll over and do what they were told.  He can defianty guarantee they wil be back in February.  He cannot guarantee that voters will find the amount of either tax increase acceptable.

    They can lower their expectations to what would be affordable to taxpayers.  Or they can be stuck on a package concept which costs more than we can afford.  Come back in November, February, May or August, but understand that getting to YES is going to take a while if you come back with the same package and the same tax increase – or more.

  2. Margaret_Loiseau, what outcome would be satisfactory to you, recognizing that city government must be housed somewhere at some cost?

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