After a public hearing at tonight’s Special Meeting, the City Council approved an ordinance authorizing a Safe Streets and Sidewalks ballot measure for the Nov. 8, 2016 general election. The measure would present voters with the option of a nine-year property tax increase (“levy lid lift”) of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed value ($188 per year for the median home value of $376,000).
“The Safe Streets and Sidewalks measure, at $16/month for an owner of a median home, is the best way to catch up with and stay ahead of the changes facing the Bothell community," said Mayor Andy Rheaume. "Doing nothing is simply not an option.”
Interim City Manager Bob Jean agreed, adding, "$16 a month prevents a lot of bad and does a lot of good.”
What would the measure fund?
• Day-to-day street operations, such as pothole and sidewalk repair, and road maintenance;
• Pavement preservation to improve the overall condition of collector and principal arterials and slow the declining condition of neighborhood streets;
• Sidewalk construction on arterials, prioritizing safe school walk routes, and curb ramps for people with disabilities and
• Crosswalk construction, prioritizing safe school walk routes.
The Safe Streets and Sidewalks measure responds to the community’s needs and requests for increased services. The City survey and public input show that safe streets and sidewalks are top priorities for Bothell residents. Bothell families have asked for improvements to roadways, sidewalks and safe routes to schools. Council is focusing on streets and sidewalks because they are urgent issues, with a real funding crisis.
About $1.2 million per year (in 2015 dollars) for streets maintenance and operations has been cut since 1999. Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes were last collected in 1999, Local Vehicle License Fees were last collected in 2002, and Street Light Fees were last collected in 2009. Yet the City has annexed significant areas, added infrastructure to respond to the community’s vision (Crossroads, Bothell-Everett Highway, etc.), and managed conservatively during the Great Recession. The City maintains an Aa2 credit rating, noted by Moody’s Local Government Issuer Comment Report as a “very strong” credit position.
How to get involved
On July 19, the Council is scheduled to appoint committees to write "pro" and "con" statements that will appear in the local voters' pamphlet. Those who are interested should apply by 5 p.m. July 11.
Applicants should submit a letter of interest indicating their support or opposition to the ballot measure and explaining why they are interested in serving as a committee member. Include your name, street address, telephone number, and email address, to:
City of Bothell
Attn: City Clerk
18415 101st Avenue NE
Bothell, WA 98011
Or via e-mail to Laura Hathaway, Laura.Hathaway@bothellwa.gov