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The nature of public safety work has increased in complexity. The growing opioid crisis and a related rise in property crime are part of the challenge. Law enforcement officers are often called to respond to incidents involving drugs, mental health, homelessness and other social issues. Less known, but equally important is the impact of outdated facilities and equipment.
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Proposition 1 is an operations levy that will fund new police officers, firefighters and services. Proposition 2 is a bond that will fund the tear-down and replacement of two fire stations.
Voters will decide on the measures in the November 2018 general election.
Bothell public safety services include police, fire, emergency medical and municipal court services. The City’s general fund pays for these services at an annual cost of approximately $29 million. A total of 162 dedicated public service professionals provide services to Bothell residents every day, year-round. Facilities and equipment includes three fire stations, one police station, the municipal court, response vehicles, fire engines, aid cars and motorcycles.
Proposition 1: Public Safety Levy Lid Lift funds staffing, operating and program needs, including including 13 police officers, 5 civilians in the police department, 6 firefighters, 1 probation officer and 2 support staff and 9 support vehicles.
The levy investment is approximately $220 per year on a $500,000 home.
Proposition 2: Public Safety Capital Bond funds the rebuilding of two outdated fire stations (Downtown and Canyon Park; 38 and 33 years old respectively) allowing safety upgrades, technical modernization and energy efficiency to accommodate current and long-term emergency fire, medical, and rescue response needs. The new fire station at Canyon Park would include a police satellite office to serve residents of north Bothell.
The bond investment is approximately $130 per year on a $500,000 home.
The nature of law enforcement and emergency response has changed and increased in complexity over the last two decades. Increasing drug use, homelessness, mental illness, theft and school safety challenges; and aging fire stations and equipment are straining the City’s ability to deliver critical police and fire services.
Based on public engagement and a detailed assessment of public safety resources and needs, the Bothell City Council developed propositions to support the following public safety priorities:
Under state law, taxing districts, like the City of Bothell, are limited to a 1% annual increase in property taxes. The law’s intent is for cities to ask their voters to prioritize service levels they feel are important for their communities.
The cost of delivering basic police and fire services is increasing at a higher rate than 1% per year. Simply put, Bothell’s incoming tax revenues don’t keep up with essential police and fire service costs. In addition, to ease the tax burden on residents until the economy recovered after the Great Recession, the City did not take the allowed 1% property tax increase between 2007-2012. Therefore, the City had to spend down reserves to maintain current public safety service levels.
While additional tax revenue generated by new construction is added to the City’s tax roll each year, these new development revenues are related to increases in resident and daytime employment populations, thereby adding to the population served and resulting in more public safety calls for service. Plus, new challenges such as the opioid epidemic, homelessness, increased law enforcement requirements, etc. are further straining current police and fire service delivery.
City of Bothell leadership is committed to properly maintaining city-owned facilities to ensure longevity and best value to Bothell residents. If voters approve Proposition 2 to rebuild two fire stations (Downtown and Canyon Park), analysis shows additional staff is needed to properly maintain the new LEED-certified facilities and modern systems. The new stations will also add approximately 25,000 square feet to accommodate current and future fire and emergency response needs. Additional space requires additional maintenance.
Registered voters in the City of Bothell will see Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 on the general election ballot this fall, mailed in mid-October. Ballots are due Nov. 6.
Proposition 1: Public Safety Levy Lid Lift is a 12-year proposal.
Proposition 2: Public Safety Capital Bond is a 20-year bond.
No, the funds will only be used to maintain and improve police, fire, emergency response and municipal court programs and services. Levy funds will address traffic enforcement, school safety, emergency medical response and active crime reduction. Bond funds will rebuild and modernize two fire stations.
Attend City Council meetings (or watch live on UStream and posted on YouTube).