Ballots due Tuesday for Stanwood voters on tax increase

STANWOOD — Ballots are due Tuesday from Stanwood voters, who will decide whether the sales tax should be raised within the city limits in order to pay for street work.

The city is proposing a 0.2 percentage point increase in the sales tax. For example, people who spend $10 would expect to pay an extra 2 cents of sales tax into the city’s transportation fund. The current sales tax rate is 8.6 percent.

Stanwood previously had been taking money out of its capital reserves for street repair projects. The City Council decided that, with sales tax and gas tax revenues in decline, there needed to be a more sustainable revenue for street work.

The council considered instead the imposition of a $20 vehicle tab fee, which did not require the OK from voters. However, the burden of street maintenance would have fallen to the city’s 6,500 residents instead of distributing the responsibility to include the thousands of other people who daily drive through Stanwood on their ways to schools, services and businesses, city officials said.

The city expects that the proposed sales and use tax would generate about $200,000 a year for the city’s transportation benefit district, with a portion of the revenue going to street projects and the rest going to repay bonds that previously funded street repair.

More information is on the city website under Transportation Benefit District, www.ci.stanwood.wa.us.

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