Everett council to discuss tax increases

EVERETT — City leaders plan to talk tonight about raising taxes and fees.

A briefing slated for the 6:30 p.m. City Council meeting continues a debate about how best to shore up Everett’s long-term financial prospects. The location is 3002 Wetmore Ave.

The potential hikes could raise the city’s 4.5 percent utility tax on telephone, electricity and natural gas bills. Everett does not currently impose a tax on garbage service or cable, but could consider doing so.

Other potential revenue sources include higher bus fares or charging more than the city’s existing $10 one-time fee to obtain a business license. The city also could impose a $20 car-tab fee, as other municipalities in the state have done, by forming a transportation benefit district.

Another option is charging developers more money to compensate for traffic impacts.

Without changes to the way Everett does business, administrators predict a $13 million deficit in next year’s city budget. That figure could expand to $21 million by 2018.

During last week’s council meeting, staff discussed potential cuts to city programs and services.

People will have the chance to comment during additional meetings scheduled between now and the end of May.

After receiving feedback, Mayor Ray Stephanson hopes to finalize a budget strategy in June. The mayor says he avoided raising fees or cutting programs after the recession hit more than six years ago, but that his administration has run out of the one-time fixes they’ve been using to get by.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

Budget talks

City leaders plan to discuss budget options further during upcoming City Council meetings. All begin at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers, 3002 Wetmore Ave.:

  • Tonight: raising taxes and fees
  • April 30: city services that require more study
  • May 21: summary

The city plans to host two additional meetings at other locations in May:

  • May 8: 5:30 to 8 p.m., Evergreen Middle School cafeteria, 7621 Beverly Lane.
  • May 13: 5:30 to 8 p.m., Wilderness Auditorium, Jackson Conference Center, Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St.

For more information, go to www.everettwa.org.

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