Everyone would foot bill for roads if Monroe voters raise taxes

MONROE — If voters here give a tax hike the green light, it would be paid by everyone who shops and uses the streets in the city, not just by Monroe residents.

A proposal to impose a two-tenths of 1 percent sales and use tax for road improvements in Monroe has made its way onto the Aug. 5 primary election ballot.

If approved, the money would be used to maintain Monroe’s roads, which need about $12 million worth of work, according to city estimates. The tax is expected to bring in about $826,000 a year. It would raise the current 8.7 percent sales tax rate to 8.9 percent for 10 years.

Public Works director Brad Feilberg said Monroe’s roads are deteriorating faster than the city can find money to fix them. It has been an ongoing problem since the late 1990s, he said.

The city used to pay for its road improvements by selling gravel from a piece of land it owned to companies that make asphalt, including Lakeside Industries and Cadman. Other road money sources, such as gas taxes and grants also have dried up since the recession, Feilberg said.

The Monroe City Council unanimously voted in April 2012 to create a transportation benefit district that includes the city limits. The council oversees the taxing district and acts as its board. It put Proposition 1, the transportation improvement tax, on the 2014 ballot.

The city’s website has a map that shows its road conditions and a list of what type of work the money is planned to go toward each year from 2015 to 2025, if the measure passes. That time line might change based on other projects being developed, the actual amount of tax collected and the availability of grant money.

Mayor Geoffrey Thomas said the money from the proposed tax would allow road maintenance work to be done sooner rather than waiting until it becomes more costly later. He compared the city dragging its feet on road repairs to waiting to fill a cavity until it becomes necessary to have a root canal.

Thomas said the council did not hear from people against the proposal at public hearings to put the measure on the ballot. The city did not have anyone volunteer for the committee tasked with preparing an opposition statement that would appear in the voter guide. A group called Citizens for Better Roads supports the proposal.

Thomas said he hopes voters approve the tax.

“It’ll give us an opportunity to invest in our infrastructure and share the cost across everyone who uses our streets, not just residents, but everybody coming to shop in town,” he said. “This is just a more fair way to fix our roads than relying on a property tax.”

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @AmyNileReports

Talk to us

More in Local News

Pallet communities are groups of tiny homes for unhoused people. Here, a worker installs weatherstripping on a pallet shelter at Pallet in Everett in January 2020. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)
Tiny home community is proposed at a Marysville church

The Pallet shelter community would provide transitional housing to eight people. Neighbors have questions.

The Everett Police Department has asked the City Council to keep its nine Stay Out of Drug Areas, zones where people arrested for drug crimes are not allowed. (City of Everett)
Everett police ask council to renew 9 drug enforcement areas

SODAs are a legal tool that prohibits people arrested for drug crimes from entering certain areas.

Police: After short chase in Marysville, man dies by suicide

Officers responded to a domestic violence call. The suspect reportedly shot himself at the end of a chase.

Alain Warchilde racks an e-bike available for Saturday's parking lot sale at Sharing Wheels in Everett on June 16, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Need new-to-you bike? It’s time for a sale at Sharing Wheels

The Everett nonprofit kept fixing and donating bicycles in spite of pandemic closure and challenges.

The final version of the 737 MAX, the MAX 10, takes off from Renton Airport in Renton, WA on its first flight Friday, June 18, 2021. The plane will fly over Eastern Washington and then land at Boeing Field  (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool)
Boeing’s newest version of the 737 Max makes first flight

The Max 10 took off near Seattle for an expected two-hour trip.

Jeff Thoreson does a cheer with his second grade class before the start of their kickball game on his last in-person day of school on Thursday, June 17, 2021 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish teacher hit the right notes in memorable career

Jeff Thoreson will retire this month after molding minds at Riverview Elementary School for 41 years.

Arlington-area man arrested in fatal machete attack

The suspect, 31, claimed self-defense. It was an argument over a wheelbarrow, a sheriff’s deputy wrote.

Wyatt Podoll, 2, plays in the Rotary Centennial Water Playground at Forest Park that reopened over Memorial Day weekend due to the easing of COVID restrictions in Phase 3 on Saturday, June 19, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Summer is here: A scorcher Monday, and warm through the week

The air should cool a bit after Monday, then heat up again. Local waters remain hazardously cold.

Pilot Dan Tarasievich lines up for a landing at  Arlington Municipal Airport after a morning of flying with friends on Saturday, April 20, 2019 in Arlington, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Could Snohomish County’s two largest airports be expanded?

A study explores expanding runways at Paine Field and Arlington Municipal to relieve a coming crunch.

Most Read