Sidewalk work in Lake Stevens could get new funding from car tab fees next year. (City of Lake Stevens)

Sidewalk work in Lake Stevens could get new funding from car tab fees next year. (City of Lake Stevens)

Lake Stevens considers car-tab fees for transportation

Edmonds, Everett, Granite Falls, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace already have them.

LAKE STEVENS — Another Snohomish County city could add car tab fees next year.

The Lake Stevens City Council on Tuesday voted 6-0 to create a Transportation Benefit District. One council member was absent.

The district goes into effect Jan. 1, City Administrator Gene Brazel said. It shares boundaries with the city, and its members will be drawn from the council.

State law would allow the district to add a $20 car tab fee per vehicle without a public vote. The revenue must go toward road and transportation projects.

Transportation benefit districts also can ask voters to approve a sales tax increase of up to 0.2 percent.

“Right now they are talking about tabs,” Brazel said. “There was some discussion about going to the voters for the sales tax, to do that instead, but right now it’s just been minimal discussion.”

He said council members have been clear about wanting a public process that clearly identifies all of the projects.

Estimates show the tab fees would bring in about $450,000 a year, he said. If adopted, the fees wouldn’t go into effect for six months.

Pavement overlays and sidewalks would be priorities for spending, Brazel said.

“Sidewalks are critical in Lake Stevens,” he said. “It was rural for so many years that we still have a lot of rural streets in city limits.”

The city’s website about the district also mentions needed improvements to Stitch and Soper Hill roads.

More information will be added to the website, as well as to the next meeting’s agenda packet, Brazel said.

A public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 8 on whether the district can be incorporated into the city. That move would mean its business could be conducted at the same time as council meetings.

The Lake Stevens car tab fees would be in addition to what is charged by the state. That part of the county doesn’t fall under the Sound Transit taxing area.

Other local cities with car tab fees include Edmonds ($20), Everett ($20), Granite Falls ($20), Lynnwood ($40) and Mountlake Terrace ($20). Some cities only draw the sales tax, and some draw both.

Snohomish County has a transportation benefit district for unincorporated areas but hasn’t used it to collect any money.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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