Lynnwood City Council member George Hurst moves to postpone action on the vehicle license fees ordinance during the council’s meeting Monday. (Screenshot/City of Lynnwood)

Lynnwood City Council member George Hurst moves to postpone action on the vehicle license fees ordinance during the council’s meeting Monday. (Screenshot/City of Lynnwood)

Lynnwood to keep collecting a car tab fee and utility tax, for now

City Council members will consider repealing them in October when they write a new city budget.

LYNNWOOD — City Councilmembers didn’t ditch the city’s car tab fee or a utility tax Monday night.

They may later this year.

The Lynnwood council had teed up decisions on separate ordinances to erase the $40 vehicle license fee and 6% utility tax on Jan. 1, 2023. They opted instead to postpone action on both until Oct. 10, in order to discuss them during the broader budget-writing process.

Council President George Hurst, who made the motions to delay, said he wanted to honor the desire of some council members and the mayor’s office.

“In October, we will have a better idea of our revenues and the overall economy of our area,” Hurst said.

“Also, October would provide a clearer picture of the overall economy in our nation,” he said. “Are we heading to recession or not? What is the impact of the Ukraine war on the national economy?”

On each ordinance, the council voted 6-0 to postpone action. Councilmember Shirley Sutton was absent Monday.

Neither proposal is new.

In May 2020, a majority of the council voted to end the utility tax. Last fall, four of the seven approved a measure to get rid of the car tab fee. Each time the former mayor, Nicola Smith, vetoed their decisions and the council failed to override her.

The current mayor, Christine Frizzell, had signaled her opposition too. She said last week such discussions should occur in the budget process, so council members can ponder how to offset any loss of revenue.

Combined, the vehicle fees and utility taxes will generate roughly $2.5 million this year for transportation improvements and city services.

A council majority is pushing the repeal of the vehicle fees and utility tax to provide a modicum of relief for residents.

The city does offer reduced rates and rebates to qualifying low-income households for their water, sewer and storm utilities.

Hurst said he wanted city staff to outline available programs in greater detail “and then we can have the council explore better ways to advertise these discounts,” he said.

Councilmember Julieta Altamirano-Crosby said she’s concerned there’s money available now to assist families that isn’t getting used, and the city needs to let residents know that they may be eligible.

“Maybe we have to go to the neighborhoods” to get the word out, she said.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623;; Twitter: @dospueblos.

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