Marysville sales tax bump on August ballot

MARYSVILLE — Voters are being asked to approve an increase in the sales tax in the city to fund public safety.

If approved, Proposition 1 on the Aug. 2 primary election ballot would cause sales taxes within Marysville to go up by one-tenth of one percent.

By state law, 15 percent of the proceeds would be shared with Snohomish County.

Snohomish County is running its own sales tax ballot measure that would raise the tax two-tenths of one percent. The two tax measures are cumulative if voters in Marysville approve both.

With the city’s tax of one additional penny per $10 purchase, Marysville hopes to collect about $750,000 annually.

That would fund the hiring of five more police officers.

“When we calculate the costs of those officers, we’re including the car, the equipment, all those things the officer needs,” Mayor Jon Nehring said.

Such a measure is needed because Marysville is expected to grow from a population of about 60,000 now to 88,000 by 2035.

The city has about 60 sworn officers, Nehring said, fewer than the city of Lynnwood, for example, which has a population of about 36,000.

Marysville, like many other cities, also has been dealing with an increase in homelessness, addiction and mental health issues.

Having two sales tax measures on the ballot for Marysville voters is a little concerning, Nehring said, in that some people might confuse the two.

That’s the reason the City Council, when it approved the ordinance setting the ballot measure, was specific about how the money would be used, he said.

Marysville also is not planning cuts to policing if the measure fails, Nehring said. That’s in contrast to the county’s sales tax measure. If it were to fail, County Executive Dave Somers has said he’d recommend a 3 percent cut to all county departments, including the sheriff’s office.

“We believe there’s a need for more patrol officers on the streets, and this is a means to do that,” Nehring said. “If we don’t pass, we simply don’t hire these officers.”

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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