Car tab hike comes to Nov. vote

  • By Mina Williams Enterprise editor
  • Wednesday, August 4, 2010 3:48pm

EDMONDS — Voters will have the last say on the future of 37 proposed road and transportation projects proposed by the city of Edmonds.

The city’s Transportation Benefit District board, comprised of the seven Edmonds council members, on Aug. 3 approved placing a $40 car tab fee hike on the November general election ballot.

Council President Steve Bernheim is accepting bids from residents to serve on the two committees that will be charged with drafting the pro and con statements for the voter’s pamphlet. He will be considering committee members through Aug. 9.

During the Aug. 3 council meeting, those for moving the car tab fee increase to a vote said the resulting fund would enable improvements in the community, one being adding sidewalks along school routes.

Phil Williams, public works director for the city, punctuated that the funds would also provide ongoing sources of revenue for the city as staff sought grants and inroads into public and private partnerships.

“We want to have one oar in the water as we look for opportunities to stretch out dollars and use other people’s money,” he said.

“This (car tab tax) is fiddling while Rome burns,” Councilman D.J. Wilson said in opposition. “The alternative is a levy.”

Councilman Strom Peterson pointed out that revenue from a car tab tax would go directly to fund earmarked projects — roads, sidewalks and transportation infrastructure initiatives — and would not “get lost in the netherworld of the general fund. Levy money goes to the general fund, where that money is spent doing the city’s business.”

“The voters will have the ultimate decision,” said Councilwoman Adrienne Fraley-Monillas. “If they vote ‘no,’ then we will drive among pot holes.”

The TBD vote to put the measure on the ballot was 4-3, with board members Wilson, Lora Petso and Michael Plunkett opposed.

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