ELECTION | MLT civic center falling short

  • By Ashley Stewart, Herald writer
  • Tuesday, August 7, 2012 9:19pm

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — A majority of Mountlake Terrace residents voted in favor of a measure that allows the city to borrow $25 million to build a new civic center – but the measure was still short of the 60 percent majority needed to pass on Aug. 7.

Fifty-six percent of city residents voted in favor of the measure to let the city borrow funds for up to 30 years, which would be repaid with an increase in property taxes for the city with population of about 20,000.

Mayor Pro Tem Laura Sonmore estimates the city will need a large majority of the remaining ballots cast in favor of the measure for it to have any chance to pass.

The measure was already on the ballot in 2010 but failed with 47 percent of the vote.

City officials said they got the message and reduced the price tag from $37.5 million to $25 million.

If the measure receives less than 60 percent of favorable votes, City Council will not reduce the price, but look to float a new bond measure that will allow them to pay rent for an interim city hall, Sonmore said.

The city is currently renting the Redstone Building under a five-year, $2.2 million lease.

“We don’t want to rent anymore. We want to own something, but we want to own something that will give back to our city for years,” she said.

The new civic center would house City Council chambers, the police department, a senior center and a meeting hall for public events. The bonds also would cover improvements to the library, a spray fountain for kids and a garden.

If the measure does pass, an average homeowner in Mountlake Terrace will pay an extra $89 a year in property taxes in 2014, and an extra $139 starting in 2015.

These are much-needed updates, city officials said:

The senior center is currently renting a space from a local church, and the police station is bursting at the seams.

City Council passed an ordinance in April in support of the measure. Council members and city staff have since held a series of public meetings to answer questions and figure out where the voters stand.

Talk to us