In other North bend council business

The North Bend council heard a presentation from City Treasurer

Elena Montgomery on the possible impacts to the city if I-695 passes.

Montgomery described the initiative - up for a vote in the Nov. 2

general election - as having two parts. Part one concerns the MVET or

Motor Vehicle Excise Tax, while the second part will institute voter approval

for all increases in taxes and fees.

Revenues from the MVET and the similar Camper Excise Tax

(CET) are currently distributed to Washington cities on a per-capita basis.

Montgomery stated that in 1999, North Bend would receive $53,145 from

the MVET, $1,183 from the CET, and $15,701 from Criminal Justice

Funding - another byproduct of the MVET - for a total of $70,027. The

amount constitutes two percent of the city's general fund; it is equal to one-third

of the subsidy to the streets fund, or one-third of the parks budget, or pay

and benefits for one technical employee.

The treasurer also reported I-695 would impact receipts from Sales

Tax Equalization. That fund is also furnished to cities on a per-capita basis,

but most often goes to communities that are primarily residential with

minimal sales tax income from businesses.

North Bend doesn't receive income from the fund, but other cities

such as Duvall would take a serious hit.

As an example, she cited figures that indicate Duvall would

lose $180,000 in these funds. When combined with their loss from MVET

revenues, that town would face an annual loss of about $300,000, or 15

percent of its general fund.

Montgomery said part two, if passed, will impact everything from

sales and use taxes, to property taxes, business and occupation taxes,

impact fees, license fees, permit fees, school lunch fees and ball field fees. It

will also drive up the cost of elections - as every fee increase would require

a vote - and could result in the potential loss of services and the

potential loss of capital improvement projects that have already been approved.

Finally, council voted to extend TCI's cable franchise contract for

10 years, with an option to renegotiate at a later date. The city will get its

own channel for government and public information use, and TCI has

promised to provide other educational and government channels.

As part of the franchise agreement, TCI will provide $25,000 to

the city for capital expenditures in order to set up the government channel.

The cost will be passed on to cable subscribers. TCI will also continue to

provide discount basic service rates for low-income seniors and

low-income disabled customers.

A TCI representative added they hoped to have about 80 channels

on line within 12 months.

The second reading and final approval of the TCI franchise

agreement will come up at a later North Bend council meeting.

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