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Snoqualmie weighs new car tab fees; North Bend opts out

The Snoqualmie City Council is waiting for more public input before adding new car tab fees for residents.

Snoqualmie is exploring creation of a special taxing district, dubbed a Transportation Benefit District, to pay for road repairs.

If created, the district would be overseen by the city council and be able to add a $20 street maintenance fee on new and renewing vehicle licenses. The new fee would go into effect on January 1, 2011, and does not require a general or special election.

The council took public comment on the new taxing district at a Monday, May 24, public hearing. Marcia Korich, the sole speaker, told the council to vote down the proposal.

Adding taxes, she said, is not the answer to Snoqualmie's budget woes.

"This is not affordable by the community," Korich said. "We've lost jobs and taken pay cuts."

The city, she said, needs to do a better job of informing citizens why the increase is needed.

Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson told Korich that the facts behind the proposal will be discussed at upcoming town hall meetings.

"They will be laid out in great detail," he said.

According to city officials, street funds have decreased due to the loss of Motor Vehicle Excise Tax revenues by state initiative in 1999.

No North Bend TBD

The city of North Bend has no plans to create a transportation benefit district, city officials said.

“The mayor and council of North Bend have stated that adding taxes in the current economic environment is not a good idea and have requested I not pursue this any further,” said City Administrator Duncan Wilson.

While noting that North Bend, like many Washington cities, has a need for additional money to improve road infrastructure, Wilson said that that funding is not worth the cost of tax increases in the middle of a recession.

• Snoqualmie Town Hall meetings are 6 p.m. June 2 and 3, at City Hall, 38624 SE River Street. Information can be viewed at www.cityofsnoqualmie.org.

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