We don’t do snow very well in the Puget Sound region. Last January’s snowstorm was a tough time for a lot of people. The slick stuff snarled traffic and generally caused chaos throughout the region.
If you traveled to other Eastside cities, you noticed the humps of snow on the roads and tricky driving conditions. But the city of Snoqualmie’s streets were, by and large, different. The city kept the plows rolling throughout the storm, and the roads as safe as possible, even through the ice storm and the blackout that followed.
Snoqualmie should take pride in its top-notch services. This town grew 10-fold between 2000 and 2010. Money flowed in from development, but costs increased, too, and there were some hard-fought political battles to make sure that costs stayed within bounds.
Today, after a decade under the voter-approved 1 percent levy growth cap, the city has reached the point that it needs to ask for more. Proposition 1, a 25-cent maintenance levy is aimed at public safety, streets and parks.
Opponents say the city has room to cut. City leaders say they’ve toed the line admirably regarding costs, and that they’ve done their best to avoid painful cuts. But realities are approaching. This fall, Snoqualmie voters should consider their own needs, budgets—and the services that they’re accustomed to. If possible, talk to city staff and crew members, and get a sense of the priorities and choices at stake here. Then, vote.
The lesson of 2001’s Initiative 747 is that cities need to make do with limited growth, then seek taxpayer approval for more money at need. That’s exactly what’s happening here.
Prop. 1 is not a tax grab or a panacea—it’s the city’s attempt to gauge priorities. Citizens are being asked to confirm whether current standards should be preserved, or whether it’s time to start lowering expectations.
If you wish to maintain the high standards of quality that Snoqualmie services have been known for, vote “yes” on Prop. 1.