Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, and the city, will be hosting a virtual town hall regarding Proposition 1, a new sales tax proposal for transportation improvements that will appear on November’s general election ballot.
The meeting will take place on Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. It will feature a presentation by city staff and time for residents to ask questions.
The new tax, approved by the city council on July 12, would introduce a 0.2% sales tax to replace the city’s $40 vehicle licensing fee. However, for the new tax to take effect, it must be approved by a majority of voters.
The tax is designed to pay for the city’s six-year transportation plan and non-utility capital improvement plan, which includes construction on the Snoqualmie Parkway, the I-90/State Route 18 on-ramp and other projects around the city.
The city first passed the $40 vehicle license fee as a way to fund its contribution for construction on the I-90 on-ramp near Snoqualmie Parkway.
The $40 fee is broken into two $20 segments: a temporary segment meant to pay the city’s portion of construction on the I-90 ramp, and a permanent, ongoing segment that goes toward city transportation improvements.
If approved by voters, the 0.2% tax would take effect on April 1, 2022, and the entirety of the $40 fee will be eliminated. If the new tax is rejected, the permanent $20 fee remains in place, and the temporary $20 fee would be extended until Sept. 30, 2022
The new tax is expected to bring an additional $144,000 in revenue for the city, according to Drew Boulta, a financial analyst for the city. He also said the new tax is expected to decrease taxation for some residents, with non-residents paying an estimated 16% of the tax through purchases made in the city.
“What the big selling point is, is that non-residents will also help pay the tax,” Councilmember Katherine Ross said at the council’s June 28 meeting. “It’s quite a bit lower expense to our residents and includes people who do not live here.”
In July, Councilmember James Mayhew, the chair of the finance and administration committee, praised the new tax for being able to keep up with the cost of inflation.
“Because it is a sales tax, it’s levied as a percentage of sales,” he said. “As we go into the future, it will keep up with inflation, unlike a car-tab fee, which is a fixed amount. Whether it’s $20 or $40 it loses its value because of inflation.”
If the new tax is approved, it will bring the city’s total sales tax to 8.9%, which is 0.2% less than North Bend.
To attend the town hall, visit: bit.ly/3moL3aX