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City of Tacoma Responds to Failure of Prop 1

The City of Tacoma has issued an official response to the failure of Prop 1 in yesterday's election. See if you can make any sense of it.

City Response to Proposition 1 General Election Outcome

Yesterday, Tacoma voters did not approve a City-backed ballot measure to levy an additional 2 percent tax on natural gas, electric and phone company earnings for the purpose of funding Tacoma-wide neighborhood streets and safety improvements.

Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax issued a statement regarding the result, “While I am disappointed in the outcome of the vote on Proposition 1, it will not discourage me from continuing to pursue a sustainable revenue source to fund the much needed street improvements and safety upgrades the residents of Tacoma deserve.

“I firmly believe well maintained infrastructure is critical to the quality of life, health, safety and economic vitality of a city and often makes the difference in whether or not a person or business chooses to live or invest in a community,” said Broadnax.

Pierce County reported 22,856 Tacoma residents having voted on this issue.  

There is, however, one silver lining for streets infrastructure. In September, City Council passed an ordinance to earmark utility company earnings tax revenues above 6 percent for any of utilities levied at the 8 percent rate (water, wastewater, surface water, solid waste, cable TV and rail) into a new fund starting Jan. 1, 2014. The new fund will solely handle revenue collections and expenditures related to street improvements.

Currently, 31 percent of the Street Operations and Engineering budget is restricted and dedicated for street improvements. Once this ordinance takes effect, more than 70 percent of the total budget will be dedicated for street improvements, ensuring that funding for street improvements is maintained at least to this level into the future.

It sounds like the good news for our roads is that at least some existing funding sources have been earmarked for street improvements going forward...

Now, does someone want to take a stab at explaining that last little bit to the class? Who's good at percentages?


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Comments

Joel F

I agree with Broadnax on the importance of infrastructure but if people didn’t vote for prop 1 then they also don’t deserve fixed streets.

November 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


fred davie

What about the importance of affordable utility rates? I guess according to your “reasoning” the people who supported Prop. 1 don’t deserve affordable utility rates.

November 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Joel F

on average our rates are still lower than other areas. so if that extra 5 bucks a month gets us better streets to me it’s worth while. the money needed to keep things working has to come from somewhere.

November 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


fred davie

Nobody ever said that all of our utility rates were “lower than other areas.” Proponents only claimed that our ELECTRIC rates were lower than other ELECTRIC rates. Prop 1 also taxes telephone services, both land line and cellular and natural gas utilities. Nobody ever claimed that those rates were lower in Tacoma. 

The money needed to fix the streets is going to have to come from somewhere, agreed. I would reduce city worker salaries by $10M per year and use that for the streets. There is plenty of fat in that budget.

November 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Xeno

Those workers are unionized, good luck.  Oh and btw, they’ve already cut the Public Works department in half and reduced salaries.

November 10, 2013 at 2:15 am / Reply / Quote and reply


JDHasty

I agree with Broadnax on the importance of infrastructure but if people didn’t vote for prop 1 then they also don’t deserve fixed streets.

What you do not appreciate, or perhaps don’t recognize, is that this proposition was about the City Council securing dollars for more “Council Special Projects,” and matching money that would be used for things that are only tangentially related to restoring, maintaining and preserving our pavement infrastructure.

November 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Xeno

False, now back to the New Takhoman with you.

November 10, 2013 at 2:16 am / Reply / Quote and reply


JDHasty

I agree with Broadnax on the importance of infrastructure but if people didn’t vote for prop 1 then they also don’t deserve fixed streets.

November 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Chris

It sounds like there is less discretion for the city to use street repair dollars for projects other than street repairs, but still some discretion.

November 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


JDHasty

The language does nothing, in a legal sense, to constrain these dollars. Fact of the matter is certain Council members were telling select constituencies that the money “could be used for anything with transportation and safety in the project description” just last week.

November 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Fred Davie

The Prop. 1 failure was the THIRD tax increase proposal in the last couple of years that the council either sponsored or recommended for passage and ALL THREE were turned down by the voters. Pretty hard to claim these exalted “officiates” know their own constituencies very well.  The man on the street is SICK of higher taxes and the sooner Ms. Strickland and her 8 dwarfs wake up from their utopian fairy tale dream the better.

November 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Sid

“I firmly believe well maintained infrastructure is critical to the quality of life, health, safety and economic vitality of a city and often makes the difference in whether or not a person or business chooses to live or invest in a community,” said Broadnax. 

You Sir now know why businesses do not come to the Lincoln District in the same proportion as other parts of the city.  I wish you would apply that common sense approach to our neighborhood.

November 9, 2013 at 6:21 am / Reply / Quote and reply


fred davie

Sid, I agree that the Lincoln District could use a sort of makeover.  I don’t why the merchants have adopted such a downbeat appearance. It really looks like the watts neighborhood of LA.

Regarding the city managers determination that “a well maintained infrastructure is critical” I would say this: the city council refuses to provide the taxpayers with a listing of priorities from most critical to least critical.  But looking at the budget objectively there’s no way streets maintenance could be considered critical. If it were critical it would get more funding. In the liberals playbook, everything is considered critical. The word doesn’t hold it’s common meaning.

November 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm / Reply / Quote and reply


Sid

Fred,  After living here for many years, I believe that the reason the business owners in our neighborhood don’t care to fix their buildings, is because it does not matter to their clientele.  The neighborhood they operate their businesses in don’t really shop there other than maybe one, or two restaurants.  There is no incentive for them to invest in appearance that would help all of us not just the business strip.  That is why the city enforcement team needs to come in and say no more to your lack of carelessness and disregard for public safety and welfare.  I cannot believe the city has allowed these businesses to do as they want and in the process place other people in danger.

November 10, 2013 at 7:47 am / Reply / Quote and reply


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