Exit133 is about Tacoma
Tacoma Considering 2% Tax on Utility Earnings for Road Repairs
The Tacoma City Council is considering proposing to voters that they impose a 2% tax on utility company earnings. Council heard a presentation from staff on the proposal at this week’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
If passed, the tax would be expected to raise between $10 and $11 million annually for repairs to Tacoma’s roads: resurfacing; improvements to sidewalks, intersections, and traffic signals, school crosswalk upgrades, and a community favorite: pothole repairs. Funds could also be dedicated to contribute to road improvements after utility work, and could be leveraged to get state and federal grants, for which a 15% local match is typical.
Although the tax would be on utility company earnings, it sounds like it would be likely be passed along to customers. The average Tacoma household could expect to pay about $5 per month. About 75% of the funds raised by the tax would come from power earnings. The presentation didn’t discuss what the tax would mean for larger commercial customers.
An interesting aspect of this discussion is that the vote on the tax will go to Tacoma residents, but TPU serves 160,000 customers - nearly half outside Tacoma (54.3% inside city limits; 45.7 % outside city limits). If the tax is passed along, it would be passed along to customers in Fircrest, University Place, Fife, parts of Steilacoom, Lakewood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and unincorporated Pierce County as well.
The phrase we heard repeated a few times was “dedicated, sustainable funding.” That’s the key here - the City is looking for a funding source that can be directed specifically to roads, and that can be relied on year after year to help put a dent in the problem of Tacoma’s troubled roads.
The next step for the proposal would be a resolution on the July 23 Council meeting agenda that would make the proposal an official ballot item - City of Tacoma Proposition 1 - for Tacoma voters to decide on November 5.
Tacoma residents have told the City repeatedly that roads are a priority - this proposal would put money towards the kinds of repairs we hear the most complaints about. Now it’s up to them to tell the City whether this is how they want to pay for that priority.
Do you want to help the folks at Exit133 pay our bills and keep up with of all things Tacoma? Do you want to see even more coverage? Exit133 has always been free to read and comment, and it will stay that way. However, over the years, readers have contributed to the bank account to help us keep up our coverage of goings-on around town. Contribute and this message disappears!Support Exit133