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Kenmore toll bridge is a scare tactic, diversion | Letter
The Kenmore Council’s proposal for a local toll bridge over the Sammamish Slough is a scare tactic designed to deflect public attention away from the new tax increase on car tabs.
Federal funding is available for 80 percent of the bridge replacement. See the State DOT local bridge program at: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/LocalPrograms/Bridge/Funding.htm. There is no need for a toll going in over the slough.
The real issue the council is ducking is why do we need a car-tab tax increase that only pays $300,000 a year for roads? We currently pay $2.3 million a year in “annual road tax and property tax” and the city council still has unused taxing authority of $1.3 million per year with which they can increase our property and utility taxes without a public vote.
The car-tabs tax is expensive to administer, only brings in $300,000 per year, and due to complex state regulations the money cannot be used on many of our local roads where it is needed.
The truth is that the council has diverted the $2.3 million in annual road tax to pay for city administrative operations and does not want to share the money with taxpayers in the form of road safety and economic development improvements.
When Kenmore incorporated we were promised the “same tax, same service” and the “road tax” was clearly $2.3 million per year. The reality is, however, that all of the new $17 million Kenmore City Hall was paid for with that road tax and that tax is now being used to operate it. The future tax increases of $1.3 million (which are coming) will also be restricted to administration expenses while the taxpayers will be left with only the $300,000 in car tabs to fund capital projects.
And as we go forward, the council will place the blame squarely on the taxpayers for not being willing to pay more for our substandard roads.
John Hendrickson, former Kenmore Councilman