Proposition 1 - Street and Sidewalk Maintenance
On April 28, 2015, Tumwater voters approved an increase in the sales tax rate from 8.7 percent to 8.9 percent for a period of ten years to fund street and sidewalk improvements. **The new sales tax rate was implemented on October 1, 2015.**
Visit the Thurston County Auditor's Office for election results.
What is Proposition 1?
Proposition 1 is a ballot measure asking the voters of the City of Tumwater to increase the sales tax rate from 8.7 percent to 8.9 percent to fund street and sidewalk maintenance.
City street infrastructure is aging and significant funding is needed for street and sidewalk maintenance. The City’s transportation system is one of the most valuable assets for connecting the community and attracting new investment. Deferred maintenance drives repair costs higher. State and Federal funding for maintenance of the City’s streets has been reduced in recent years, while costs continue to rise, leaving the City with inadequate resources to preserve and maintain streets and sidewalks.
The state Legislature created a section of law (RCW Chapter 36.73) allowing local governments to establish a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) with its own independent revenue options as a way to raise funds to maintain local streets. In November 2014, the Tumwater City Council created such a district, designating the City limits as the benefit area. By using the new sales tax option to raise funds, those who shop in Tumwater and use the City’s transportation system, not just Tumwater residents, will help pay for maintenance and preservation of the City streets. By law, the money raised under this proposition must be used within the City (district) for transportation purposes only.
Facts about Proposition 1:
- An increase of two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) equates to an additional 20 cents paid on a $100 taxable purchase. Or for every $1,000 spent, it would be an additional $2.
- With the current revenue stream, a sales tax increase of two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) would provide an estimated $810,000 annually for street and sidewalk maintenance.
- A sales tax increase spreads the cost between both residents and those that shop in Tumwater and use the streets.
- This dedicated revenue source allows for preventative treatments to preserve, maintain, and enhance City streets and sidewalks, which saves on costly reconstruction later.
How will the additional sales tax revenue benefit City streets?
The revenue raised through the two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) sales tax increase in this proposition can begin to make a significant difference in funding street maintenance. To improve the City street system to an optimal condition over a ten-year period would require $31.8 million, not including sidewalk maintenance. Over the same ten years, revenues from this proposition are projected to provide about $11.9 million for street and sidewalk maintenance needs in the City. Where possible, Transportation Benefit District funding will be matched with other City revenues, utility construction, new development, and state and federal grants to extend the impact of sales tax revenues. While this proposition will not fully fund the City’s transportation maintenance needs, it will help to preserve and maintain transportation infrastructure into the future.
How much will this sales tax increase impact my purchases?
An increase of two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) equates to an additional 20 cents paid on a $100 taxable purchase. Or for every $1,000 spent, it would be an additional $2. Sales tax in Washington State is not paid on food items. For example, if you spend $150 per week on groceries and twenty percent of that went to purchasing taxable items (soap, paper towels, deodorant, etc.), then your taxable purchase would be $30. In this example, if approved, this proposition would equate to a (6¢) increase on that $150 grocery bill.
What other options were considered?
The State law that authorizes Cities to create a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) provides authority to raise revenue from a variety of means, including toll roads, vehicle license tabs, or sales tax. A license tab of $20 per vehicle would raise $280,000 annually, which is insufficient funding to keep up with maintenance and would put the entire burden on owners of vehicles registered within the City. A sales tax increase of two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) equates to 2¢ per $10 purchase, raises more funds (although insufficient for the City’s full street maintenance needs), and spreads the cost among those who shop within the City and use the streets.
Jay Eaton, Public Works Director
City of Tumwater
555 Israel Road SW
Tumwater, WA 98501