Tacoma drops plan for tax increase to repair roads

The City of Tacoma will not ask voters this November for a tax increase to repair the city’s roads, according to an announcement made Wednesday by City Manager T. C. Broadnax.

The so-called levy lid lift ballot measure was slated for the November ballot. If approved by voters, it would have raised property taxes by 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, directing $9 million annually over the next six years to repair Tacoma’s crumbling, pothole-ridden roads. But the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurers Office recently announced an estimated 10 per cent decrease in the city’s assessed property values, according to city officials, which would have significantly diminished the amount of money that would be collected through the levy lid lift.

“Our city’s streets and infrastructure remain a high priority for staff as well as mayor and council,” said Broadnax. A task force was created last year to develop recommendations to address Tacoma’s current infrastructure needs and create a balanced neighborhood plan for street maintenance. “We will continue to work with the task force to develop the criteria for street maintenance as part of our 2013-2014 Proposed Biennium Budget. These recommendations will be valuable as we move forward with existing maintenance funds and pursue future funding options.”

“City staff has made a strategically sound recommendation that is financially responsible and will maximize taxpayer investment,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland.

City Council is scheduled to be briefed on the issue during a study session on Tues., July 17 at noon in the Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St., Room 16. Audio from the session will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and online here. On-demand audio archives will be available on the Web within 24 hours of the meeting here.