News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Plan C for buses? Don't forget the coming parks tax vote

April 23rd, 2014 · 25 Comments

Late afternoon update April 24: Metro has released new estimates of what routes will be lost or changed. The original figure of 600,000 service hours lost (17 percent of service) has been reduced to 550,000 hours (16 percent).

The revised recommendation will do the following:

Delete 72 routes (formerly 74)

Change 84 routes (formerly 107)

Leave 58 routes unchanged (formerly 33)

The new estimates are here.

Update April 24: Preliminary results from election night indicate that in the state legislative district that includes Maple Leaf (the “Fightin’ 46th, which also includes much of northeast Seattle), the vote passed roughly 59 to 41 percent.

On the other hand, turnout was only 34 percent.

Returns mailed up until the Tuesday deadline are still coming in and being counted.

Also, in comments below Tim has posted a link to the map at right, which shows election night returns. Blue is “yes,” red “no.” The full countywide map is here.

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With the defeat of King County’s Proposition 1, local transit supporters have already announced an initiative, aimed at November’s ballot, to raise money locally for buses.

Seattle voters only would vote on hiking taxes only in Seattle, and the resulting buses would only serve Seattle.

The measure could raise up to $25 million a year for the next six years, enough to reverse most cuts to King County Metro routes that serve Seattle.

“Seattle will grind to a halt if we don’t act fast to save buses,” said Ben Schiendelman, founder of Friends of Transit and proponent of the ballot measure. “Seattle voters want better transit. We will not rest until we have reversed these cuts and begun making the investments we need to provide Seattle with the transit system it deserves.”

The full press release from Friends of Transit is here. The idea is to hike Seattle property taxes $22 per $100,000 of assessed value for the next six years. It thus avoids the $60 car tab fee that likely doomed Tuesday’s transit vote.

Here in Maple Leaf  the toll would be something in the neighborhood of $80 to $100 annually.

Here are stories by The Seattle Times, the Stranger and seattlepi.com.

Should another bus tax make the November ballot, it will follow a vote, currently scheduled for August, on likely the  largest property tax levy in Seattle history – for parks.

City Councilman Nick Licata sent an email blast this afternoon:

On Monday, April 28th, the City Council’s Select Committee on Parks Funding will meet to finalize its proposal for a Seattle Park District funding measure. It would go to voters in August and, if passed, would replace the city’s current levy process with a separate taxing authority authorized under the State’s amended Metropolitan Park Districts law.

Last month the Times’ Danny Westneat looked at that proposal here.

But the tax to pay for this would be the largest property-tax levy in city history — and not by a slight amount. At $54 million a year, it’s 35 percent bigger than the Seattle record-holder, the 2006 “Bridging the Gap” street-repair tax, which is still in effect.

The new parks tax would be more than double the last parks levy. Plus, under this plan it could be nearly doubled again without going back to the voters.

In today’s email Licata says the council’s committee has reduced that $54 million to “around $48 million.

“While some reductions to arrive at this level were technical administrative adjustments, such as staffing expense reductions, others did propose program reductions, such as reducing 25 new programs totaling $205,000 in the Recreation Opportunities for All category.”

Licata would like to restore $200,000 to the recreation category. He proposes other changes as well. His blog is here.

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