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Posted on: January 5, 2024

Council to Consider Sales Tax Increase on Jan. 8, May Waive Second Reading of Proposed Ordinance

TBD Sales Tax Increase Public Comment Graphic

At the January 8, 2024, City Council meeting, the Council will consider adopting an ordinance which would increase the City’s Transportation Benefit District (TBD) sales tax by one-tenth of one percent (0.1%).  

The TBD sales tax will fund City transportation improvements including construction, maintenance, and operations. This sales tax is paid by anyone making eligible purchases in Snoqualmie, including visitors and tourists. The proposed ordinance would increase the TBD sales tax to the maximum 0.3% as allowed by state law.  Enactment of the proposed increase requires approval by the City Council. 

Snoqualmie City Council Rules of Procedure provide for two readings of ordinances at separate meetings, and also provide Council the option to waive the second reading if necessitated. 

Notice is hereby given that the Snoqualmie City Council may consider waiving the second reading, moving to final reading and possible adoption of Ordinance 1285 during the January 8 regular council meeting.

The Council may consider waiving the ordinance’s second reading in order to meet the January 16 deadline imposed by the Washington State Dept. of Revenue for the 0.1% TBD sales tax increase to become effective April 1, 2024. The increase is anticipated to generate approximately $300,000 annually.

Residents are encouraged to provide comments to Councilmembers on the proposed TBD sales tax increase by attending the January 8 City Council meeting, beginning at 7 pm, in-person, online, or by submitting written comments. Written comments must be received by 5 pm, January 8, 2024, and should be emailed to cityclerk@snoqualmiewa.gov

Background
The City Council is currently considering revenue generating options to help offset historic inflationary increases impacting the City’s current and future general fund. The general fund supports many services including police, fire, parks, and importantly the City’s transportation network. The money generated by the TBD sales tax would be used to protect and sustain the City’s transportation infrastructure funding activities such as street repairs (i.e., pothole patching), street sweeping, lighting maintenance, roadside maintenance, and sidewalk repairs.

Washington state law limits annual increases of the City’s property tax to 1%, the most significant source of funding for the general fund, while post-pandemic inflationary increases have reached 8%. This imbalance negatively impacts the City’s general fund. As the City has already implemented internal cost cutting measures to balance inflation, including reduced staffing levels, City Councilmembers are now considering revenue options to maintain current service levels. Revenue options under consideration include the TBD sales tax increase; a public safety sales tax for voter consideration; a Business & Occupation (B&O) tax increase; a utility tax increase; and a property tax levy lid lift. These options will be discussed further at upcoming City Council meetings. 

Protecting existing City service levels is a Council priority supported by community survey results showing a large majority of residents do not support a reduction in City services as a method to balance the budget.  

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