Bothell is asking for biggest tax levy outside of ST3

Bothell is asking for one of the largest property tax increases on the 2016 ballot to fund much needed road maintenance. The city posted this map of roads on its website explaining the levy. (City of Bothell)

BOTHELL, Wash. — The City of Bothell is asking voters for a property tax increase to fund roads. It’s the biggest request outside of Sound Transit.

Bothell is asking for 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to pay for road improvements. It’s well over the property tax increases of 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value in Bellevue and 33 cents per $1,000 in Issaquah.

“It may sound like a lot but for our median home in Bothell, it will be less than $16 a month,” Bothell Public Works Director Erin Leonhart said. “So under $200 a year.”

“So it may seem like a lot because the city has never actually asked for maintenance money before,” she said. “This is our first time out.”

Leonhart said the money is needed to pay for neighborhood improvements such as sidewalks, crosswalks, and road paving.

“Most of it is actually going to be on our main arterials and collectors,” Leonhart said. “We’re really trying to focus on the bang for our buck and the infrastructure that most people use.”

Leonhart said public polls and surveys keep coming back with the same answer.

“They are really wanting safe streets and sidewalks,” Leonhart said. “They want better maintenance and we haven’t really been able to provide the level of maintenance we would like to provide due to funding that has been reduced over time and demand that has been increasing.”

Opponents say any new money should go to residential streets and not the arterials. They say the developers should foot the bill for improvements on the bigger roads, and the city should focus on safety in neighborhoods. They also say the city should be able to build sidewalks faster than currently laid out in this measure.

The levy proposes a series of road improvement, such as restoring the asphalt patching program. Now that’s not sexy like “we are bringing you light rail!” But with potholes comes standing water and that increases your chances of hydroplaning.

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