“Resources” in Lakewood have been “increased to preserve and maintain the City’s road system.”
A more accurate, transparent, rubber-meets-the-road type vernacular (‘ordinary speech as opposed to a foreign language’) would read: ‘you, Lakewood’s resident and Lakewood’s “resource,” will pay $20 more a year to renew your car tabs starting now (Happy New Year) to help pay for road construction projects.’
So why not call it what it is while stating how it came about?
The City of Lakewood’s “Connections,” Winter 2015 issue, is recently in your mailbox. The first listed highlight (p.2), of the council’s adoption of the 2015-2016 budget, is the preservation and maintenance of the city’s roads.
Thanks to the “increases (in) resources.”
This past September, City council members enacted the increase without a vote of the public.
Although the council initially said there would be no fees without folks having the opportunity to vote, yet because (a) “state lawmakers gave city and county governments taxing authority for the tabs, as long as they don’t top $20”; and (b) the council evidently did not like the results of the “Lakewood, Washington 2013 Parks & Recreation and Streets Survey” conducted September, 2013 – the purpose of which was to gauge public support for a fee or tax increase – the council by-passed the people and the fee is now final.
Thank you “resources.”
According to the survey, the cost of which to conduct was estimated at $20,000, “respondents were asked to rate three city methods to pay for street maintenance – some of which would require voter approval.”
Results of the survey as to whether you would vote favorably for the following to pay for street maintenance:
Property tax increase: No.
Sales tax: No.
License tab fee: No.
Even if sidewalks and other amenities were included in the overall funding package?
In fact, “survey respondents were not supportive of any of the financing measures with predominant majorities opposing all options.”
Though the council had been warned (agenda packet for August 26, 2013) by Matt Kaser, Acting City Attorney: “surveys which could be viewed as being ‘used for the purpose of appealing, directly or indirectly, for votes or for financial or other support or opposition in any election campaign,’ should be avoided;” and Kaser added, “surveys fall into a suspect classification,” still the council surveyed-on.
Though the council (TNT, November 24, 2012) “didn’t want to aggravate Lakewood voters before asking them next year (2013) to raise property taxes to pay for road work and street maintenance,” the council aggravated-on.
Though the council (Agenda Packet for January 22, 2013, p.36) declared that the “Council consensus” was not to add taxes or fees without approval of the voters, the council added-on.
Though the council (TNT, July 9, 2013) had “spun its wheels over asking voters to approve a fee or tax for street maintenance,” the council spins no more.
At least spins no more as in laying rubber.
Over-laying asphalt however, including perhaps laying a “non-motorized trail around Gravelly Lake” (in thousands of dollars: City – 410, and a grant – 3,340 for this walking path), will – given “increased resources” – proceed forthwith.
In justifying the car tab fees Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson said that “states balance the budget by squeezing local governments.”
And local governments balance the budget by . . . .
It’s how we roll.