Creation of a Transportation Benefit District, (TBD) to raise money for transportation projects, was a subject of the Lacey City Council’s annual staff and council retreat, held Friday.
The Washington State Legislature has authorized cities to create such an entity for the purposes of raising money for city transportation projects.
Under a Transportation Benefit District, cities can raise money for transportation projects in a number of ways – - foremost is an increase in the cost of car license tabs of $20. Currently Olympia has already taken that action and Tumwater is considering it later this summer. This can be done by a simple vote of the city council.
But, an increase in the state sales tax of of .002 percent is also possible with a vote of the people.
Lacey would use the money for it’s on-going street maintenance program which finds itself short of money to fund needed street projects.
Raising the car license fee by $20 would bring in about $600,000 a year, far short of the money needed to keep city streets in good shape. Instituting a .002 increase in the state sales tax, by a vote of the people, would bring in about $1.9 million annually, enough to do the job.
Discussion at the retreat centered around raising the car tab by a simple vote of the council, or going to the voters for approval of a sales tax increase.
The council asked staff to provide more information on the issue and schedule a council work session in the near future.
To get a measure on the November General Election ballot, the tax measure would have to be to the auditor’s office by July.