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2006 Seattle Elections
General Elections Voters' Guide
Proposition 1 - Transportation Funding - Complete Text
Ordinance No. 122232
AN ORDINANCE relating to regular property taxes; providing for the submission to the qualified electors of the City at an election to be held on November 7, 2006, a proposition authorizing the City to levy regular property taxes for up to nine years in excess of the limitation on levies in Chapter 84.55 RCW for the purpose of providing City facilities and services, including transportation improvements, both capital and operating; and creating an oversight committee.
WHEREAS, the City of Seattle, Washington (the "City") owns and operates a transportation system that is critical to the safety and social and economic well-being of the people and businesses of Seattle and the Puget Sound region; and
WHEREAS, the City is steward to over 1,500 lane-miles of arterial streets, 150 bridges, 22 miles of retaining walls, 480 stairways, 1,000 signalized intersections, 120,000 signs, 2,000 miles of sidewalks, and 30,000 street trees representing an economic asset of over $8 billion; and
WHEREAS, most of Seattle's 150 bridges were built to last 60 years and the average age of the bridges is 55 years with 46% in poor or fair condition; and
WHEREAS, eight of the City's bridges have weight restrictions because they no longer meet structural standards, creating safety concerns for users and limited route choices for freight haulers and buses; and
WHEREAS, according to national standards, 29 percent of the City's arterial streets are in either poor or fair condition; and
WHEREAS, the backlog of maintenance work was estimated two years ago to cost $500 million and has since become larger; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Supreme Court in 1995 declared the City's residential street utility charge unconstitutional, reducing City revenue for transportation projects by $13 million per year; and
WHEREAS, voters statewide approved Initiative 776 in 2002, which eliminated the Vehicle License Fee that provided $5 million per year to the City for transportation purposes; and
WHEREAS, State-shared gas tax revenues for Seattle do not keep up with inflation due to annexations and incorporations; and
WHEREAS, addressing the deteriorating condition of Seattle's transportation infrastructure will require an annual dedication of substantial resources beyond those currently available and a considerable period of time; and
WHEREAS, in 2005 the City adopted Resolution 30790, approving the Transportation Strategic Plan with key themes of improving safety, preserving and maintaining transportation infrastructure, and providing mobility and access through transportation choices; and
WHEREAS, the Alaskan Way Viaduct is scheduled to be closed to traffic within the next five years, and closing it will put an added stress on the various alternative routes into and through the City; and
WHEREAS, a Citizens Advisory Panel has reviewed the funding required to address the identified maintenance backlog and recommended a variety of additional improvements to provide a more efficient and safer flow of pedestrians, bicycles, vehicles, transit services and freight movement within and through Seattle; and
WHEREAS, in April and May of 2006, the City sponsored five public information meetings with roundtable discussion groups in order to garner public input on transportation issues; and
WHEREAS, the City has developed a funding proposal to address the deteriorating condition of Seattle's transportation infrastructure and provide targeted system enhancements, which combines revenues generated from property taxes, a commercial parking tax and a business transportation tax; and
WHEREAS, the City has determined that the proposed funding plan can be best achieved through a phased approach with the initial phase providing funding for the 9-year period from 2007 through 2015;
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Definitions. As used in this ordinance, the following words when capitalized have the following meanings:
A. "City" means The City of Seattle.
B. "Director" means the Director of Finance.
C. "Levy Proceeds" means that portion of regular property taxes levied and collected as authorized by voter approval pursuant to this ordinance that are above the growth limit on levies in RCW 84.55.010, and all interest and other earnings thereon, and, if the City issues bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness payable wholly or in part from the additional taxes authorized under this ordinance, as permitted by Section 4 of this ordinance, then Levy Proceeds also includes the proceeds of those bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness.
D. "Transportation Improvements" means the categories and program areas referred to in Section 6, with such modifications as the City may from time to time authorize by ordinance.
Section 2. Levy of Regular Property Taxes - Submittal. The City hereby submits to the qualified electors of the City a proposition as authorized by RCW 84.55.050 to exceed the levy limitation on regular property taxes contained in RCW 84.55.010 for property taxes levied in 2006 through 2014 for collection in 2007 through 2015, respectively, solely for the purpose of raising up to $365,000,000 in aggregate over a period of up to nine (9) years for transportation purposes. The proposition shall be limited so that the City shall not levy more than Thirty Six Million Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($36,650,000) in the first year, in addition to the maximum amount of regular property taxes it could have levied consistent with Chapter 84.55 RCW in the absence of this ordinance. Pursuant to RCW 84.55.050(4), the maximum regular property taxes that may be levied in 2015 for collection in 2016 and in later years shall be computed as if the limit on regular property taxes had not been increased under this ordinance.
Section 3. Deposit of Levy Proceeds. All Levy Proceeds shall be placed in and segregated within the Transportation Fund. The Levy Proceeds may be temporarily deposited or invested in such manner as may be lawful for the investment of City money and all investment earnings shall be deposited in the Transportation Fund. The Director of Executive Administration is authorized to create other subfunds or accounts as may be needed to implement the purposes of this ordinance.
Section 4. Bond and Notes. To the extent permitted by applicable law the City may issue bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness payable wholly or in part from the additional taxes authorized under this ordinance, and may pledge and may apply such taxes to the payment of principal of, interest on, and premium (if any) on such bonds, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness and to the payment of costs associated with them.
Section 5. Use of Levy Proceeds. The Levy Proceeds shall be used solely for Transportation Improvements in accordance with the provisions in Section 6 and in accordance with RCW 84.55.050, and shall not supplant existing funds used for these purposes. No Levy Proceeds shall be used to fund the major repair or replacement, including but not limited to replacement with a waterfront tunnel, of the Alaskan Way Viaduct or the seawall located to the west of Alaskan Way.
Section 6. Transportation Improvements. Transportation Improvements will occur in four categories: Maintenance; Enhanced Transit Services; Bicycle, Pedestrian and Safety Programs; and Neighborhood Street Fund Program. For any year in which the City collects $1.5 million or more in Levy Proceeds, not less than $1.5 million of Levy Proceeds shall be appropriated for the Neighborhood Street Fund /Cumulative Reserve Fund (NSF/CRF) Neighborhood Program (project #TC365770) as described in the Seattle Department of Transportation's 2006-2011 Capital Improvement Program, and shall be used to fund the planning, design and construction of new facilities or major maintenance projects that enhance pedestrian mobility or safety. Having accounted for the appropriations to the NSF/CRF Neighborhood Street Fund, remaining Levy Proceeds shall be allocated on a cumulative basis as follows:
1. not less than 67% will be appropriated for Maintenance;
2. not less than 18% will be appropriated for Bicycle, Pedestrian and Safety Programs; and
3. no more than 15% will be appropriated for Enhanced Transit Services.
The City anticipates that appropriations of Levy Proceeds will be consistent with the 20-year spending plan adopted in Resolution 30915. Actual appropriations will be determined in annual budgets or in separate ordinances, subject to the restrictions imposed in Section 5 and the second and third sentences of this Section and after considering any recommendations that may have been made by the Oversight Committee established in Section 7.
Transportation Improvements shall be undertaken in the following numbered program areas within each of the four categories. The projects listed under the numbered program areas are representative of the activities that might be undertaken within each category:
1. Street Maintenance
* Arterial Maintenance and Replacement
* Sidewalks, Trails & Walkways
2. Bridges and Structures
* Bridge Maintenance & Replacement
* Bridge Seismic Improvements
* Stairways & Structures Maintenance
3. Traffic Management
* Signs & Markings
* Signals, Controllers and Intelligent Transportation Systems
* Safety & Equipment
4. Urban Forestry (Trees & Landscaping)
* Landscaping Maintenance
* Tree Maintenance
B. Enhanced Transit Services
1. Transit Corridor Projects
2. Transit Operations & Capital
C. Bicycle, Pedestrian and Safety Programs
1. Safety Programs
2. Pedestrian Programs
3. Bicycle Programs
D. Neighborhood Street Fund Program
3. Traffic calming devices
4. Pedestrian crossing improvements
The City will seek to maximize the potential of the Levy Proceeds by pursuing complementary grant funds, by engaging in partnerships with other agencies, and by identifying improvements in efficiencies and effectiveness.
Section 7. Oversight Committee. Conditioned upon voter approval of the ballot proposition submitted by this ordinance, there is established an Oversight Committee to monitor revenues, expenditures, and program and project implementation, and to advise the City Council, the Mayor and the Seattle Department of Transportation on responding to program and project cost savings or overruns. The Committee would also annually review the Seattle Department of Transportation's program and project priorities, spending and revised financial plans. The Oversight Committee may make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council regarding the spending of Levy Proceeds.
The Oversight Committee shall consist of fifteen (15) members: a City Council member (the Chair of the City Council's Transportation Committee or its successor committee with responsibility for transportation), the City Director of Finance, one representative each chosen by and from among the respective members of the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board, Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board and Seattle Freight Advisory Committee, five (5) Seattle residents appointed by the City Council and five (5) Seattle residents appointed by the Mayor.
The ten appointed members shall be appointed to four (4) year staggered terms subject to reappointment, except that two of them (one mayoral appointee and one Council appointee) shall be initially appointed for a two year term, four (two mayoral appointees and two Council appointees) for a three (3) year term, and four (two mayoral appointees and two Council appointees) for a four (4) year term. Upon the resignation, retirement, death, incapacity or removal of an Oversight Committee member, the authority appointing such member may appoint a replacement for the balance of the term. All five members appointed by the Mayor shall be subject to confirmation by the City Council.
The Oversight Committee may adopt rules for its own procedures, including quorum requirements and the frequency of meetings. Meetings of the Oversight Committee will be open to the public unless, had the Oversight Committee been subject to Chapter 42.30 RCW, that law would not have required that the meeting or portion of the meeting be open to the public. The Oversight Committee members shall select a Chair.
The Oversight Committee will make annual reports to the Mayor and City Council and will prepare a triennial report to the citizens of Seattle. Between January 1 and July 31 of 2015, the Oversight Committee is requested to make a recommendation to the Mayor and City Council regarding (1) the advisability of proposing to the voters of Seattle another levy to authorize additional property taxes for implementation of the 20-year spending plan adopted in Resolution 30915 and the appropriate magnitude of such a levy, and (2) any recommended adjustments to the remaining period of the proposed 20- year spending plan. The factors to be considered by the Oversight Committee in making any such recommendations will include, but are not limited to: (a) the City's success in project implementation, including its ability to manage and control project costs; (b) the availability of alternative revenue sources that provide a more direct link between the tax or fee paid and the use of the City's transportation system; and (c) the underlying need for funding to support the uses identified in Section 6. The Mayor and the Council will consider any timely recommendations that may have been made by the Oversight Committee.
The Seattle Department of Transportation shall provide staff and logistical support for the Oversight Committee. Members shall serve without pay, but may be reimbursed for their expenses, including payments for child care while attending meetings. The Oversight Committee shall continue in existence through December 31, 2015, and thereafter if so provided by ordinance.
Section 8. Contracting Outreach. The City will, when soliciting businesses for goods or services agreements, perform outreach to small, economically disadvantaged businesses, including those owned by women and minorities. City agreements with other public entities will encourage those entities to actively solicit bids for the subcontracting of any goods or services, when such subcontracting is required or appropriate, from qualified small businesses, including those owned by women and minorities. City agreements with businesses for goods and services and with other public entities and non-profits will encourage these entities to employ a workforce reflective of the region's diversity. All City agreements for goods and services will require the contracting entities to comply with all then-applicable requirements for non-discrimination in employment in federal, state, and City of Seattle laws and regulations.
Section 9. Reporting. The Director of Transportation will prepare and submit to the City Council, the Mayor and the Oversight Committee biennial progress reports on the implementation of the Transportation Improvements covering each of the program areas defined in Section 6 or as modified by ordinance. The Director of Transportation will also annually revise and deliver to the City Council, the Mayor and the Oversight Committee a Transportation Improvements financial plan.
Section 10. Election - Ballot Title. The King County Director of Records and Elections, as ex officio supervisor of elections, is hereby requested to conduct a special election, which the City hereby calls pursuant to RCW 84.55.050, to be held in conjunction with the state-wide general election on November 7, 2006, and to submit to the qualified electors of the City the proposition set forth herein.
The City Clerk is directed promptly to certify to the Director of Records and Elections of King County, Washington, as ex officio Supervisor of Elections, a copy of this ordinance and the proposition to be submitted at the November 7, 2006, special election in the form of a ballot title as follows, or as modified by the City Attorney pursuant to his duties under RCW 29A.36.071:
CITY OF SEATTLE
PROPOSITION NO. 1
The City of Seattle's Proposition 1 concerns allowing increased property taxes for nine years for transportation improvements.
If approved, this proposition would fund facilities and services, including: street and bridge maintenance; enhanced transit services; bicycle, pedestrian and safety programs; and a neighborhood street fund, under Ordinance 122232. It would authorize regular property taxes higher than RCW 84.55 limits, allowing collection of up to $36,650,000 in additional taxes in 2007 and up to $365,000,000 over nine years.
The 2007 total regular tax limit would be $3.69/$1,000 assessed value, including approximately $0.36 additional taxes.
Should this levy lid lift be approved?
Section 11. Ratification. Certification of such proposition by the City Clerk to the King County Director of Records and Elections in accordance with law prior to the date of such election on November 7, 2006, and any other act consistent with the authority and prior to the effective date of this ordinance, are hereby ratified and confirmed.
Section 12. Severability. In the event any one or more of the provisions of this ordinance shall for any reason be held to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect any other provision of this ordinance or the levy of the taxes authorized herein, but this ordinance and the authority to levy those taxes shall be construed and enforced as if such invalid provisions had not been contained herein; and any provision which shall for any reason be held by reason of its extent to be invalid shall be deemed to be in effect to the extent permitted by law.
Section 13. Effective Date. This ordinance shall take effect and be in force immediately upon its approval by the Mayor or, if not approved and returned by the Mayor within ten (10) days after presentation, then on the eleventh (11th) day after its presentation to the Mayor or, if vetoed by the Mayor, then immediately after its passage over his veto.
Text of Resolution 30915
A RESOLUTION relating to the Bridging the Gap transportation funding package, stating the Mayor and City Council's intent regarding future implementation of this package, including support for "Complete Streets", and superseding Resolution 30902.
WHEREAS, the City has developed a funding proposal ("Bridging the Gap") to address the deteriorating condition of Seattle's transportation infrastructure and provide targeted system enhancements, which combines revenues generated from property taxes, a business transportation tax, and a commercial parking tax; and
WHEREAS the City has determined that the property tax element of Bridging the Gap proposal can best be implemented through a phased approach, rather than single 20-year tax measure; and
WHEREAS, the proposed funding sources for Bridging the Gap are the best available to the City at this time, but the City has long sought State authority to use alternative sources that have a better link with use of the City's transportation infrastructure; and
WHEREAS, City policy as stated in the Transportation Strategic Plan and the Seattle Comprehensive Plan is to encourage walking, bicycling and transit use as safe, convenient and widely available alternative modes of transportation for all Seattleites; and
WHEREAS, the Mayor and City Council are committed to providing the public with detailed information on how Bridging the Gap revenues would be used; and
WHEREAS, it will be necessary for the Seattle Department of Transportation to develop significant additional capacity to design and manage transportation maintenance and improvement programs and projects;
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING:
Section 1. Resolution 30902 is hereby superseded.
Section 2. The Mayor and City Council intend to work with other interested parties to develop and gain State approval for new, stable local transportation funding sources that provide a better link between the use of the City's transportation network and the tax or fee assessed. If the authority for such sources is secure and they provide sufficient and reliable revenues, the Mayor and Council will substitute these new funding sources for part or all of the commercial parking tax, the business transportation tax, and/or the voter-approved property tax levy lid lift.
Section 3. The Mayor and City Council support the principles of "Complete Streets" (see Attachment 1) and will work with SDOT so that to the maximum practicable extent, all Bridging the Gap projects will provide appropriate accommodation for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and disabled persons while promoting safe operation for cars and trucks. The City Council will work with SDOT and the Mayor to assess the feasibility of an ordinance adopting Complete Street principles. The City Council and Mayor expect these principles will be incorporated into the Department's Transportation Strategic Plan; Seattle Transit Plan; Pedestrian Master Plan; Bicycle Master Plan; and other SDOT plans, manuals, rules, regulations and programs as appropriate. Except in unusual or extraordinary circumstances, "Complete Streets" principles will not apply:
* To streets classified as Major Truck Streets where preferable alternatives exist;
* To repairs made pursuant to the Pavement Opening and Restoration Rule (SDOT Director's Rule 2004-02);
* To ordinary maintenance activities designed to keep assets in serviceable condition (e.g. mowing, cleaning, sweeping, spot repair and surface treatments such as chip seal);
* Where the SDOT Director concludes that application of Complete Street principles is unnecessary or inappropriate because it would be contrary to public safety;
* When the cost would be excessively disproportionate to the need or probable use (more than 20% of the total project cost); and,
* Where other available means or factors indicate an absence of need.
Complete Streets may be achieved through a single project or incrementally through a series of smaller improvements or maintenance activities over time. It is the Mayor's and Council's intent that all sources of transportation funding could be drawn upon to implement Complete Streets. The City believes that maximum financial flexibility is important to implement Complete Streets principles.
Section 4. The Mayor and City Council have identified a specific set of transportation priorities and have developed a long- term, 20-year spending plan to be implemented in phases that summarizes how the City now anticipates allocating the revenues generated from the new tax sources that are dedicated to transportation purposes. This plan, which is attached as Attachment 2, summarizes the annual funding levels that are now projected for each element of the overall strategy for investing in the City's transportation infrastructure. As project time lines evolve, cost and revenue estimates are refined, new priorities emerge and as yet unforeseen opportunities arise, appropriate modifications will be made to this plan. However, such modifications will be consistent with the legal restrictions imposed within the Bridging the Gap levy lid lift ordinance and the following funding priorities.
Bridging the Gap Funding Priorities
The additional tax revenues to be generated from the commercial parking tax, the business transportation tax, and/or the voter- approved property tax levy lid lift are intended to fund (or partially fund):
1. Improved maintenance and rehabilitation of the City's existing transportation network, including its bridges, arterial roadways, signals and signs, sidewalks and stairways, bicycle trails, street trees, etc;
2. Enhancements that improve safety and enhance the opportunities for alternative transportation methods, including transit ridership, biking and walking; and
3. A specific set of system enhancements including: upgrades to the Spokane Street Viaduct, construction of a new overpass on S. Lander Street, implementation of the Mercer Corridor Project, and the restoration and rehabilitation of the King Street Station.
Section 5. Notwithstanding the inclusion of funding for King Street Station improvements in this transportation funding package, the City has not made a decision to maintain long-term ownership of King Street Station in the event the City acquires King Street Station or to assume the lead role in improving or operating it.
Section 6. The Mayor and City Council recognize that in addition to providing significant additional funding for Seattle transportation projects, the City must expand its capacity to manage and cost-effectively deliver transportation improvements. SDOT is therefore requested to provide to the Mayor and Council, by no later than June 30, 2007, a staffing plan showing the new positions needed to complete Phase I of the projects shown in the 20-year Bridging the Gap spending plan. This initial phase corresponds to the projects that will be implemented over the first nine years of the overall plan. This staffing plan will identify the proposed schedule for adding the required personnel, summarize the cost of these personnel (per position), describe, in detail, the approach that will taken to recruiting and hiring the additional personnel, and report what progress has then been made to date in implementing this plan.