Lacey City Council members Thursday quickly rejected the idea of having a special election in April to fund its Transportation Benefit District.
Council members agreed they need more time to educate voters about the ballot measure.
“I fully support the Transportation Benefit District,” said Councilman Lenny Greenstein, “but April 26 is too soon to get the proper public input. We need to delay this action.”
So they did. The council voted unanimously against the special election resolution.
The council has already formed the district, but they need to fund it. Voters would need to approve increasing the city’s sales tax rate to 8.9 percent from 8.7 percent. If approved, the funding mechanism would remain in place for 10 years, raising about $1.6 million annually to help fund road improvements.
Olympia and Tumwater also have transportation benefit districts. Olympia funds it with vehicle tab fees while Tumwater recently approved a sales tax increase.
Scuttling the April special election likely means that the ballot measure is headed to the August primary ballot. The council has already ruled out November’s general election, saying the ballot measure could be overlooked by voters focused on the presidential election and other high-profile races.
“We need adequate time to make sure we can talk to constituents,” Councilman Jeff Gadman said. “We can state what this is for and why we’re asking for it.”