Transportation Benefit District boundary set

The Sequim City Council has set boundaries for a Transportation Benefit District at the Sequim city limits. By doing so, the city council gives city residents the opportunity to vote on whether to tax themselves for street projects.

The city has a six-year transportation improvement plan. However, with a tight budget the city cannot fund the projects, which is why the council looked into the TBD and at its July 14 meeting, adopted an ordinance defining the TBD’s boundaries.

City of Sequim registered voters will vote on whether or not to tax themselves an extra two-tenths of 1 percent on discretionary purchases. The sales tax increase will not apply to gas, food or mortgages.

City councilors Ken Hays, Erik Erichsen and Mayor Laura Dubois voted in favor of the district’s creation. Councilors Bill Huizinga and Walt Schubert voted against the boundary formation. Councilors Susan Lorenzen and Paul McHugh were not present.

“This is the first step and does not by any means indicate people will be taxed, that will be up to them in November,” Dubois said. “I truly believe that this can help the city and help local businesses, not hurt them.”

Schubert voted against the boundary, indicating he thought it would conflict with the Olympic Medical Center levy that will be voted on in August and could hurt local businesses.

“The word on the street is no new taxes and during a recession is not the time to worry about a new sidewalk,” Schubert said.

Hays said he supported the measure because it puts the decision up to the people. Now, after the first step of forming the boundary of the taxing district, the city will hold a public outreach meeting to educate the public on why it is putting forward a possible tax and to receive public input on the move.

The Transportation Benefit District meeting is set for 10 a.m. July 26 in the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.

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