The City of Sequim and the community have a problem – we have no Police Station and have been renting space in a shopping mall for the last 17 years. Our City Hall was built 38 years ago and is too small to accommodate today’s needs. As a result, we spend $200,000 per year to rent office space.
As Mayor and on behalf of the City Council, we believe it would be irresponsible not to propose a solution to this problem.
We have placed a public safety sales tax measure on the ballot on August 7 which will generate revenue to build a new Police Station and emergency operations center. The proposed sales tax is one-tenth of one percent which will increase the tax on a $10 purchase by one penny.
If voters approve the public safety sales tax, the revenue generated will provide the foundation for the City to leverage other revenues and allow us to build both a Police Station and City Hall.
This will allow the City to save money on the project by consolidating many common functions in one building that serves as a Police Station and City Hall. For example, the City now rents space for meeting rooms, lunchrooms, restrooms, copy centers and storage space in two different locations.
Any increase in taxes should always be questioned and justified, however, no one has questioned the need for the City to have a Police Station and a City Hall that meets the needs of the City as we move into our second century of incorporation.
The voters of the City will decide whether the time is right to approve the public safety sales tax and make this community investment.
The City Council decided to propose a sales tax to finance the new Police Station because this tax is collected from not just those living inside the City, but also from those who travel throughout the region to shop at our retail center. We estimate that two-thirds of the sales tax collected comes from non-City residents.
Although we are very fortunate to have a healthy regional retail base, the activity that comes along with the shoppers requires increased police support and other services.
We are all fortunate to live in the City of Sequim and enjoy the quality-of-life that is unique to the North Olympic Peninsula.
I urge you to support the public safety sales tax on Aug. 7; however, regardless of the outcome of the election, we will continue to provide excellent police and other services to support our community.
Ken Hays is Mayor of the City of Sequim.