The City of Redmond has hosted two open house events regarding the proposed/potential Levy for 2015/2016. The items proposed are based on a recent survey (August 2014) by the city about community priorities. If approved, the funds would be in use beginning fiscal year 2017.
Amount of the proposed Levy:
“The actual levy proposal amount is pending Council’s decision on what services to include in the levy, though it is estimated to in in the 25-40 cent per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. At this range, it is estimated to impact the average Redmond homeowner (of a $500,000 home) approximately $15-$18 per month. “ (Lisa Rhodes, Communication Manager, City of Redmond, via email)
Are the levy funds separated by priority/focus? “…the potential levy-funded services are grouped by priority (infrastructure, parks, public safety). In its levy considerations, the Council will also decide if any levy would combine these proposals in one levy or address them in service-priority specific levies.”
Time Frame of Levy: 6 years, beginning 2017
Ratings results will form recommendations that will be presented to City Council at the February 17, 2015, meeting and offered for a vote, after approval by Council; possibly as early as August 2015.
Survey responders were asked to rate 6 priorities for the budget: Clean & Green, Vibrant Economy, Responsible Government, Infrastructure, Connected Community and Safety.
Based on the results of the survey the top 3 priorities were Clean & Green (Parks), Safety (Police) and Infrastructure (Roads, etc.)
The first link above has 3 PDF documents that were available for viewing at the Open house; Infrastructure, Parks and Public Safety.
I’ll discuss Infrastructure first.
“Invest in Asphalt & Pavement Maintenance on Local and Arterial Streets”
- The City maintains 219 lane miles of arterial and 128 lane miles of local streets.
- It’s more cost effective to repair/resurface the roads instead of replacing.
“Invest in Sidewalks, Crosswalks, & Safe Pedestrian Crossings”
- City maintains 454 crosswalks, 515 stop bars and 2900 pavement symbols.
- A stop bar is the broad strip on the road before the stop sign.
- Pavement symbols are all the other markings on the roadways
“Invest in Bridge Repair”
The City has 18 bridges ranging in age from 45 years (1970) to present (2006)
Next is Park Improvements
“Continue to Enhance Park Service Levels Through Additional Park & Trail Maintenance”
- Backlog of project & repairs is $3.6 million
“Invest in Idylwood Park & Parking Lot”
“Invest in Farrel McWhirter Park Safety Improvements”
“Invest in Neighborhood Parks – SE Redmond, Westside & NE Redmond”
“Invest in Phase II of the SE Redmond Park Improvements”
“Invest in Phase II of the Perrigo Park Accessible Playground & Park Improvements”
“Invest in Phase II of the NE Neighborhood Park Improvements”
“Support Anderson Park Restroom Renovations”
Finally is Public Safety
“Continue to Enhance Police Service, School Resource Officers & Firefighters from Previous Levy”
“Invest in Additional Police Personnel to Reduce Property Crime”
- “two additional officers in 2017-18 dedicated to investigating offenders responsible for property crimes in Redmond”
- State of Washington property crime rate per 1000 – 38.6
- * City of Redmond property crime rate per 1000 – 43.8
“Invest in Police Personnel for Additional Patrol & Evidence Processing”
- Two additional Officers in 2017-18 dedicated to neighborhood problem solving (Neighborhood Resources Officers)
- Two additional Patrol Officers in 2019-20 dedicated to crime reduction at times and locations identified as high crime hot spots
- One additional specialist in 2016 to manage the increase in evidence and personal property
- Calls for service have increased from 24,000 in 2010 to over 24,500 in 2014
- Property/Evidence intake has increased from roughly 2,700 in 2010 to almost 4,000 in 2014
Overall, it was a very informal event, with city council members, police and other city staff available to answer questions. The City had tables set up with small laptops for ease of voting, or you could return the back page of the handout with your support votes; I completed the survey using my phone.
The Open House survey online has an interactive section for entering in the assessed value of your home so you can calculate the monthly and yearly cost of the levy for your household/zip code. The example given was a $500k assessed value in a 98052 Zip Code; $18.03/month $216.30/year property tax increase.
I entered in $500k value with 98052 Zip code and came up with $16.86/month $202.35 a year increase. That’s roughly 5 vente mochas (Starbucks cost) per month for 6 years.