With ballots expected to hit mailboxes as soon as April 7, Blaine city staff are ramping up outreach efforts to answer last-minute questions about a measure to increase the sales tax.
Two open house meetings are scheduled in April to discuss the idea of increasing the city’s sales tax to fund a Transportation Benefit District in Blaine. Monies collected would be used to fund transportation projects for streets, sidewalks and trails.
The first of two meetings will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 at the Blaine Public Library, located at 610 3rd Street. The other will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 17 at the Semiahmoo Fire Hall, located at 9001 Semiahmoo Parkway.
If approved by a simple majority of voters during the April 25 special election, the sales tax would increase by .2 percent – that’s from 8.5 to 8.7 percent – and is expected to generate an estimated $200,000 per year for transportation projects over the next 10 years. Money would be collected through a Transportation Benefit District, which the city council voted to form in January.
The funding is expected to address needs outlined by residents out of the city’s recent strategic economic initiative. Out of the 933 responses derived from citywide surveys, trails and streets were near the top of the priority list. Neighboring Bellingham, Lynden and Ferndale already fund transportation projects through transportation benefit districts using a sales tax.
To learn more about the sales tax measure, see page 10 for a Q&A, featuring Blaine public works director