Voters in favor of sales tax hike, initial tallies show

Blaine is on its way to joining a series of cities throughout Washington that fund transportation projects for streets, sidewalks and trails through a sales tax thanks to Blaine residents who voted in the April 25 special election.

With the majority of ballots counted, a measure to increase Blaine’s sales tax by .2 percent has received overwhelming support from Blaine voters. At press time, more than 1,200 ballots had been counted; 884 voted in favor of the measure, while 333 voted against – that’s 72.6 percent in favor and 27.4 against. The election garnered an approximate 36 percent voter turnout.

The measure requires approval from a simple majority of voters and is set to raise the sales tax from 8.5 to 8.7 percent. City staff estimate the increase will generate $200,000 per year for 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 slated 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.

Following the initial count on April 25, Whatcom County Auditor Debbie Adelstein said the majority of votes had been tallied. The results will be certified on May 5.

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