In a time when there is so much confusion in the world, this makes sense.
We are talking about raising the sales tax in the city of Marysville 1/10th of a cent. The issue is on the Aug. 7 ballot, which you should be getting in the mail anytime. Property taxes are not affected.
If you are buying food, prescriptions or a car, you won’t pay the added tax.
So, for example, if you spend $2,000 a year you would pay an additional $2.
The money goes toward a new Public Safety Building. Officers, and inmates too, are crammed into the current one, built 32 years ago. The desire for a new police department and jail has been in the works for years. The problem was how to fund it. A consultant two years ago said one would cost $43 million. When city workers pared it down, the cost now is $23 million.
Some say we should fix our schools in town first. That may be true, but the school district’s last proposal a few years was going to cost us hundreds upon hundreds of dollar each. This cost to us is minimal. This financing plan is pure genius. It will be paid by anyone who shops in Marysville, so the burden isn’t just on local taxpayers. The sales tax in town would go to 9.2 percent, which would still be less than in many other cities in Snohomish County. The current Public Safety Building on Grove used to handle 24 officers in 1986, when the population was about 8,000. Now, with a populations of 67,000, about 100 officers are crammed in there. An example, a former storage room converted into an office for one now has six workers in there. In the next 20 years, the city is expected to grow to 90,000. Delaying building it means one will only cost more in the future.
Some wonder why we need a jail. Marysville has a reputation for being tough on crime. Crime is one of the top concerns of our citizens.
One of the reasons crime is going down here is Marysville police take their prisoners to jail. Cities that don’t have one take their prisoners to Everett or Des Moines. Because Snohomish County’s jail is so packed, it often turns prisoners away.
Transporting prisoners takes officers off the streets, where they are a deterrent to crime. In many area cities, crimes are catch and release, so there is no accountability. There is no reason for them to stop doing criminal activity.
The jail also is overcrowded, with about seven prisoners in each of the seven cells. The sales tax change would provide $800,000 a year, about 70 percent of what’s needed. The remaining $338,000 each year would come from the general fund. A new Public Safety Building would house 110 employees and 50 cells for 110 inmates. It would be built on 6 acres between Fourth and Eighth streets, east of the railroad tracks and west of Comeford Park. Construction would start next spring, with the move-in date sometime in 2020. The jail would be almost four times larger and space for police almost three times larger.
While that facility would be great for the community, we are even more excited about it being the first step in giving Marysville a whole new sense of pride – with a Civic Campus.
If that ballot measure passes, the city hopes to sell off public building and property spread out all over town and consolidate them into one Civic Campus. That would cost an estimated $20 million and would include city hall, city courts, community development/engineering and a new community center. That would require no new taxes. Selling city assets would pay it all.
Mayor Jon Nehring has said residents would love it because it’s a “one-stop shop” and a “real source of pride for the community.”
We agree. Please pass the ballot measure Aug. 7.