City wants in on license fee discussion

MARYSVILLE We needed to make our voice known, said City Councilman Lee Phillips.
As expected, Council last week approved alerting the Snohomish County Council of the citys interest in at least discussing raising money for roadwork through fees on the renewal of vehicle license tabs.
If ultimately approved, the plan could add anywhere from $20 to $100 to the cost of renewing those license tabs. An increase of up to $20 per tab could arrive without voter approval giving the city roughly $650,000 for additional road and street work annually.
Phillips added the County Council really is taking the lead in discussions over the potential fees.
The letter basically stated we wanted to be included in that process, said Councilman Jon Nehring.
In order to collect the fees, the city would need to enter into whats been dubbed a transportation benefit district. The district could consist of cities from around Snohomish County or could be a joint effort of just a few communities. In any case, the district would distribute the funds collected to participating cities based on population or the number of registered vehicles.
If formation of a district moves forward, City Council still would have to agree to join the district and enter into agreement with other communities over how to split the money and what projects might be eligible.
As of last week, not counting Marysville, about five Snohomish County communities are in some stage of discussion regarding a benefit district. Like Marysville, Everett has informed the County Council they at least want to be part of any future talks.
The benefit districts are possible under state legislation passed some 20 years ago, but modified last year. In keeping with state-imposed deadlines, county leaders are asking local officials to indicate their interest or opposition to a district no later than this month.
Among Council members, none publicly have indicated whether or not they support formation of a district. Phillips said its to early in the process to take a stance one way or the other.
Everything is up in the air right now, he said. This was the baby step of saying we want to be on board if this moves forward.

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