Tax rates go down in Marysville

MARYSVILLE – If the proposed biennial budget is approved by the City Council Nov. 26, property owners will see their tax rates go down.

City finance director Sandy Langdon said the $352 million budget would cost taxpayers $1.76 per $1,000 valuation, down from $1.97 per thousand. On a $300,000 home, that would be $5,280 a year, down $630.

However, taxpayers need to understand with assessed valuations rising the amount you pay could be more.

In budget discussions Monday, Mayor Jon Nehring assured the public that it “gets a great value for every tax dollar.”

Of the total budget, he said 70 percent goes to water, sewer and garbage – “services we all want.”

The rest makes up the General Fund, which is $108 million. About two-thirds of that goes to public safety, law and justice.

That leaves $37 million for streets, parks and other city departments.

As has been the case during all of Nehring’s time as mayor, there aren’t any frills in his budget plan. “Not a lot of new programs,” he said.

The biggest change is four new police officers over the two years. Police also would like to change their handguns to 9 mm, which would be less costly than their current guns, their request says. Police also want a new polygraph and updates to forensics.

The First Street Bypass is a big project as it will unclog local traffic downtown as the state tries to unclog Interstate 5 with the Highway 529 interchange.

There is also development of Olympic View Park on the hillside west of the Qwuloolt Estuary, along with money for connecting Bayview and Centennial trails.

Nehring continues to push the city to develop its own water systems so it doesn’t have to “buy water for five or six times more” of a cost. So the budget includes water system upgrades to keep water rates stable.

There is also $11.16 million in the budget for the new Civic Campus west of Comeford Park. Some reserves will be used to help fund the new Public Safety Building.

Also at the meeting, the council OK’d a public event for the Fourth of July next year. In an effort to provide an alternative to personal use of fireworks, which the city banned a few years ago, the city will host a community event at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. The event will feature music, vendors and activities.

The festival would be supported by city personnel, volunteers and civic organizations highlighted by a 25-minute choreographed professional fireworks display. Funding support includes the fireworks, facility fees and equipment rentals. Funding includes rollover of the 2018 Hotel Motel Award of $15,000 and funding from the 2019 Hotel Motel Fund at a level of $26,150.

Other hotel-motel tax grants also were approved by the council: Public Works, the Police Department and the Marysville Strawberry Festival each get $20,000; the Parks Department gets $15,000 each for an Opera House marquee and marketing plan; the Twilight XC Invitational, county tourism bureau and Brew and Cider Fest each get $5,000; Poochapalooza gets $3,500; and Red Curtain receives $2,000.

Also, Parks director Jim Ballew said former city chief administrative officer Mary Swenson will be the grand marshal for the 30th Merrysville for the Holidays parade Dec. 1.

He also said he is meeting with the Tulalip Tribes to discuss duck hunting in the estuary as neighbors have complained about the noise.

Police Chief Rick Smith warned residents that with the holidays coming up, thefts increase. He said neighbors need to get with neighbors to watch for thieves stealing packages on front porches. He said cover up packages left in vehicles. “It’s a crime of opportunity,” Smith said.

In other news:

•The council approved a $241,000 Department of Ecology grant that would clean up Allen Creek in Jennings Park. The objective is to reduce stream water temperature, establish a natural buffer to pollutants, provide habitat for native fauna, and stabilize eroding stream banks. The Snohomish Conservation District would do the work at no cost to the city. •The council OK’d increasing business building heights downtown from 35 feet to 85 feet.

•An expansion of 10 units over 2 acres at La Tierra was approved. Currently there are 62 mobile homes over 10 acres.

•Approved a $250,000 DOE grant for a historic downtown Green Retrofit Project.

•Police have raised $1,800 for Providence Cancer Care by growing beards in November.

•There were proclamations regarding Small Business Saturday and National Hospice Palliative Care Month.

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