On Wednesday I wrote a post about the Yakima City Council preparing to look into increasing future city revenue with a possible increase in property taxes through a mechanism called a Property Tax Lid Lift or by a City Charter change to free up money now dedicated to streets and parks.
Councilwoman Kay Funk brought it up at the end of the July 2nd meeting as something to discuss for possible council action next year.
To be clear, there is no guarantee or plan at this point with both Funk and councilman Brad Hill agreeing it was too late to look into for this year, but also agreeing it would need to be considered before the 2020 budget conversations begin.
My original post was a heads up to the community that property taxes and Charter change my be something that "could" appear on a ballot next year.
I also speculated that the Charter change was a dead end because the 2 and three quarters of a million dollars per annual budget dedicated to streets and parks was committed to completed and existing projects for the next decade and a half but I wasn't 100% certain.
I reached out to City Director of Communication, Randy Beehler to double check my memory. His email response: "The money is being used for debt service for the next several years. The various bonds that are being repaid using the Charter amendment’s set asides vary in length. So, some of the bonds will be paid off sooner than others.
My guess is the bonds still with the most time remaining on them will be paid off in maybe 15 or 18 years. Something like that."
So my memory is right and a Charter change wouldn't yield any extra money and in fact it would call for citizens to vote to overturn something they fully supported just 6 years ago.
Perhaps the time between now and next year's budget talks could be best spent looking how to spend less?
One last point. File it under astute observation or under sour grapes, your call.
Council member Funk, asking to look at increasing property taxes and undoing popular Charter changes in a quest for more revenue, is the very council member who changed her vote on the plaza project at the last minute, effectively killing it. You'll recall the purpose of the plaza project and the 9 1/2 million donated dollars was economic development - a way to raise more revenue through business expansion without raising your property taxes.