Council to consider placing street levy, park bond proposals on ballot

Public comment will be accepted on both July 21 & 28

Marlene Feist, Utilities Communications Manager, (509) 625-6505

Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 10:20 a.m.

The Spokane City Council is expected to vote at its regular meeting on Monday, July 28, on resolutions to place a proposed street levy and a proposed bond for Riverfront Park on the ballot in November. 

The Council will accept public testimony on the two issues at its July 21 and 28 meetings. The meetings will be held at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart first announced the streets and parks refinancing proposals back in early May. The proposals provide for significant new work for the community at the same rate that citizens pay today for streets and parks.

Currently, Spokane’s citizens pay 91 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value toward the repayment of three street and park bonds. With strategic refinancing, the dollars generated from that same level of funding could be used to provide:

  • $25 million annually for street funding. That level of spending, which includes matching funding, would maintain the level of street work completed annually on under the 2004 Street Bond. Work could be focused on the City’s arterials.
  • $64.3 million for a one-time investment in Riverfront Park that’s consistent with its new master plan, which was developed with considerable public input.

The City also would pay off all remaining debt on the bond issues.

The street levy and park bond would be separate items on the ballot, and citizens would make independent decisions about each one. Both items are for 20 years.

For streets, citizens currently are paying 57 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $57 a year on a $100,000 home, for repayment of the 2004 Street Bond. Payments are currently scheduled to continue for another 16 years without any additional street improvements.

For that same 57 cents per $1,000 of value, a levy would generate around $5 million a year to fund new street work. Those funds would be matched with state, local, and federal transportation and utility dollars to support about $20 million to $25 million in street improvements annually. The City would take an integrated approach to this work, prioritizing projects based on multiple needs, including pavement condition, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, mass transit, utility infrastructure, stormwater management, and economic development opportunities.

For parks, citizens currently pay 34 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or $34 a year on a $100,000 home, for repayment of two park bonds. Some bond payments are scheduled to continue through 2027, without any additional park enhancements. For that same 34 cents per $1,000 of value, a new bond would provide more than $60 million to implement the new Riverfront Park Master Plan and still pay off the remaining debt from the 2007 issue.

More information on these initiatives can be found here.