Kalama 0.2% sales tax measure passing in early primary election results | Government and Politics

KALAMA — A city of Kalama measure proposing a 0.2% sales tax to pay for street repairs appears on track to pass in Tuesday’s initial ballot returns, after getting narrowly shot down in 2020.

The measure had about 58%, or 241, yes votes and about 42% or 173 no votes. It needs a simple majority to pass.

The tax would bring the city’s total sales tax to 8.1% and add 2 cents to a $10 purchase in city limits. City Administrator Adam Smee estimated it would raise about $130,000 to $150,000 annually for the city’s transportation benefit district.

Only voters inside the city limits saw the measure on the ballot. If approved, it would go into effect Jan. 1, with the city beginning to receive revenue in March, and last 10 years.

In the 2020 general election, city officials requested a recount after the measure lost by 14 votes.

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The argument for the measure states that with an anticipated increase in tourism and planned development, the tax is the best way to collect the necessary funds to maintain streets.

No argument against the measure was submitted for the voters’ guide. Earlier this year, Councilwoman Wendy Conradi opposed putting the measure on the ballot because the proposal has already failed and inflation has risen costs for citizens, she said.

Since getting rid of car tab fees in 2020, the city does not have a dedicated revenue stream to pay for repairs and improvements to neighborhood streets ineligible for state and federal funds. Kalama used the tab fees to fund its transportation benefit district, which can also be funded by the 0.2% sales tax.

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