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Snohomish residents to be asked to renew city sales tax for roads

SNOHOMISH — Voters will be asked this August to continue the city’s 0.2 percent sales tax for roads under what’s called the Transportation Benefit District.
People can apply to be on the committees that will write the “for” and “against” statements for the voter’s pamphlet now through Feb. 19.
The city uses the money largely to fix and repave roads, but also as its seed fund to put up matching dollars required from state and federal grants for road projects.
This time around, if passed, money would go toward replacing the stoplight at Pine Avenue and Second Street to improve traffic flow and to put a traffic light at Bickford Avenue and 19th Place.
Not on the list is the Second Street revamp. The city is not ready to ask for grants this year, Mayor John Kartak told City Council members last week.
A second item not on the list is the planned stoplight at Bickford and Weaver Road. The city plans to pay for that using government grants.
The fix at Pine and Second would let the city synchronize the stoplights on Second at Maple, Lincoln and Pine, city administrator Steve Schuller said, and add a left turn light for Second Street drivers turning north to Pine. The light at Pine and Second right now is too old to do these, Schuller said.
The light on 19th at Bickford would alleviate the long lines of traffic coming off of state Route 9 trying to jump onto Bickford. The city rates the almost-$1 million project as high priority.
The sales tax is worth 2 cents for every $10 spent in town, and generates upward of $1 million a year. The money pays for most of the city’s repaving jobs, Schuller explained.
The City Council was not interested in putting changes to the four-way intersection at Maple and Pine avenues among what would go into the package requested of voters. It was suggested as an option from city administration. The early concepts for that intersection might be a roundabout or to split Pine into two intersections along Maple, Schuller described at last week’s meeting. The idea of two T-intersections for Pine raised the greatest concern at the council meeting.
These concepts need more public feedback before going to voters, Councilman Steve Dana said.
In 2011, voters approved a 10-year Transportation Benefit District tax, which is why the item is coming to the ballot in 2021. In those 10 years, the money raised helped pay for adding turn lanes at the intersection at state Route 9 and 30th Street and adding the roundabout on Avenue D at 15th Street to replace a five-way stop that heavily backed up traffic.

Looking for volunteers
The city is looking for volunteers to write the ballot measure’s “for” and “against” statements in the voter’s pamphlet. The deadline to be nominated is Friday, Feb. 19.
To state your interest, write to Deputy City Clerk Brandi Whitson at , via mail to City of Snohomish, Attn: City Clerk’s Office, P.O. Box 1589, Snohomish, WA 98291-1589, or drop off a letter in the city’s utility drop box at City Hall, 116 Union Ave.




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