Residents voted to continue the Transportation Benefit District tax through 2029 to fund such projects as this chip-sealing earlier this year on River Road. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Residents voted to continue the Transportation Benefit District tax through 2029 to fund such projects as this chip-sealing earlier this year on River Road. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Residents renew Sequim’s transportation tax

SEQUIM — City transportation projects in Sequim will continue uninterrupted after voters agreed to support a special tax through 2029.

Sequim residents voted to renew the 10-year Transportation Benefit District, TBD, in the general election with 2,075 yes votes, or 77.3 percent, to 609 no votes, or 22.7 percent, in Tuesday night’s initial count.

The two-tenths of 1 percent sales tax requires 50-percent of voters plus one vote to pass.

Public Works Director David Garlington said budgeting in 2019 remains unaffected because the first 10 years of the TBD don’t expire until Dec. 31, 2019. Now the tax will continue at the same rate through Dec. 31, 2029, without a break in collection.

“It’s status quo,” he said. “With it passing, we just keep moving forward and with a better economy, we’ll have more funds to spend on our transportation system.”

Leading up to the vote, Garlington said he hadn’t heard of any resistance to continuing the tax and no one signed on to write a negative comment for the Clallam County Voter’s Guide against it.

Residents first approved the TBD in November 2009 after defeating it the year before. Since 2010, the tax has brought in more than $5 million for transportation improvement projects, such as building sidewalks and improving street lighting. It represents about one-third of the city’s annual funding for street projects, Garlington said.

Collected taxes for the fund go only to transportation projects. City staff estimates about two-thirds of the funds come from non-city residents.

City staff said the TBD grew from $314,000 in 2010 collected to just over $700,000 last year.

Street renovations make up the largest portion of the TBD’s funding, Garlington said, along with creating pedestrian facilities, such as new sidewalks and ramps along Blake Avenue near Carrie Blake Community Park.

The TBD paid $561,000 for pavement preservation and $100,000 for crack sealing. It’s also paid for several projects such as overlay projects along River Road.

For more information about the Transportation Benefit District, call 360-683-4908 or visit the Sequim Civic Center at 152 W. Cedar St.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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