October 4, 1999
DUVALL--Mayor Glen Kuntz hoped for citizen input on the possible impacts of I-695 at a public meeting last week. Problem was, the public didn't show up.
"We were hoping that enough people would be here so we could find out what their priorities are," said Kuntz. "If this (I-695) passes, we will need to make some tough decisions in January."
The initiative, on the November ballot, would repeal the state motor vehicle excise tax, or MVET, on vehicles licensed in the state of Washington. It would also require voter approval for new or increased taxes or fees proposed by state, county, and local governments. The initiative requires a simple majority to pass.
About 47 percent of the MVET goes to state transportation programs, 29 percent to local transit districts, and 24 percent to local governments for transportation, criminal justice, and other purposes.
The King County Department of Transportation says that I-695 would reduce taxes and fees by up to $1.1 billion in the 1999-2000 biennium, which will affect transit operations and road services.
Duvall Councilmember Pat Fullmer said that if the initiative passes, voters will have to take more responsibility. "All those fees and tax changes will have to go to a vote of the people," she said. "Citizens will have to pay more attention."
City Finance Director Kevin Brenner said that personnel and maintenance would be the areas first to be cut. "Health and safety issues take top priority," he said. "And we have limited means to move money around."
City officials are attempting to prioritize needs in the community using a budget ballot. Citizens are being asked to provide input on budget items, such as parks, streets, police services, arts, administrative, finance, planning, building, and engineering.
"We need to put together the year 2000 budget," Fullmer said. "If this passes, the city will have 23 percent less money. But we are having a hard time getting people's involvement in issues. The advantage is that Duvall is a small town and it is easier to explain to people if something is needed."