Terrace’s top issue goes to vote

By Nick Fiorillo

Citizens of Mountlake Terrace will again decide the fate of Proposition 1, to build a new civic campus, on April 23. This is the third time Proposition 1 has been brought to the ballot.

Currently, the city of MLT is renting the interim city hall. However, funding for the rent is set to run out beginning in 2014.

Proposition 1 would pass a $25 million bond measure to construct a new civic center and would improve facilities such as the police station.

The city predicts the total cost to be $43 million dollars, paid off in the year 2063. The city said this would make MLT property owners’ taxes raise by an average of $10.13 per month after the first few years.

Opponents of Proposition 1 claim that the city is using faulty math to misrepresent the facts.

In a letter to the editor sent to MLTnews.com, Proposition 1 Leonard French wrote, “The campaign for the Civic Center Campus has been an unending series of distortions since the 2008 decision matrix used to formulate reasonable alternatives left off obvious choices.”

French cites multiple cases where, according to his own personal calculations, he came up with costs much different from what the city’s team came up with.

If Proposition 1 fails again the city is expecting two options to work as less attractive backup plans. The first is to pass a property tax levy. The other would be to cut into the city’s budget to pay for rent costs.

The city makes the case that Proposition 1 will end up being much more economically beneficial to citizens than continuing to rent.

If instead voters passed a property tax levy to provide funding for renting the interim city hall, the city estimates it would cost $18 million more by the time Proposition 1 is paid off.

The YES campaign has a strong online and social media presence, and this time around, it has lots of signs up for display. The “We love MLT” slogan and the “Yes for progress” slogan have been used to rally support for the civic center as community development.

Dustin Dekoekoek of the YES Campaign said, “This new construction in downtown MLT will continue to revitalize the neighborhood and give residents and visitors a reason stay downtown, rather than just driving by empty storefronts.”

The civic center problem is not just economic. Many city facilities are in desperate need of renovations and improvements.

Take for example the MLT Police Department (MTPD) building. The building has been outgrown by the growing police force. With offices being stuck in places such as closets and even holding cells, there is already not enough space.

MTPD officials said that the small, cramped facility results in privacy and safety issues.

Dekoekoek said, “The Police Station remodel will be safer for residents and our police and our officers will be able to spend more time protecting our community rather than dealing with the inefficiencies of an outdated and undersized facility.”

Citizens are encouraged to take a tour of the police department to see firsthand the effects of poor facilities.