Mayor Jessie Palacios is hoping residents will decide new sidewalks are worth a couple of dollars a month and voluntarily contribute money to pay for projects no longer supported by a special tax.
“It’s not like a social program where you can’t see results,” Palacios said. “You can make some real improvements to the infrastructure without it being a big cost to everyone.”
Since 1992, the city has collected $2 a month per household and $1 per month per employee from businesses to pay for sidewalks, curbs and gutters. By the end of this year, the tax will have collected $251,000 and made it possible to build 2-1/2 miles of sidewalks.
But the city’s street tax became history Monday.
The City Council, acting on advice from the city attorney, voted to rescind the tax after a state Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that a similar tax levied by the city of Seattle is unconstitutional.
But Palacios said he’s not ready to give up on the city’s sidewalks.
“We’re asking for the people of Grandview and the businesses to voluntarily continue to contribute to this program,” he said. “We have a need to continue it.”
The city’s utility bills currently have the $2 street tax included on them. The bills will be changed to indicate residents voluntarily can continue paying the tax, Palacios said.
The city will continue to maintain a fund specifically for street improvements with the money raised through the voluntary payments, he said.
The city now is widening a sidewalk to accommodate children as they walk to McClure and Harriet Thompson elementary schools.