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Owners of cars registered in Spokane will start paying an additional $20 to license their cars starting Sept. 1 to pay for the city’s new vehicle tax.
The state Department of Licensing finalized the date earlier this month.
The Spokane City Council approved the tab fee on Feb. 14. State law says tab fees become effective six months after approval. Department of Licensing spokesman Brad Benfield said the state prefers to start collections at the beginning of a month.
The council created a Transportation Benefit District last year. That decision gave the city the ability to approve tab taxes up to $20 without voter approval.
City officials expect to collect about $2.6 million in the first full year of collections. Most of the money will be used for street maintenance. Ten percent was earmarked for sidewalks.
In Spokane, the total required fees for most passenger cars, including the tax, will increase to $63.75. Vehicles weighing from 4,001 to 6,000 pounds will pay $73.75, and vehicles from 6,001 pounds to 8,000 pounds will pay $83.75.
Mayor Mary Verner told the Spokane City Council on Tuesday that she will reconvene a committee that will help form policy on paving streets and select opportunities to focus "complete streets" efforts.
For the most part, the city's 2004 street bond has been used only to reconstruct streets from curb-to-curb, a policy that has been challenged by some members of City Council who believe it should also be used to improve sidewalks and make other upgrades. Verner has stood by the curb-to-curb use of the street bond, but has worked to supplement that money with grants and other funds to add amenities on certain projects.
Talk in Tuesday's meeting often turned to funding, specifically on the proposed tab tax that will be considered by the Spokane City Council next month. As you can hear in the above clips, passion among the council members about streets is high.
Spokane City Council members on Monday decided to give themselves new taxing authority.
The council voted 5-2 to create a “Transportation Benefit District.” The decision means the council will have the ability to enact a vehicle tab tax up to $20. Higher tab taxes would require public votes.
The decision did not enact any tax. Council members said they likely will hold a hearing on a proposed fee as early as November.
While the money raised would have to be spent on street and transportation projects, the law allows the city to divert other revenue currently spent on streets.
Council members Bob Apple and Nancy McLaughlin voted against the proposal. Council members said they likely will dissolve the district if the county forms a regional district at a later date. Apple said any fee should go on a ballot.