Street maintenance proposition in Moses Lake narrowly passing

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MOSES LAKE — A proposition that if approved will institute a .20 percent sales tax and make funds available for street maintenance projects in Moses Lake is narrowly passing after Tuesday night’s unofficial general election results.

A 52.24 percent total of city residents voted for the measure, while 47.76 percent of residents voted against it. A few months back the Moses Lake council passed an ordinance to create a Transportation Benefit District, which has the authority to impose a .20 percent sales tax, subject to a simple majority via referendum vote, and impose a vehicle licensing fee. All funds generated through the two avenues must be used for street maintenance projects.

The board imposed a $20 tab in February, which the city started collecting in October. The decision was also made to put the sales tax measure on yesterday’s ballot.

The sales tax increase is projected to raise around $1.4 million annually and will end in 10 years. If ultimately passed, the funds will come in handy, as the city currently has a $13.4 million backlog of projects that are in need of funding, ranging from street overhauls to crack and chip seal projects. The decision was previously made to discontinue the $20 tab fee when the sales tax proposition is passed.

Tuesday night’s results are unofficial. The Grant County Auditor’s Office reports there are still 10,426 ballots left to be counted. The next scheduled ballot count is set for today at 4:30 p.m.. The results will be certified by the state auditor’s office Nov. 28.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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