King County Youth Center Levy Increase (August 2012)

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A King County Youth Center Levy Increase measure was on the August 7, 2012 ballot in King County.

This measure would increase the current county property tax, by a rate of $.07 per $1,000 of assessed value. The money would go towards rebuilding the county youth service center. The money would not pay for later operational costs of the new facility, if it is built.

The county attempted to pass a proposal in the Council which would have increased the sales tax in the county. The extra money would have gone towards rebuild the center, but the proposal failed. County officials said that the proposed 2012 tax is only enough to pay for renovations, but residents have commented that any additional property tax is too much. Overcrowding, bad heating and cooling, run down facilities and additional maintenance issues have become more problematic at the facility, according to reports. Council members have stated that the time to fix the center is "now."[1]

Election Results

King County Youth Center
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 111,596 52.63%
No100,45247.37%


Source: King County Elections, Primary Election Results

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

The King County council passed Ordinance No. 17304 concerning a replacement facility for juvenile justice and family law services. This proposition would authorize King County to levy an additional property tax for nine years to fund capital costs to replace the Children and Family Justice Center, which serves the justice needs of children and families. It would authorize King County to levy an additional regular property tax of $0.07 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for collection in 2013. Increases in the following eight years would be subject to the limitations in chapter 84.55 RCW, all as provided in Ordinance No. 17304.[2][3]

Support

The Seattle Times supports the measure. They argue that the tax would help with needed repairs and upgrades. The tax, they said, does not include anything non-essential for the center. The existing three buildings would be replaced with one large facility. The current facilities are unable to accommodate everyone who needs help and the levy would go towards ensuring safety for the children who obtain help through the center.[4]

Opposition

Those opposed to the measure stated that while the conditions are note ideal at the facility, with the county facing larger budget shortfalls in the coming year, they cannot justify adding more taxes to local resident's rates.

Others argue that a better option would be to issue a bond for replacing the center rather than a straight property tax. The cost for the facility would be around $400 million. Some county officials said that they cannot justify paying that much money when other items need funds as well.[5]

See also

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