Work on projects to begin in 2017
Following Tuesday's General Election, results are continuing to come in and Bellevue voters are on target for approving two ballot measures -- a levy for fire facilities and a levy for neighborhood safety, connectivity and congestion -- to address a backlog of fire facility upgrades and neighborhood transportation needs in Bellevue. Each property tax levy will fund the projects over a 20-year period, beginning in 2017. The final election results will be certified on Nov. 29.
As of Thursday afternoon with 46,337 ballots counted, election results from the King County Department of Elections showed the Fire Facilities measure (Proposition 1) is passing with a 58 percent approval by Bellevue voters and the transportation-focused Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion measure (Proposition 2) is also passing with a 54 percent approval by Bellevue voters. Propositions for transportation and capital projects require a simple majority vote (50 percent plus one) to pass.
"We asked Bellevue voters for the opportunity to speed up the delivery of key improvements to fire facilities and neighborhood transportation projects, and they responded in an affirmative way," said Mayor John Stokes. "On behalf of the City Council, I want to thank the community for its support for these ballot measures and assure everyone that their tax dollars will be spent wisely and effectively."
The total cost of the two property tax levies approved Tuesday is estimated at approximately $176 per year for the owner of a median home in Bellevue with an assessed value of $640,000. That breaks down to $80 for the fire facilities levy (12.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value), or $120 million total over 20 years; and $96 for the transportation levy (15 cents per $1,000 of assessed value), or $140 million total.
Revenue from the Fire Facilities levy will go towards the following: seismic retrofits at all nine fire stations, construction of a new fire station to serve downtown and the surrounding area, other remodeling or expansion of existing stations, and warehouse space to store and repair special equipment.
"The Fire Department's master plan identified deficiencies in our fire facilities that could affect our ability to provide critical services to the community during emergency situations," explained Fire Chief Mark Risen. "Thanks to the voters' approval of the Fire Facilities levy, we can now begin making immediate safety improvements to our fire stations and build Fire Station 10, all of which will help us better serve our residents and businesses."
Revenue from the Neighborhood Safety, Connectivity and Congestion levy will be used to reduce a backlog of work that includes: projects to reduce neighborhood congestion, neighborhood safety projects, new sidewalks and trails, technology for safety and traffic management, enhanced maintenance and new bike facilities.
"Over the years, residents have handed the Transportation Department a lengthy to-do list of neighborhood projects they want addressed. Approval of this levy will help us cross off those tasks more rapidly," said Transportation Director Dave Berg. "Now, with the voters' support, we'll work hard for you in delivering these projects that will improve safety in the neighborhoods."
Through a public process in the coming year, the City Council will consider the specific projects that will be funded over the next two years through the levy, as an amendment to the Capital Investment Program budget. In future years, the council will approve levy projects through the regular biennial budget process for the CIP.
More information on the fire facilities and transportation projects is available on the city's ballot measures page.
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