Bainbridge Island goes quiet on new car tax

The island’s latest car tax was greeted with silence Wednesday.

After the council chamber lay empty for a public hearing on what could become a $20 tax on island vehicles, the city’s new Transportation Benefit District board voted to move the matter on for final approval at a special meeting on the topic on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

The meeting was quick, as no one appeared to comment. The board also allotted more time for the issue, waiting for islanders to show, yet the room remained silent.

The city’s recently formed Transportation Benefit District board, composed of the city council, has been lingering on a $20 vehicle excise tax during its recent meetings.

If given a final approval the fee will be collected at the Department of Licensing when islanders register their vehicles, but not for six months.

Revenue raised by the car tab fee will pay for road improvements across Bainbridge Island.

The city has estimated that the new fee could generate approximately $330,000 each year from the more than 18,000 vehicles on Bainbridge Island.

Funding road improvements has been a challenge for the city in recent years.

There was no funding for road repairs or maintenance in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2011, the city was able to find $400,000 for street work, and $600,000 in 2012.

Still, the funding has not been enough. City staff has told the city council that island roads need roughly $2 million in funding for adequate upkeep.

The city council is currently deliberating over its next biennial budget, and suggestions have been made for shifting more funds toward road projects.


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