The city of Sammamish is inviting its residents to a roundtable discussion on the city’s finances on April 27.
The community roundtable will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Sammamish City Hall. Any and all residents who would like to offer their opinions are welcome to attend.
“We’ve always been financially healthy and we’re going to remain that way,” Sammamish City Manager Lyman Howard said in a press release. “But it doesn’t happen by accident. As we have in the past, we’re going to look at the facts, consider the options and make sensible plans with the help of our residents.”
The city will be seeking input as it addresses such local issues as accelerated residential growth and traffic congestion. At the council’s January retreat, the city’s finance director Aaron Antin told council members the city’s operating expenditure rates are expected to meet its operating revenue rates by 2020.
“We’ve heard calls for more roads and the preservation of open space,” Howard said. “But will those requests stand if they require the collection of more tax revenue? We’re hoping to get some insight into that question at the April 27 roundtable.”
For the past eight years, the city of Sammamish hasn’t taken the 1 percent annual increase in property tax revenue allowed by law, opting instead to bank it for future use. Should the city move forward with that increase, that banked capacity would produce $1.6 million, the city stated.
Another option would be a utility tax, which Sammamish currently does not impose. The city stated a 2 percent utility tax would bring in $2.2 million per year.
Though Howard said new taxes don’t have to be part of the picture.
“We can always keep our revenue steady, and adjust our infrastructure and other spending to match the available funds. We’re not going into this roundtable with a preconceived notion that taxes need to go up,” he said.
After the April roundtable, the city plans to launch a Virtual Town Hall survey on finances in May. The Sammamish City Council will then hold a financial retreat from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 29 at City Hall. Residents are welcome to attend the retreat, the city stated.