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City of Des Moines

Proposition No. 1
Utility Occupation Tax for Des Moines Beach Park and Streets

The Des Moines City Council adopted Resolution No. 1169 concerning a proposition to increase the City Utility Occupation Tax to restore Beach Park Historic District buildings and facilities;  fund maintenance and operations;  and for City street paving improvements.  This proposition would restore Des Moines Beach Park Historic Buildings and facilities; fund maintenance and operations; and improve City streets to prevent their further deterioration.  This proposition increases the current 6% utility occupation tax to 9% authorizing:  (1) 1% for Beach Park capital projects for 20 years or until capital bonds are repaid and thereafter that 1% tax ends; (2) 0.5% for Beach Park maintenance and operations; and (3) 1.5% for City street paving improvements.

Should this proposition be:



If approved by voters, Proposition 1 would authorize the City of Des Moines to increase the Utility Occupation Tax on City utilities from 6% to 9% to provide funding for Des Moines Beach Park Historic District facility renovation and City street pavement overlays and repairs.  The decline in Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) and reduction of property values have reduced the sources of revenue which had provided funding for the City’s municipal facilities and streets capital construction projects.  Funds from the increase would provide: (1) 1% dedicated to Des Moines Beach Park capital improvements to: restore and reopen the park’s historic Dining Hall, Sun Home Lodge, Picnic Shelter, Restroom, and Cabins and Cottages; renovate the Founders Lodge; replace the play area and wood bridge; install irrigation and pathways; and repair roadways, parking areas and utilities.  The City would issue 20 year bonds with this 1% tax and this tax would end once the bonds are repaid; (2) 1/2% dedicated to Beach Park buildings and facilities maintenance and operations and repairs and replacement; and (3) 1.5% dedicated to repaving, repairing and renovating City streets.  Individual street projects would be selected based on pavement condition and the optimum time to minimize overall street system preservation, reactive maintenance and rehabilitation costs.  Taxes received and money spent will be tracked so the public can be assured that their money is being used for these purposes and not for other general expenses. 

This is an opportunity for Des Moines voters to direct where our Tax Dollars are invested to protect and enhance the quality of life IN OUR TOWN. No one likes increased taxes, but in these difficult times your yes vote protects the economic and cultural future of Des Moines, at the equivalent cost per household of about one Latte per week.

A yes vote will create funds dedicated to ongoing maintenance and repair of Des Moines streets AND funds dedicated to full rehabilitation of the buildings and grounds of our historic 18 acre Beach Park. Upon payoff of related bonds, 2/3 of the park portion of this tax will be eliminated.

On both the State and National Historic Registers, Des Moines Beach Park is the birthplace of Des Moines, serving the community since the 1880s.  It is the best surviving example of over 100 such pioneer encampments around Puget Sound. We have the power today to determine the care and condition of our streets and Heritage Park for ourselves and future generations. Help protect basic assets from budget shortfalls, restore a unique site for both ourselves and visitors, creating new revenue and a healthier economic outlook for us.  Vote yes

In 2004 we asked that you increase your taxes for police and essential services.  Now the city is proposing to increase our utility taxes for streets and non-essential beach park facilities, but hmm, I’m not buying.  Weren’t we already paying for our streets with our property taxes?  Well, we might have, but our council had other priorities:

  • Spent $3,000 to send the mayor to China – we received nothing from that trip
  • Reallocated funds that voters committed specifically for the police, in order to balance the budget.
  • Gave $7,500 to a quasi-business group for events previously done for free by the Business Boosters, while the city was running a $1.4 million deficit. There’s been no request by council to account for the money spent
  • Imposed a $20 car tab fee, yet failed to maintain 223rd which is degraded by vehicles serving four schools and the fire station. Renovations made to 216th include an unused sidewalk, yet our kids still walk to school on the side of the road!

The city wants us to pay for these misplaced priorities.  I’ve never voted against a tax in my life, but this tax?  Not this time, and not this council!

Don’t be misled!  In this economy, Des Moines has $1 million less per year in real estate taxes to pay for paving roads & repairing buildings.  It took nearly 20 years to fund 216th improvements.  The $20 local car tab funds minor repairs on major arterials (pot holes, safety), not paving.  Taxes for police services ONLY pay for police services.  Save our historic beach park, and maintain it for generations to come. Please vote YES!

Statement submitted by: Alfred G. Isaac, David Loft and Clark Snure  •

Given today’s unemployment rate, stagnant wages and higher living costs, that “one Latte a week” ($250 for my family) represents groceries or car payments.  Their hoped-for revenue will not cover maintenance of the buildings, and if the buildings are rented out, that will actually reduce access by those of us paying the freight!  My family has enjoyed the park with its neglected buildings and will continue to.  We simply cannot afford this frivolous expense now. 

Statement submitted by: Myst Beal  •

Simple Majority (RCW 35.21.870)

1249 en-US Production

TTY: Relay 711

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