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City of Medina

Proposition No. 1

Levy Lift to Maintain Public Safety and Other Core Governmental Services

The City Council of the City of Medina, Washington adopted Ordinance No. 970 concerning voter approval of its regular property tax levy.

This proposition would maintain police, fire, park and mandated community services by increasing Medina’s regular property tax levy rate above the limit factor by $0.20/$1,000 assessed value to a maximum rate of $0.83712/$1,000 assessed valuation for collection in 2020, set a 5% limit factor for each year 2021-2025, use the 2025 levy amount as the base to compute subsequent levy limits, and exempt low income seniors and disabled; as set forth in Ordinance No. 970.

Should this Proposition be approved?

Yes

No


This proposition would authorize Medina to levy an additional regular property tax to pay for continuation of the current levels of core governmental services provided to Medina residents.  These include police, fire and emergency medical services; maintaining Medina’s streets, sidewalks, parks, trails and natural areas; processing building permits and providing development services; and other services.    

Adoption of the proposition would supplement, not replace or supplant, the City's existing funds, and would remedy the imbalance between the limited funds available to pay for Medina's core governmental services and the increasing cost of those services in 2020 and beyond. If the proposition is approved, the City will not be required to reduce current service levels due to lack of funding.  

Senior citizens aged 61 and over, veterans, persons with disabilities, and other persons that qualify under the law would be able to claim statutory property tax exemptions regarding the property tax levy authorized by the proposition.  

The proposed levy would be authorized for a six-year period with collection beginning in 2020.  During the first year, the tax would be levied at a rate of 20 cents ($0.20) or less per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of assessed valuation on all taxable property within City of Medina.  Additional increases for years 2021 to 2025 would be made using an annual limit factor of 5%.  The final 2025 tax rate would establish a new property tax base for calculating future property taxes as allowed by law.

Medina at a Financial Crossroads. Medina operates a lean, debt-free budget where 95% of funding is channeled into essential government-mandated services. While smart governance has prevented previous levy lid lifts and allowed us to enjoy King County’s 4th-lowest property tax rate, we need your help ensuring that Medina remains a special place to live. 

Rising costs (2-4% per year) require spending more each year to maintain the same quality of services to residents. However, state law caps Medina’s property tax revenue increases at 1% annually – about $28,000 in 2020. Fire services alone increase by $56,000 per year. 

Maintain Public Safety. This initiative’s failure would force significant cuts to our already lean budget. Currently, Medina allocates 49% of its budget to providing the highest quality police and fire resources. The projected property tax increase on a $2 million household will equal $1.40 per day in 2025 – a small price for guaranteed security.

Invest in Our Community’s Future. Vote “yes” and allow Medina to continue ensuring the highest quality of life possible. Our parks, public works, police, and firefighters depend on your financial support. Help guarantee that our community continues to uphold and enhance the priorities and values that make it great.
 

Patrick Boyd, Randy Reeves, Ben Harris, maintainmedina.org

Medina has an unsustainable spending problem. The city spends too much on skyrocketing employee costs, legal fees, and employee settlements. The proposed levy lid is a short-term fix only! The city has not taken the hard steps needed to reduce expenditures.  Medina doesn’t need more taxes; it needs better fiscal management.  

Spending examples: $54,000 on council guidelines (never adopted), $35,000 dollars on discretionary charitable contributions annually, a discretionary 5% raise for the city manager in 2019 despite a “budget crisis”, ~$2,000,000 in legal fees from 2013-2018, $65,000 settlement to a contractor who claimed she was owed employee benefits, $50,000+ on consultants regarding this levy, we pay a fulltime, tenured public works employee ~$60 per hour with benefits (great employee, unfortunately highly challenging and unscalable economics)  

Before raising your Medina taxes over 40% annually, let’s reduce spending. Consider hiring an on-staff lawyer, combining services with Clyde Hill per their suggestion (police, maintenance, clerical) thus trimming staff and admin, tightening HR controls to mitigate settlements, and selling the post office (for someone else to operate) adding millions to reserves. The city won't stop running, you will have same number of police with less overhead and the city will operate within its means.  
 

John Maffei, Wilma Edmonds, William Parks, nolevylid@gmail.com

Medina has studied, scrutinized, and squeezed every mentioned alternative to maximize efficiency. Additional austerity is not an acceptable solution. Failure will require service cuts to avoid huge budget deficits. But, if passed, we won’t need to choose between police, parks, public works, and vital services – we can continue increasing efficiency without sacrificing our priorities. Plus, low-income senior citizens and disabled individuals are exempted. This levy was thoughtfully constructed, vetted, and endorsed by City Council. 

Patrick Boyd, Randy Reeves, Ben Harris, maintainmedina.org

Don't be scared into voting for the levy.  Guaranteed employee costs (salaries, benefits, pensions) are rising too fast for our revenues.  Increasing taxes now doesn't address our long term budgetary challenges.  With each year, our cost problems worsen as employees get more tenure.  We need to respect the lid and look to eliminate non-essential services and expenses.  The city needs a disciplined approach to reduce costs while maintaining current levels of fire and police protection. 

John Maffei, Wilma Edmonds, William Parks, nolevylid@gmail.com

Simple majority (RCW 84.55.050)

Julie Ketter, Finance Director, 425-233-6415, jketter@medina-wa.gov

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