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Marysville City Council Approves Ballot Measure To Increase Sales Tax

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

UPDATE Feb. 17, 9:34 a.m.: The Marysville City Council is sending another sales tax measure to voters.

All five council members voted Tuesday to ask for a one-percent sales tax.

The city's most recent budget report shows a 400-thousand-dollar deficit.

The city has already reduced government, police, and parks services to what it says are bare minimum levels.

The city says it would use the tax revenue to restore city services to five days a week and to pay for improved public safety, sidewalks and parks.

Original: People in the City of Marysville may be asked to increase their sales tax by one percent. Tuesday, the city council will consider whether to put a tax measure on the June ballot.

Sarwant Takhar, Marysville's Administrative Services Director, says five of the city's largest tax generators have closed or moved since the Great Recession began. That's cost the city more than $400,000 in tax revenue, which is a little more than the city's current general fund deficit.

"We've had the last new car dealership leave town," Takhar said. "The Mervyn's department store closed down as well. Losses of sales tax revenues from those two sources have been offset somewhat by the new development of Washington Square and some other businesses that have come to town -- some used car dealerships -- but, it hasn't filled the gap."

The businesses that were lost accounted for $443,000 in taxes to the city. New businesses have contributed only $50,000.

"The latest hit has been from declining gas sales at the pump," Takhar said. "The lower the gas price, the lower the sales tax revenue that's come in, and so that's been affecting us over the course of the last year."

Fuel sales generate the most taxes for the city.

If the city council decides to put the measure on the ballot, a majority of the voters would be required to approve it.

The city put a similar measure on the ballot in November 2014. It failed with only 48 percent support.  However, an advisory measure recommending a tax increase be spent on police, parks, and streets passed with 77 percent of the vote.

The council has said it will likely avoid putting an advisory measure on the ballot this time.