Bellevue may seek
levy increase again
Cemetery district tax hike passes
By MATT FURBER
Express Staff Writer
The mood at Bellevue City
Hall this week was one of disappointment after the special election for a levy
rate increase failed to pass.
The city asked voters
Tuesday to approve a property tax rate not to exceed 3 percent, up from the
current rate of 1.3 percent.
The measure failed by
a narrow margin. A majority of voters—56 percent—cast ballots in favor of an
increase, but the measure failed the 60 percent margin required to pass.
"I was disappointed,"
said Councilwoman Joanna Ehrmantraut, who was sworn into office this spring
as the campaign to boost the city budget was winding down. "I think we
may try again, but we may try for less."
The goal of the tax increase
was to improve city services like fire, police and street maintenance by increasing
the money the city can collect in property taxes by about $277,000.
City Administrator Jack
Stoneback said he expected the City Council to try again at the general election
in November, but in the meantime he said the city would "carry on."
"There are some other
things we can do," he said. "We can cut back a little here and there.
I don’t see us hiring any new people."
Stoneback said basic services
will continue, but the city is likely to pinch pennies by not doing regular
equipment maintenance or street paving.
He expected the City Council
to discuss a strategy for moving forward at the council meeting Thursday night.
"I’m sure we’re not
through with this yet," Ehrmantraut said. "The city really needs the
Voters did approve a two-year
bond to improve irrigation at the Bellevue Cemetery.
Ballots cast on the measure
came from Bellevue and three other county precincts within the Bellevue Cemetery
District, which includes Baseline Road to Gannet and part of the Woodside subdivision
The vote was a simple
majority election, 488 in favor and 160 against. The bond will cost taxpayers
between $7 and $10 per year for two years. The money will go to installing an
underground sprinkler system, something that is also much needed, Ehrmantraut