By Ann McCreary
Twisp residents will be asked this year to approve a local sales tax increase of .2 percent to fund street maintenance and repair projects in town.
The Twisp Council voted unanimously last week to place a proposition on the August election ballot seeking the increase in sales taxes. Revenue from the sales tax will support a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) recently created by the Town Council.
The new sales tax will generate an estimated $45,242 for the district, which will fund street maintenance and repair projects that the town is currently unable to afford.
“We’re in a position where our streets are well past their useful life and every year that goes by they’re just crumbling,” said Public Works Director Andrew Denham.
Among other things, the revenue from a .2 percent sales tax would allow the town to allocate money for emergency road repairs and sidewalk and storm drain repairs. The town would also create reserve funds for equipment and vehicles used in street maintenance, and to provide matching money for state and federal transportation grants.
Denham developed a list of street projects that could be funded in the next five years if voters approve the sales tax. It includes repairing potholes, sealing cracks, pavement striping, and chip sealing sections of numerous streets in town that have gravel surfaces.
If approved by voters in August, the sales tax would start being collected early in 2017, and the transportation district would begin receiving revenues in spring.
Creating the TBD may enhance the town’s ability to obtain grants for transportation projects, because it demonstrates that the town can maintain investments in its streets, Denham said.
The district, created earlier this year by the Twisp Council to support street maintenance, is governed by the council.
In other business, the council voted to increase the daily admission fee for children at the Wagner Memorial Pool from $2.25 to $3, but left other pool fees in place. Scholarships are available for families that need assistance, town officials said.