Check this page for updates on rumors, chatter heard about town to get the facts and real scoop straight from the source.
Rumor: the City doesn’t charge industrial businesses for their water use in order to attract business.
Wow! This one is really not true. In fact, the opposite is true. EVERYONE pays for their water use. Many of our industrial businesses pay utility bills that are between $1000 and $2000 per month. In fact, because water rates are set based on use and meter size, the large industrial businesses are the ones with larger meters, who are thus heavily supporting the water utility infrastructure that everyone enjoys using, including residents.
By the way, the City does not offer any financial incentive to attract industrial businesses. We rely on good customer service, good infrastructure and the old real estate adage of location, location, location.
Question: Why did the City reset its tax rate when so much else was going on already?
The Council had long deliberations about this through meetings held last fall, because they don’t take taxes lightly. However, the City is getting “squeezed” from both sides, facing both the loss of revenue and mandates that take a toll on our budget.
At the same time, demand for city services increases each year. This is the funding that helps build or replace sidewalks, that is used as matching dollars to get grants to repave/expand horribly clogged roads, that is used for police protection, parks and planning the future of Sumner. Plus, new laws are currently being debated in Olympia that would pass more laws that require the cities (and thus you) to spend more money.
The City has worked hard to reduce costs and implement efficiencies, but faced with this loss in revenue, the Council considered this an important step toward maintaining the quality of life of our community and the services our citizen value.
Rumor: the old Red Apple building was torn down for a Sound Transit garage.
The Real Info: While that location was considered three years ago as one of four possible locations for a Sound Transit garage, both commuters and residents overwhelmingly asked for the garage to go on the existing open-air commuter lot instead, so that is where it will go, not on the Red Apple site. Sound Transit is building the garage with funding from ST2, not ST3, and the continues to progress with support from the City.
In the meantime, the Red Apple building was a derelict eyesore full of asbestos and mold. The eventual plan is redevelopment into mixed-use with housing on upper floors and retail/service on the ground floor. Your participation in the Town Center Plan update helps shape how high future building(s) could go and what style they should have.
To make redevelopment happen, the City has to clean up the soil underneath that was contaminated by an old gas station. During that 2-3 year process, the Council determined it was worth tearing down the building to offer more commuter parking spaces to fill a need for parking. In exchange for offering more off-street parking in the lot, the Council chose to extend restricted parking zones (RPZs) to return street parking to residents. Like any compromise, some commuters and residents are happy with the exchange, and some are really not.