2019 November Election Results and the Impacts to Shoreline: Shoreline Proposition 1 and I-976
Over the next several months, the City will discuss how the results of the November election will affect our community. Passage of Initiative 976 (I-976) will place a significant strain on our transportation programs and the wider City budget as we search for ways to absorb the annual loss of more than $1.6 million from the City’s street and sidewalk maintenance and preservation programs. Failure of Shoreline Proposition 1 will require the Council and the community to have tough discussions about aquatics programming offered by the City and future investments in parks and City recreation facilities.
Shoreline Proposition 1
With an approval vote of 54%, Shoreline Proposition 1 failed. Because Prop. 1 was a bond measure, it required a 60% approval rate to pass. Over the past several years, hundreds of Shoreline residents have contributed to the discussion on developing the proposed Shoreline Aquatics, Recreation, and Community Center and on making improvements to our parks. Whether you voted to approve or reject the proposition, we want to thank Shoreline residents for taking the time to learn about the issue, provide their input, and vote. As we work to identify a new path forward that will meet the needs of our growing community, we hope that those who supported and opposed the Proposition stay engaged and continue to contribute to the discussion.
Using the extensive input from the public and taking all the different community needs and interests into account, the Council felt it put the best option forward. Council will now begin to evaluate the results of the election and determine what next steps, if any, they should take regarding future investments in park improvements and the City’s recreation facilities.
Council will need to make some tough decisions regarding the Shoreline Pool. The repairs we made to the Pool in 2015 were meant to be temporary and not last much more than five to seven years. Even with the $750,000 investment in 2015, the City has been experiencing increasing maintenance costs at the pool as it is over 50 years old and the pool systems and building structure are nearing the end of their useful lives. In 2019 alone, the City has seen pool repair costs exceed $125,000. Council will need to evaluate whether it makes economic sense to put further investment into the existing pool, refine options for a new facility, or decide not to provide aquatic programs in the long-term.
Until the School District decides to use the Spartan Recreation Center for other purposes, it will continue to operate as it does today. As the need for repairs arise, Council will have to determine how much to invest in an ageing facility we do not own.
State, regional, and local transportation funding face cuts under I-976
Passage of I-976 eliminates Shoreline’s ability to charge a vehicle license fee (VLF) for transportation purposes. In 2009, City Council adopted a $20 VLF to help fund the maintenance of Shoreline streets on a regular schedule. Over time, this has helped us preserve our streets and avoid more costly road replacements that can be the result of deferred maintenance. Council passed the other $20 VLF in 2018 for the repair and maintenance of our existing sidewalk network. I-976 does not affect the new sidewalk sales tax measure approved by Shoreline voters in 2018. The new sidewalk program will be able to move ahead as expected.
The combined fees generated approximately $1.6 million per year. The loss of that funding affects the entire transportation program, as well as other City programs and services, as we will need to find that funding elsewhere in the budget or reduce or eliminate these maintenance programs. The City Council is already considering nearly $1.3 million in budget holds including delaying equipment purchases, redirecting funds for park improvements, and reallocating projected budget savings towards the City’s annual road surface maintenance program.
Passage of I-976 will also significantly affect State transportation funding, particularly for transit and paratransit. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), working with the State Legislature, will need to make decisions about how to maintain state highways, provide transportation options for individuals with disabilities, and more. State funding for local transportation projects, including ones in Shoreline, may be called into question in the coming months.
I-976 will also cut King County Metro funding, which in turn could affect routes serving Shoreline.
Finally, Sound Transit (ST) has indicated that the impacts to funding from I-976 will be significant as well. While it is unlikely to impact the 2024 opening of light rail in Shoreline, other ST projects or programs, such as Bus Rapid Transit that is planned to serve our Shoreline South/145th Station, may be affected.
There is yet much to be determined about the impacts of this Initiative. Shoreline staff will be keeping an eye on developments and providing updated Shoreline-related information as we learn it.