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Bonney Lake council unanimously opposes Pierce Transit ballot proposition

Calling it an "attempt to Band-Aid what is broken," the Bonney Lake City Council Tuesday night voted unanimously to oppose the Proposition 1, the Pierce Transit initiative to increase sales taxes by 0.3 percent.

Ballots are due Feb. 8 in the all mail-in special election.

According to the resolution, the city opposes the measure for four reasons: They believe Pierce Transit has not done enough to cut their costs before asking for more money: because "now is not the time for a sales tax increase" which they believe will slow the economic recovery; even if it passes, Bonney Lake will lose service; and because they believe Pierce Transit should "go back to the drawing board and redesign a transit system that truly serves the entire county that funds it."

Pierce Transit is asking voters to approve a sales tax increase of 0.3 percent, or $0.03 per $10 purchase as a way to help close a growing gap between revenues and expenditures and "preserve" the system as it is operated.

If the tax measure fails to pass, Pierce Transit has warned that East Pierce County could lose all regular bus routes through the area with the exception of the connection from the Bonney Lake Park and Ride to the Sumner Sounder Station.

However, even if the vote is approved, there are changes ahead for the region including the combining of routes and less-frequent service.

Most councilmembers and the mayor spoke on the issue before the vote, each stating they support transit, but not this particular proposal because they believe it is bad for Bonney Lake.

"At this particular time, we think it is ill-advised to increase the tax on the populace," Councilmember Mark Hamilton said.

"Whether we vote yes or vote no, this area will lose bus service," Councilmember Laurie Carter said, calling it a "lose-lose" choice.

Following the discussion by the council, the floor was opened to allow proponents of the measure the same amount of time to speak in support.

Pat Miller of Bonney Lake spoke on behalf of Proposition 1, calling the council's decision "shortsighted" and accusing them of "digging your head in the sand."

"You're not looking toward the future," Miller said. "I just believe the council is going somewhere it shouldn't go."

Miller also made the case that 3 cents per $10 is not a lot of money to spend on public transit, which he said he takes into work every day.

"We all have to contribute to services," he said. "Getting off this hill is worth 3 cents per every $10."

Following the discussion, the council voted in favor of the resolution to oppose Proposition 1 and encourage voters to do the same.

Ballots are due Feb. 8.

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