Redmond’s system development charges haven’t been raised in almost a decade, so it may be time to review them. That said, it wasn’t the best idea to start the discussion just days before Redmond voters will decide the fate of two money measures being sought by the Redmond Area Park and Recreation District.
It creates a completely unnecessary complication for voters in the May election. Voters should be clear that while both SDCs and the measures up for a vote collect revenue they are different things and for different purposes.
Systems development charges are one-time fees cities and some other public entities can levy on new buildings to pay for new roads, expanded sewer and water systems, and more. They cannot be used for maintenance or repairs or other ongoing costs.
The city of Redmond has not raised its SDCs since 2010. They may not be set at the right levels for Redmond’s future infrastructure needs. The Redmond City Council discussed raising them Tuesday, and several council members raised concerns about the proposal.
We’d add one more concern.
Just as the city is gaining in population, so, too, is the park and recreation district facing increased demand. The park district seeks to ease that problem by asking voters to approve a $40 million bond measure to build a new recreation center, including a badly needed additional pool.
The bond will cost approximately55 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. That would come to $110 a year for a home assessed at $200,000. Voters will also vote on a five-year, local option levy of 19 cents per $1,000. That’s to pay to operate the center. That would add another $38 a year to that same home.
Another issue is that Redmond voters have been understandably cautious about approving money measures. They recently voted down a bond for the school district. It’s always hard to tell why voters reject a tax measure. One reason, though, is that they don’t believe it’s worth it. They can also be concerned because they hear discussion that government is about to pile on more taxes and fees.
Of course, the city of Redmond should be honest about its plans to discuss SDC fees. But it didn’t have to start the discussion when voters are getting ballots in the mail for the recreation center vote. It muddles the message.