WALLA WALLA - Last month's official approval over ballot measure wording has paved the way for a two-tenths of a percent sales-tax measure that will go before voters on Feb. 14.
On Dec. 20, attorneys approved the wording, which stipulates how roughly $1 million - the amount expected to be raised yearly by the sales-tax increase - can be used to fix Walla Walla's roads.
According to county officials, the sale-tax measure will be the only non-school-related item on the ballot and will require a simple majority to pass.
The proposed sales-tax increase had come under some criticism last year because state RCWs allow Transportation Benefit District funds to be used for projects such as improving air quality or public transportation.
City Attorney Tim Donaldson, who signed off the on the official ballot wording, explained that all projects funded by the sales-tax increase will have to be part of a long list of approved road improvements, all of which are authorized by the Transportation Benefit District board.
"It would be pretty hard for them to go on a spending spree with this money. It is pretty well constrained by the statutes to the ones that are qualified and are listed and meet the criteria," Donaldson said.
Even before city officials could form a transportation benefit district last year, they had to come up with a list of projects that would be funded through the district.
That list includes 26 projects, of which the top five are an overlay of Rose Street from Second Avenue to Myra Road; a chip seal of Alder from Wilbur to Park streets; a reconstruction of Howard Street from Alder Street to Reser Road; an overlay of Isaacs Avenue from Wilbur Avenue to Rose Street; and a chip seal of Ninth Avenue from Pine Street to Rees Avenue.
Donaldson also noted that changes to the list would have to be voted on by the board members of the district, which are City Council members.
Last year, city officials looked at a number of ways to raise funds for streets, including raising property taxes and increasing vehicle license tab fees.
Instead, the Transportation Benefit District was formed, and the newly elected board voted to approve asking voters to pass a sales-tax increase.
If approved, the sales-tax increase could not go beyond 10 years without being approved again by voters, and would increase the city's sales tax from 8.6 to 8.8 percent.
Rose Street: overlay from Second Avenue to west city limits.
Alder Street: chip seal from Wilbur Avenue to Park Street.
Howard Street: reconstruction from Alder Street to Reser Road.
Isaacs Avenue: overlay from Wilbur Avenue to Rose Street.
Ninth Avenue: chip seal from Pine Street to Rees Avenue.
Poplar Street: overlay from Alder to Colville street.
Tietan Street: chip seal from Second to Fourth avenues.
Wilbur Avenue: reconstruction from Pleasant to Whitman streets.
Bryant Avenue: overlay from Howard Street to Home Avenue.
Chestnut Street: chip seal from Ninth Avenue to Division Street.
Plaza Way: reconstruction from Ninth Avenue to Taumarson Road.
Third Avenue: overlay from Poplar Street to south city limits.
Whitman Street: reconstruction from Howard Street to School Avenue.
Clinton Street: reconstruction from Boyer Avenue to Whitman Street.
Park Street: reconstruction from Alder Street to Howard Street.
Melrose Street: reconstruction from Wilbur Avenue to Airport Road
Main Street: chip seal from Second to Ninth avenues.
Highland Road: reconstruction from Plaza Way to Fairfield Drive.
Blue Street: reconstruction from Isaacs to Francis avenues.
Boyer Avenue: reconstruction from Roosevelt Street to Wilbur Avenue.
13th Avenue: reconstruction from Abadie to Cherry streets.
Second Avenue: reconstruction from SR 12 to Rose Street.
Palouse Street: reconstruction from Rose to Pine streets.
School Avenue: reconstruction from Pleasant Street to Woodmere Loop.
Chase Avenue: chip seal from Birch to Orchard streets.
Sumach Street: reconstruction from Clinton Street to dead end.