Mayor Smith to veto $40 car tab relief ordinance

UPDATED 1:20 p.m. Nov. 4, 2021: Added statement from Council President George Hurst.

LYNNWOOD, Wash., November 4, 2021 – In a memo to the Lynnwood city council sent yesterday, Mayor Nicola Smith will veto Ordinance 3400, relating to the City’s $40 vehicle license fee, adopted by the City Council on October 25, 2021.    

To view the memo to Lynnwood councilmembers to veto Ordinance 3400, click here.

“After careful consideration of Ordinance 3400 adopted by Council on Oct. 25, I am exercising my authority to veto this decision,” Mayor Smith wrote in her email to councilmembers. “Eliminating vehicle license fees has far-reaching consequences that are not in the best interest of Lynnwood. Therefore, I am compelled to veto your decision based on the reasons outlined in the attached memo.”

The ordinance to remove the fee was brought forth during the council’s October 11 Business Meeting. From there, the ordinance got pushed into a Work Session on October 18 so that council members could debate its merits.

After public comments at the October 25 meeting, Council President George Hurst brought the motion forward to discuss the ordinance (#3400) with the council. The ordinance passed 4-3 for the $40 vehicle fees to be eliminated beginning in 2023.

Councilmembers Julietta Altamirano-Crosby, Patrick Decker, George Hurst, and Jim Smith voting to eliminate the $40 vehicle licensing fee and councilmembers Ruth Ross, Shannon Sessions, and Christine Frizzell voting to retain the fee.

Councilwoman Christine Frizzell defended her dissenting vote. “I support cutting taxes when time is taken to prepare equal cuts to expenses.  All who live, work, and play in Lynnwood are well aware of the need for better maintained roads, potholes, sidewalks in school zones, ADA ramps, and walkable sidewalks,” she told the Lynnwood Times after the October 25 business meeting.

“To cut funding that directly impacts these needs is short sighted and with disregard for all our community members. “

In her memo to the Lynnwood City Council, Mayor Smith shared a similar viewpoint.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Lynnwood has demonstrated its ability to adapt and respond to unforeseen circumstances through a blend of fiscal prudence, resiliency, collaboration, and innovation,” Mayor Smith stated in the memo. “Uncharacteristically, this decision by City Council to repeal the $40 vehicle license fee without a full understanding of the true ramifications is an exception to our careful financial planning.”

To override a Mayor Smith’s veto, requires at least five votes. As it stands, the council is one vote short to override the mayor’s veto.

Response to mayor’s veto

George Hurst

Council President George Hurst provided the following statement to Mayor Smith’s expected veto.

“In a memo to the City Council, dated November 3,  Mayor Smith has vetoed the ordinance passed by the City Council on October 25 that eliminated the City vehicle fees (car tabs).  The Mayor wrote a three page memo to justify her veto.  My response is three sentences:

“During her eight year term this Mayor has consistently opposed any tax or fee relief for the community members of Lynnwood, and this veto is another example of that policy. 

“The veto is a rejection of the majority of voters in Lynnwood who in 2019, voted in favor of I-976 , the “$30 car tab” initiative. 

“The Mayor hid her intent to veto this ordinance until the day after election day,  a reflection of what I see as a mayor’s dismissive attitude towards the voters of Lynnwood.”

Mario Lotmore

Mario Lotmore is originally from The Bahamas and for the last seven years has called Mukilteo, WA his home. Having lived in every region of the United States has exposed him to various cultures, people, and approaches to life. Lotmore created the Lynnwood Times to represent the character of a diverse and growing Lynnwood. The launching of the city’s community newspaper will only help bring neighborhoods together. Lotmore was an industrial engineer by trade and proven success implementing and managing lean accountable processes and policies within his eighteen years of operations excellence, strategic development, and project management in the aerospace, manufacturing, and banking industries. Over his career he has saved and created hundreds of union and non-union jobs. Lotmore is the President of a Homeowner Association, an active Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics volunteer in his community, and former Boeing 747 Diversity Council leader. Mario’s talent is finding “that recipe” of shared destiny to effectively improve the quality of life for others.

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One thought on “Mayor Smith to veto $40 car tab relief ordinance

  • November 4, 2021 at 1:49 PM
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    I agree with George Hurst. Mayor Smith is tying the $40 car tab fee into the city budget without acknowledging the new tax dollars the City will soon start collecting from the multitude of high-rise Lynnwood Apts going up. These complexes will bring in an ample supply of property, utility, and sales tax, as is the New Home Depot by Costco. And let’s not forget the On-going red-light camera revenue that pulls in hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. (2018 – 3.4 million gross, 2.8 million net) Is it really that hard to give citizens a break on the car tabs that most voted to lower to $30 in 2019 with I-976, the “$30 car tab” initiative? I’m sure the citizens are happy to know that Ms. Smith is the out-going Mayor of their town, but what a negative parting-gift to her constituents.

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