LYNNWOOD, November 13, 2022—Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell vetoed the recently passed $40 car tab relief, Ordinance 3416, during the October 31 city council work session. The Council is scheduled to vote to overturn her veto at Monday’s meeting on November 14.
“After substantial consideration of what is best and necessary for the long-term sustainability of our city… I do not support recently passed Ordinance 3416 and hereby register my veto,” Frizzell said during the October 31st meeting. “Repeatedly, our residents, business partners, and visitors tell us the most important concern for our city is our streets. The roads we drive on, the signals that direct our traffic, the sidewalks and crosswalks we walk on, and the curbs and ramps specifically designed for our limited mobility community members represent over 300 lane miles of transit routes and are our most critical assets. They are also one of our most expensive assets.”
Passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2007, cities are able to establish Transportation Benefit Districts and impose a sales tax that specifically funds local transportation projects. This TBD is what allows Lynnwood to impose the additional fee on vehicle tabs.
“While considering ARPA funding earlier this year, council members repeatedly expressed their concern for our streets… and at that time unanimously voted to allocate $2.5 million of one-time funding to address immediate needs.” Frizzell said. “The vote for Ordinance 3416 to eliminate $2.3 million of biennial, sustainable funding from license fees for our streets is reversal of those same concerns and damages our community for many years to come.
The ordinance that Frizzell vetoed passed during the October 24 business meeting in a 4-2 vote.
The October 24 vote:
- George Hurst: Yes
- Jim Smith: Yes
- Julieta Altamirano-Crosby: No
- Josh Binda: Abstained
- Patrick Decker: Yes
- Shannon Sessions: No
- Shirley Sutton: Yes
To overturn the mayor’s veto, according to RCW 35A.12.100, the council requires “a majority of all councilmembers plus one more vote.” With seven council members, five votes are needed to override the veto. This means the council needs Binda to vote yes rather than abstain or for Altamirano-Crosby or Sessions to change their vote.
The mayor’s veto comes as no surprise, as last year, then-Councilmember Frizzell voted no on a similar $40 car tab relief: Ordinance 3400. The previous mayor, Nicola Smith, vetoed the ordinance, with the council failing to override it in a 4-3 vote. Altamirano-Crosby voted yes last year, but changed to a no vote this year.
According to Altamirano-Crosby, the pandemic weighed heavily on her decision at the time.
“The pandemic’s impact was everywhere. Everything was closed, people were starving and afraid, and I just didn’t have all the information,” Altamirano-Crosby said.
During the pandemic, Altamirano-Crosby canvassed Lynnwood to get input from residents and found the vast majority mentioned the streets as a high priority concern. This prompted her to push for the $2.5 million in ARPA funds the city spent on transportation. However, she has found that these temporary pandemic funds are inadequate for maintenance and needed transportation projects and that the city budget is typically short in that area.
Altamirano-Crosby stated that she and Public Works Director Bill Franz have personally surveyed Lynnwood to really get a feel for the streets.
“I invite all of the city council to do their homework: to go outside and drive our streets,” Altamirano-Crosby said.
Councilmember Binda was contacted for comment on his choice to abstain but did not reply.