Washougal mulls $20 car tab fee

City leaders hope to free general funds for more code enforcement

Washougal City Council members Ernie Suggs (left) and Alex Yost (right) listen to Finance Director Jennifer Forsberg (not pictured) talk about potential priorities of a preliminary 2019 Washougal budget during the Aug. 13 Washougal City Council workshop.

The Washougal City Council could once again consider a tab fee of $20 per vehicle to pay for part of the city’s pavement management program.

During a presentation of preliminary 2019 budget information to city councilmembers at their workshop Monday, Aug. 13, Washougal Finance Director Jennifer Forsberg said a $20 annual Transportation Benefit District (TBD) tab fee could generate approximately $171,200 in revenue during a partial year that allows for a six months lag on collection timeframe.

The revenue that could be generated from a TBD tab fee in 2019 would be combined with $217,000 from the general fund and $475,000 in real estate excise taxes (REET) for the pavement management program.

This year, the pavement management program is funded by $275,000 from the general fund and $475,000 in REET.

Washougal Mayor Molly Coston’s proposed service enhancements for 2019 include hiring a second, full-time code enforcement officer for the second half of the year with general fund money.

The other proposed service enhancement would involve increasing funding for the pavement management program from $750,000 this year to $863,000 in 2019.

In June 2015, the city’s Transportation Benefit District Board — consisting of city council members — voted against a license tab fee of $20. During that same meeting three years ago, they also did not pass a motion that would have established a vehicle tab fee of $10.

Additional presentations regarding potential 2019 budget items are scheduled during the next City Council workshop at 5 p.m., Monday, Aug. 27, in Washougal City Hall.