Voters will be asked to approve a $73 million levy in the Nov. 4 election that would fund basic repairs to Pike Place Market. The Seattle City Council added the measure to the ballot on Monday.
Voters will be asked in November to approve a $73 million property-tax increase to upgrade basic systems at Pike Place Market — including its wiring, plumbing, heating system, cooling system and roof.
Except for two new sets of bathrooms, an elevator, and a new set of stairs to Western Avenue, few of the improvements to the century-old icon would be visible to visitors.
On Monday, the City Council approved a proposal from Mayor Greg Nickels to put the issue before voters in the Nov. 4 election.
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“Lots and lots of the systems need fixing,” said Councilmember Jan Drago. “It may not look a whole lot different when it’s all done. You know the old saying: When the sun shines, it’s time to repair the roof.”
The owner of an average 2008 assessed home in Seattle, valued at $479,100, would pay about $43 more in property taxes in 2009. The levy would cost 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in the first year, with the rate declining slightly over six years.
City voters have passed several property-tax increases — for fire stations, low-income housing, education, parks and street repairs — that together will cost the owner of the average assessed home $399 this year.
Because the parks levy expires at the end of 2008, that total will drop next year to about $310.
If the market levy is approved, the remaining levies together would cost the homeowner about $354 next year.
Council President Richard Conlin and members Drago, Tim Burgess, Jean Godden, Bruce Harrell, Nick Licata, Richard McIver and Tom Rasmussen all supported putting the issue on the ballot. Councilmember Sally Clark was absent.
The council cut $2 million from the mayor’s market-levy proposal for improvements he wanted for Victor Steinbrueck Park. The council said the proposal was too vague, and members have suggested including the money in a separate levy proposal they are working on for new parks and open spaces.
It is not clear whether that levy proposal, estimated at $140 million, will end up on the November ballot.
Some council members have expressed reservations about asking voters for more money since the board for Sound Transit is also considering asking voters for a sales-tax increase to extend light-rail.
The deadline to add a measure to the November ballot is Aug. 12.
Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org