North Bend Considers Big Commercial Parking Tax, with Eyes on Truck Town

On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, the City of North Bend may impose a new 30% Commercial Parking Tax, with the proceeds being used solely for city transportation purposes.

According to a summary statement for the proposed new municipal code, the tax would generate additional revenue to maintain, repair, expand, construct and operate the city’s transportation network.  The city couldn’t yet determine how much revenue the new tax might generate, as it would be dependent how many paid parking stalls are used per day and the rate charged by parking businesses.

Per the ordinance summary, the tax would “be based on either gross proceeds or by a fixed fee per stall, or on the customer – similar to an admissions tax.” The parking business operator would responsible for collecting the tax and remitting it to the city.

Tax with Eyes on Truck Town

Currently, the only business in North Bend that would be subject to the new 30% tax would be Truck Town, which is considered a commercial parking business as it operates and provides [some] paid parking stalls for drivers.

According to Mayor Ken Hearing, the tax would also apply to other future paid parking lots that may operate within North Bend, including [possible] paid lots for hikers if they were to develop.

The City of North Bend says Truck Town brings a significant amount of truck traffic through its boundaries, which results in “numerous adverse impacts” on its roadways and infrastructure.

Hearing said the city receives “very little” tax money from Truck Town, especially when compared to the size of the business site – which occupies nearly 16 acres at the I-90 exit 34 interchange – and considering the trucks served by the business put considerable wear and tear on streets, as well as bring pollution to the area.

The big portion of the Truck Town site hosts 140 large parking spots.  Also on site are a store, two restaurants, fueling station, and truck maintenance center – all except the fuel station provide some sales and B&O taxes to the city.

Hearing explained that fuel is taxed differently and regardless of the amount sold at truck town, the state distributes fuel taxes to cities equally – so North Bend receives that same amount of fuel tax money as a city with no gas stations.

It is unclear at this time just how many of Truck Town’s 140 spots are paid stalls. Truck drivers can reserve a spot ahead of time via a telephone system, and those spots run $13-$15 for a 4PM – 3PM time period.

City Criticized for Preventing Truck Stop Expansion

The City of North Bend has been criticized in recent months for passing an ordinance prohibiting the expansion of Truck Town, the only remaining truck stop in King County, or any new truck stops at exit 34.  City officials have expressed frustration over not being part of bigger, regional freight traffic discussions and for shouldering the burden of the last remaining, often very busy, truck service area in the County.

Mayor Hearing said before and when the ordinance was passed, the city “did everything possible to protect the current [Truck Town] property interests.” He explained that the new ordinance did not prevent Truck Town from improving (per ordinance and county regulations) the site – and that the city wants Truck Town to “stay for as long as they want to be there.”

Hearing said he estimated the last time the Truck Town site was improved was in 1976 and the property is subject to the same county/city regulations that state once a property is improved more than 50% of its assessed value (over the prior ten years), the entire site must be brought up to current building codes – something that can be costly for property owners. Mayor Ken cautioned, though, that the same regulations pertains to all North Bend and King County property owners and is not particular to the Truck Town site.

New Parking Tax Also Being Criticized

In addition to some residents feeling the tax is move to push Truck Town out of North Bend, the new Commercial Parking Tax is also being criticized because of its placement in the May 3rd City Council agenda – where it is part of the consent agenda, which requires no discussion by council members or citizens prior to its approval.  Some residents feel such a large and new tax should be discussed prior to a vote.

Mayor Hearing confirmed that he has heard one council member will request the Parking Tax ordinance be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion, but that won’t be for certain until the North Bend City Council Meeting begins on Tuesday, May 3rd at 7PM, at the Mt. Si Senior Center, 411 S. Main Street.

 

Truck Town located in North Bend at I-90 exit 34.

Truck Town located in North Bend at I-90 exit 34.

 

 

 

imposes a 30% tax on a quarterly basis to the gross proceeds of a commercial parking business.

 

The additional revenue generated from the adoption of a commercial parking tax would help mitigate the service impacts created by this activity on traffic and transportation infrastructure.

 

SUMMARY STATEMENT: Chapter 82.80 RCW allows cities to impose a tax on commercial parking transactions. This tax may either be on the commercial parking business, based on either gross proceeds or by a fixed fee per stall, or on the customer (similar to an admissions tax). The parking business operator is responsible for collecting the tax and remitting it to the city. The proposed ordinance adds a new Chapter 3.26 to the North Bend Municipal Code entitled Commercial Parking Tax and imposes a 30% tax on a quarterly basis to the gross proceeds of a commercial parking business. In compliance with the provisions of RCW 82.80.070 the proceeds of the tax shall be used strictly for transportation purposes. The City desires to establish a commercial parking tax to generate additional revenue to maintain, repair, expand, construct and operate the City’s transportation network. The commercial truck travel center located within city boundaries brings a significant amount of truck traffic through the City of North Bend, resulting in numerous adverse impacts on City streets and infrastructure. The additional revenue generated from the adoption of a commercial parking tax would help mitigate the service impacts created by this activity on traffic and transportation infrastructure. This tax will apply to any other paid parking lots that may operate in the City in the future. It is difficult to determine precisely how much revenue this commercial parking tax would generate. The amount generated is dependent on how many paid parking stalls are used per day and the parking rate being assessed by the parking business operator. Regardless of the amount generated, while it will help address the transportation infrastructure issue, it will still not generate enough proceeds to fully fund the City pavement management and street maintenance budgets.

Comments

  1. Don’t trust the Mayor, there is an article in Cle Elum’s news paper after a meeting of mayors in Roslyn were he is quoted saying the following: “We’re the last remaining truck stop in King County and we’ve taken steps to change that. The noise is affecting everyone. We’re not going to be a truck stop anymore.”

  2. Citizens,
    Truck Town has been an integral part of the Snoqualmie Valley for over fifty years. The local family operation ran twenty four hours a day – seven days a week and employed local people as one of the top five employers in the valley. During hard times and good times Truck Town has been there to support the community – it’s time the community supports Truck Town. The City of North Bend has imposed a full scale attack on Truck Town for no other reason according to Mayor Hearing than the city can make more tax monies off an office park style development.
    Adjacent to Truck Town is 36 acres of undeveloped land – land which is under the control of Puget Western, a real estate and development strategy company in Bothell. Puget Western know for providing professional real estate development calls this 36 acre site, “I-90 Industrial Park” on its web site. Puget Western has several large scale development sites in Washington to include Snoqualmie Ridge and is very adapt to local politics.
    The first attack came when the City of North Bend recently passed an Ordinance on April 19th not allowing Truck Town to purchase land to expand. The city attempted to bolster its case by saying 600 semi-trucks went through down town every day – when questioned on the number and source – no documents were offered by the city. The 600 semi-trucks a day in down town North Bend may have been true when Weyerhaeuser ran the sawmill, but today? I have lived in Silver Creek and Old Si View (North Bend) for 39 years – currently North Bend Way down town has more use from school buses and local delivery/business/development type trucks than Semi-trucks from Truck Town. In fact the truck traffic for Truck Town at Exit 34 (Edgewick Road) – gets off I-90 and then right back onto I-90 at Exit 34 with no impact to down town North Bend over two miles away. The city’s argument that Truck Town traffic causes excessive wear and tear on roads is also without merit – its only 2 blocks from the freeway exit. One has to wonder about the city’s motives as nothing has been said or done to Genie (on the same road as Truck Town) or the Nintendo Distribution Center (behind the Factory Stores) – both of which have semi-truck traffic.
    The second attack came this week, eight days later, with the release of the Council Agenda for the May meeting. Under the Consent Agenda was a new Ordinance to tax Truck Town Paid Parking at 30% — and I thought the city sewer prices were out of site. Why sneak this 30% parking tax ordinance through the council’s consent agenda – unless the majority of the council has bought into the plan. Normal policy is for Agenda Bills to be given a first reading (especially volatile topics) at a meeting and on the second reading at a future meeting be voted on, this way the public has a heads up and can comment – the process used in this case is dirty politics with a motive.
    Currently the Rodgers family still owns the land, but leases the facility site to TA. Instead of Truck Town attempting to purchase land to expand (solving issues) – it may be easier for Truck Town to sell their 16 acres to Puget Western. Puget Western can then “square up” their site – I-90 Industrial Park – with 16 more acres and obtain a major road access (North Bend Way) directly on their south border for a more ideal site plan. But, according to Mayor Hearing this is about taxes – then again maybe I am seeing the Bellevue High School Football Scandal as being involved.
    Best Regards,
    Chris Lodahl
    ( North Bend Mayor 1992-1995)

  3. Did I see a 30% tax to park? What are we Manhatten all of a sudden?

  4. Wait a minute, people move in next to Truck Town and then complain about Truck Town? Bizarre.

  5. People want there” things”. their food, their medical supplies, their fuel, their clothing, their baby formula, and everything they touch. But for some reason they are made to believe that all these things will magically appear.
    It never stops amazing me how ignorant and selfish people are. These are the same people I’m sure who also complain about needing more truck regulations for safer highways and demanding that we “stop truck driver fatigue”. But now, ironically, and without logic, thought or reason, they believe truckers do not need places to sleep in order to receive their federally regulated and mandated 10 hour rest. “Well, they should sleep, just not here in North Bend” “Just bring us everything we need…. we really don’t care about you or your needs”

  6. Chuck Shepard says

    So don’t haul ANY loads in or out of that town. If ALL the companies would simply boycott places that are anti-truck it would make a statement that they couldn’t ignore, then change their attitude, and regs.

  7. William Curtin says

    I’m a one truck operation, so I determine what I haul and where I go. Parking has always been a factor in what I choose to haul. In 2017 the entire trucking industry well be on electronic logs which determine how long we can legally drive. This means that when the time is up we absolutely have to be parked. How does this effect you? When I go to areas with limited parking I demand two things, more time to deliver the load, and a higher rate (price) to deliver the load, because I’m taking more time in the first place and I’ll have to travel further to park afterwards. How does this effect you? Let’s say one of your local employers are running out of space. They have two choices expand in your area or move to a bigger building out of your area. Now what if moving will lower their freight rates?

  8. Susan Deming says

    As a truck driver I move we boycott taking goods and supplies to North Bend. You don’t want us, then we don’t have to haul your goods in. Your store shelves will be empty. Maybe you should rethink your quest to remove how you eat.

  9. Carol Anway says

    As an ordinary citizen of North Bend, I think it is good that we have a truck stop, and I don’t see why someone wants to run them out of town or out of business. Truckers have a tough time finding a good place to sleep. In the last year or so, signs went up prohibiting trucks from most of the roads in town, so using taxes to improve roads doesn’t seem like a logical argument. And ramming this through council rapidly prevents ordinary people like myself from reviewing the move — and in may prevent some from finding out about it until it is too late. Something’s fishy here. Let’s take the time to sift through the issue more closely. Also, let’s see some more investigative journalism on this issue.

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