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.
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.