City Council to reconsider car tab fee

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima City Council will meet for a study session Tuesday to once again address the possibility of putting a car tab fee on the ballot. Council members decided against it in the past, but the city learned 50 percent of residents support for the car tab fee in the recent survey.

Roads around town are crumbling. Yakima has 802 lane miles falling below city standards. Coming up with the $600 million for repairs won't be easy. City council members hope a $5 million bond for road improvements will help. It will be left up to voters.

"It's really hard to say you know because I think at this point, I think our government is doing a lot of things," said Mike Prediletto of Yakima. "Our city is doing a lot of things ass backwards."

Plans for the $5 million focus on the main streets in Yakima. Some need full reconstruction while other streets would get chip and core seal makeover. Paying that money back when budgets are already squeezed is no easy task. One idea is to slap everyone with a $20 annual city car tab fee.

"If it's an additional tab fee on top of what I pay already. then no, I'm against that," said Bob Ackerman of Yakima. "I think they should hold open discussion on it so we can learn more and so I can find out where my money goes that I pay already that I thought was going toward road repair."

Council already spent $25,000 on a city survey mailed to 3,000 voters. Half of them liked the cab tab idea. Now council will vote on spending at least $40,000 to put it on the ballot next year. This issue is nothing new. Last spring, Yakima Mayor Micah Cawley told Action News council wanted to take its time and do this right.

Some voters who spoke with us said they'd like to see bigger improvements made even if it means taking more money out of their wallets. Others say no way.

"They could be looking at other alternatives," said Prediletto.

The $5 million toward road improvements would extend the life of 28 miles here in Yakima by an average of seven to 30 years.