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Lakewood City Council Unanimously Opposes Proposition 1

The Lakewood City Council on Monday night unanimously approved a resolution opposing the City of Tacoma’s Proposition 1, a Nov. 5 ballot measure that would likely force some utility customers in Lakewood to pay for fixes to their neighboring city’s streets.

After residents voiced their opposition to the measure – which would levy a 2-percent earnings tax on electric, telephone and gas utilities that would likely result in customers in Lakewood and other neighboring communities paying more - Lakewood leaders agreed the proposal would not benefit their residents.

The City of Lakewood received almost 30 e-mails over the weekend from residents opposed to Proposition 1, and another 10 residents spoke at Monday night’s public hearing.

Their message was clear: Lakewood residents shouldn’t have to pay for street improvements in another city.

Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen said the solution that the City of Tacoma has come up with, “unfortunately has a regional impact beyond the roads that Tacoma intends to repair.”

“We need to take care of our own first,” he added.

If passed, the ballot measure would levy a 2-percent earnings tax on natural gas, electric and phone companies for the sole purpose of funding basic, Tacoma-wide neighborhood street improvements and safety upgrades.

Utility companies may choose to pass this cost increase on to their customers through their rates, though the Tacoma City Council would have to approve any Tacoma Power rate change.

The Lakewood City Council joined residents, neighboring communities, local business owners, as well as the Lakewood and Tacoma-Pierce County Chambers of Commerce, all of which say Proposition 1 is neither fair, nor is it good for local businesses.