Washington’s new capital sales tax committee has a road map for the near future.

The committee formed to review and debate the possible extension of the city’s half-cent capital improvement sales tax met for the second time Tuesday. The goal of the meeting was to figure out the agenda for the group going forward.

The committee also made plans for a public forum and a survey to get citizens’ input into the tax. The survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/5TDTLRB. 

Scheduling Meeting

The committee reviewed where it is in the process and where it needs to be in the future. The group also agreed on agenda topics for the next month’s worth of meetings.

Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy opened the meeting with a history of the previous committee. She said she felt the group, herself included, were a “little panicked” after the group’s first meeting. 

Lucy checked the minutes from the 2010 group and found the committee was actually likely ahead of schedule.

Last week the committee was told it needed to decide by early December if it was going to support the extension of the tax. Its decision could then be passed along to the council to vote on an ordinance in time to get the referendum on the ballot for the April municipal election.

While the committee has yet to take a formal vote, so far no member has spoken out against extending the tax. However, Lucy said there was some concern during the first meeting that the committee had to have all the possible projects picked out in six weeks.

Looking back at 2010, Lucy said the committee actually didn’t hold its first meeting until Dec. 21. Prior to that, city staff had been handling the work and hosting public forums. The council, at some point, decided to move forward with the tax and then asked the committee to nail down projects. 

Lucy said the 2010 group met all the way into January to discuss projects.

“We don’t need to be panicked,” she said.

With the committee relaxed, it then went about planning for the next several weeks of meetings. 

Next week heads of the city’s communications, police, finance, IT police and water/wastewater departments will come to the meeting to review their potential projects.

For the Nov. 14 meeting, the fire department, economic development and energy conservation projects will be reviewed. At the Nov. 21 meeting, the committee will review downtown projects, fairgrounds projects and renovations to Ronsick Field.

The final scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28, will feature presentations from the parks department.

All meetings are tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. in the city council chambers. The Nov. 21 meeting will be held in the public safety meeting room. All meetings are open to the public. 

Public Input

In addition to hearing from department heads, the committee wanted to hear from the public.

The committee agreed to hold the forum Monday, Nov. 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. The timing puts the forum just before the city’s monthly administration/operations committee meeting, meaning city staff and officials should be on hand to help answer questions.

For people who can’t make the forum, the committee fine-tuned the language for an online survey.

The city has prepared a survey for people to weigh in on possible projects that could be funded if the tax is extended. Residents and nonresidents can submit responses to the survey.

A link to the survey and a paper survey will be included in residents’ utility bills this month as well.