Monday, July 25, 2022

Redmond City Council Approves Public Safety Levy Resolution

Redmond police in the library watching over the Community Court.
The Body-worn Camera Program will be funded by the General Fund
not the Levy.  photo credit, Bob Yoder

REDMOND, WA – At their July 19 business meeting, members of the Redmond City Council voted five to two (Fields,Kahn) in support of adding a proposition to the November 8, 2022, King County election. With a majority vote, Councilmembers passed Resolution No. 1560, which places a proposition on the ballot to fund a comprehensive public safety program beginning in 2023.

“Placing a levy on the November ballot empowers Redmond voters to choose the future direction of our public safety programs,” said Redmond Mayor Angela Birney. “Our community has consistently requested alternative public safety approaches to address today’s challenges. This levy goes beyond retaining and expanding police and fire staff. It also funds alternative approaches to crisis intervention while connecting our community members with appropriate services.”

The proposed measure would raise property taxes beginning in 2023 by *$0.366 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which would generate $10.4 million per year. This would cost the median Redmond homeowner $30.50 a month or $366 a year, based on the City’s 2021 average home assessed value of one million dollars.

Redmond voters last passed a public safety levy in 2007. By state law, revenue from the levy is limited to a 1% increase per year, while expenses have increased approximately 5% per year. As a result of expenses outpacing revenue, the City is proposing a new levy to maintain the existing services and fund innovative service enhancements requested by the community.

“The 2007 levy no longer supports the services our changing city needs,” said Mayor Birney. “Now is the time to strategically invest in our growing community and address our evolving public safety needs. The proposal before the voters will strengthen the community through innovative programs that provide safety, stability, and resources for anyone in crisis.”

If approved, the new revenues would fund the traditional and innovative safety approaches outlined in Redmond’s Comprehensive Public Safety Plan, including: Hiring additional personnel to increase mental and behavioral health services, crisis response, and resources to support special need community members.
  • Enhancing mobile health services through the Fire Department
  • Expanding fire personnel to increase fire suppression capabilities within Redmond
  • Adding police personnel to support rapid response to a growing and changing community
  • Reinvesting in the fire and police personnel supported by the 2007 property tax levy lid lift

More information about the levy and Comprehensive Public Safety Plan can be viewed at www.LetsConnectRedmond.com/Safety.  City Press Release, 7/25/2022

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I am very, very happy with this resolution.  I'm especially pleased the Police are honest about the Body-worn Camera Program as being entirely funded by the General Fund / One-Time money.  Funding 6 mental health specialists to work the streets, including one mental professional and five social workers/case managers is a God send.

  -- Bob Yoder, 7/25/2022 

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