Transportation Benefit District (TBD)
The City of Blaine operates under a balanced budget, and has passed all financial and accountability audits by the state. City services (such as police, planning, economic development, the community center, streets, parks, library, and youth programs) are primarily funded by a tax on some utilities, a sales tax, and a property tax levy. You can find a full copy of the City's 2017 Budget (PDF).
The City has been working with residents and businesses to identify priorities for services and projects as part of a Strategic Economic Initiative completed this year. Learn more about this initiative.Like most cities, the demand for services in Blaine is higher than the revenue available to provide them. The City is limited by law to a one percent revenue increase per year on its property tax levy. It also retains less than one percent of the 8.5% sales tax remitted to the state. This is causing the City to look at different ways to fund the services and projects that local residents want.
Long-term, we need to have a conversation with our community about how to fund large projects like a library and cultural center. Short-term, we are focused on maintaining and improving streets, sidewalks and trail connections. Good transportation links are critical to economic development, which attracts and keeps businesses in Blaine, and welcomes people for shopping and tourism – all of which generate revenue for City services local residents want.
After the City asked, voters approved a Transportation Benefit District (TBD) for this purpose during the April 25, 2017 Special Election. The TBD will be funded for 10 years through two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) sales tax. This will make Blaine's total sales tax rate 8.7%, which is the same as the neighboring communities of Bellingham, Lynden and Ferndale. It will generate approximately $200,000 a year for transportation projects and programs, and help the city provide matching funds for grant requests. View a list of priority projects (PDF).
Please let us know if you have any questions about the TBD or would like to be participate in public discussions about what projects should be funded by email. Thank you!
Letter to the Editor May 4-10
The Northern Light - May 10, 2017
Special election ballot due
Northern Light - April 19, 2017
Funding for Blaine Transportation Benefit District on ballot
Press Release - April 10, 2017 (PDF)
Open House Meetings
Press Release - March 24, 2017 (PDF)
Sales tax measure set for inclusion on April ballot
The Northern Light - February 16, 2017
Sales tax increase to be on the April ballot
Bellingham Herald - February 15, 2017
Letters to the Editor February 9-15
The Northern Light - February 15, 2017
Blaine City Council passes resolution for Transportation Benefit District funding
Press Release - February 14, 2017 (PDF)
Blaine City Council votes to form Transportation Benefit District
The Northern Light – January 26, 2017
Blaine holds public hearings on Transportation Benefit District
Press Release - January 9, 2017 (PDF)
Blaine residents identify priorities for services
Press Release - December 19, 2016 (PDF)
- Resolution 1704-17 (PDF) - Providing for a ballot proposition to be submitted to the qualified electors of the City on April 25, 2017, to impose a two-tenths of one percent (0.002) sales and use tax within the City (formerly the Blaine Transportation Benefit District) for a period of ten years to fund specified transportation improvements, and provide direction to prepare an annual report pursuant to RCW 36.73.160.
- Ordinance 17-2899 (PDF) - Assuming the rights, powers, functions and obligations to the City of Blaine Transportation Benefit District by the City of Blaine as allowed by RCW 36.74.
- Ordinance 17-2896 (PDF) - Specifying the boundaries for the TBD that will coincide with the City of Blaine, and specifying the projects to be funded by the TBD.
- Resolution 1703-17 (PDF) - Setting a public hearing to consider the assumption of the Blaine TBD by the City of Blaine pursuant to RCW 36.74.
- Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) (PDF) - Amendment and Project list.
- Potential street and trail projects (PDF) - Included in the Strategic Economic Initiative (SEI) report.
- Information about the TBD on the ballot - Spring 2017