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Langley levy barely fails

Forty-three votes was all it took for Langley residents to turn down a levy during the primary election Sept. 14 asking for more tax dollars.

With the election results finalized Sept. 24, the issue that has divided many Langley opinions came to an end. In an interview last week, Mayor Neil Colburn said while he is disappointed the levy failed, he does feel the Langley City Council might try another levy proposition in another election.

This week, Colburn said city staff has been waiting for the results of the levy before they began the 2005 budget process. City council will begin discussions on the budget beginning at the Langley City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“We are starting it as we speak,” he said.

Colburn said they will analyze the ramifications of the levy lid lift failing, and make recommendations on the budget based on the city’s priorities.

Since there had not been a council meeting since the election results were finalized, Colburn said the council has not discussed when or if they would attempt another levy.

In a proposition where a simple majority was required, 211 city of Langley residents said “no” to the levy while 168 said “yes.”

It proposed city residents increase Langley-specific taxes paid by property owners inside city limits to a maximum of $2.42 per $1,000. Currently the rate is $1.16 per $1,000 of property value — one of the lowest levy rates in the state and of the three cities and towns on Whidbey Island.

Colburn said the money would be partially earmarked for an increase in employee wages, and the addition of planning employees to address the city’s growth concerns and the Langley Boat Harbor expansion.

The funds would have increased the city’s tax take an additional $185,468, and was also planned for street improvements on Second Street and general operations, such as routine maintenance that has been deferred on aging city equipment.

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