April 3, 2019
MERCER ISLAND, WA — The Mercer Island City Council has approved another $1.34 million in budget cuts, citing the failure of the Proposition 1 property tax levy last November.
Mercer Island has been steadily making cuts since Prop 1 failed, including cutting down hours at the community center, and canceling annual events like the Summer Celebration and the annual Easter egg hunt.
The cuts approved this week hit multiple departments, including police, City Council, finance, and parks. About $400,000 in cuts will take effect in 2019, the rest in 2020.
Some cuts for 2019 include: $23,046 from the parks overtime budget; $30,000 from police special events pay; and eliminating a $78,856 position at the information and geographic services desk.
The cuts were approved on the same day that Proposition 1 opponents asked Prop 1 supporters to donate money to Mercer Island's coffers.
"We encourage the 42 percent of voters who favored the tax increase in Proposition 1 to write a check to the City of Mercer Island general fund in the amount of half the increase they would have paid if Prop 1 had passed. The remaining half can be sent in October 2019 with the next property tax bill is due," Michael Cero, head of the group Mercer Islanders for Sustainable Spending, wrote in an email sent to many island residents.
Cero told Patch that he was being logical, not sarcastic.
"The suggestion to contribute to the city the amount saved is logical. Why force your neighbors to do something that you yourself will not do voluntarily? The City of Mercer Island is in some sense a non-profit. Why shouldn't people evaluate contributing to the city, state, federal governments just like they contribute any other nonprofit?" he told Patch.
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