Overwhelming defeat of LFP Prop. 1 was a surprise even to opponents

Thursday, August 19, 2010


By Evan Smith
ShorelineAreaNews Politics Writer

The margin of defeat for Lake Forest Park Proposition 1 was a surprise even to some of the levy-lid lift’s strongest opponents.

Former LFP Councilwoman Carolyn Armanini, who had worked against the proposal, told me Wednesday that she was surprised by the margin by which the proposal went down.

The percentage of “no” votes fell Thursday but still stood at 78.58 percent, with almost 80 percent of the votes counted.

Countywide voter turnout was more than 32 percent Thursday, compared to the 45 percent that officials had projected.

The Thursday count includes ballots that had arrived at the King County elections office by Wednesday morning.

“We had hoped to prevail, but truly were surprised by the initial numbers, Armanini said. “These results should send a strong message to those in city government about the expectations of the community.”
She added that the City should take the opportunity “to step back, review the priorities of Lake Forest Park residents, fund those, and determine where savings can be realized in those areas that aren't priorities and even make some reasonable adjustments in priority areas.”

LFP Mayor Dave Hutchinson said Thursday morning that the 10 percent budget cut he mentioned in a message to citizens Wednesday was just a first step toward closing the $700,000 budget gap the City will have next year without the money that the levy-lid lift would have provided.

While Hutchinson has asked each City department to list what it would cut with 10 percent less money, he said that he doesn’t expect the police department or the Municipal Court to suffer cuts of that level.

In fact, Hutchinson said, public safety would get the smallest budget cuts because citizens who responded to a survey last year had listed public safety as the top City priority.

He said he would present the information to the City Council, which will use the information in writing the City budget for the next two years.

Armanini responded that the statement of across-the-board cuts was a reflection of threats Hutchinson had made during the campaign to pass the proposal.

Asked about whether the City had asked for too much in the proposal, Hutchinson said that that City had simply asked for the money it would need to maintain the current level of service. Now, with the answer from this week’s election, it will figure out the best way to operate with less money.

Hutchinson added that he didn’t expect the City to go to the voters with another tax proposal in the foreseeable future.

He also said that the City couldn’t look to other sources of revenue because, as a residential community, it must depend almost entirely on property taxes.

Asked about whether the vote on the tax proposal was a reversal of last year’s City Council election that saw prominent tax opponents leave the Council, Hutchinson responded that the 2009 election had been about the people involved, not just the candidates’ stand on City taxes.

That vote count as of Thursday afternoon, with the next count scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday:

CITY OF LAKE FOREST PARK

Ballots Cast/Registered Voters: *
4,505
/
9,328
48.30%
City Of Lake Forest Park Proposition No. 1 Levy For Retention Of Basic Public Safety And Other Services


YES

953
21.42%

NO

3,497
78.58%


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