On July 19, members of the Redmond City Council passed Resolution No. 1560 by 5-2, which places a proposition on the November 8 ballot to fund comprehensive public safety programs, beginning in 2023.
According to Redmond Mayor Angela Birney, this levy empowers Redmond voters to choose the future direction of the city’s public safety programs.
“Our community has consistently requested alternative public safety approaches to address today’s challenges,” said Mayor Birney. “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 property value, with an expected yearly generation of $10.4 million. According to the City of Redmond, it would cost the median Redmond homeowner $30.50 per month, or $366 per year, based on the city’s 2021 average home assessed value of $1 million. The last public safety measure passed by Redmond voters was in 2007.
“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 revenues would fund safety approaches outlined in Redmond’s Comprehensive Public Safety Plan which includes:
- Hiring additional personnel to increase mental and behavioral health services, crisis response and resources to support special needs 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
- Reinvesting in fire and police personnel supported by the 2007 property tax levy lid lift
According to Brant DeLarme, communications and marketing specialist for the City of Redmond, the Comprehensive Public Safety Plan includes $1.98 million for 12 additional commissioned and noncommissioned police staff and $935,000 for body-worn and dash cameras.
“The plan would enhance mental health response by hiring six additional mental health responders to de-escalate interactions, handle crisis intervention, help people experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges, and substance abuse, and connect them with the right services,” said DeLarme.
To fund the mental health co-responders, DeLarme brought up how $688,000 would be allocated. He also mentioned how $3.5 million will go towards retaining 18 firefighters and 17 police positions, which were originally funded by the 2007 levy.