After a 45 minute recess with council members exiting and entering the chambers in various combinations, the King County council voted to delay voting on the $20 "congestion reduction fee" until August 15.
Today was the deadline for the fallback option, putting the $20 fee on the November ballot on a simple majority vote. But the council has until August 15 to put it on the ballot as an "emergency" measure, requiring six or more votes. However, council members Reagan Dunn and Bob Ferguson say there are assurances that there are more than enough votes to put it on the ballot at that date, so missing today's deadline is not a major issue. There is no deadline for councilmanic approval.
What does the council hope to achieve by delaying the vote? Well, if they avoid a ballot measure, it saves the county about $800,000. That's a start, I suppose, though only a drop in the bucket of the $25 million a year the $20 fee would raise. As far as what kind of compromise might be possible, I dunno... a one year fee? $10 instead of $20? Neither seems like enough to sway a vote.
But as council member Joe McDermott said afterwards, "We don't lose anything by trying." Yeah, Joe. Except another five hours of my life.