Community Indicators: Sales Tax

Family walking around Capitol Lake with Dome in background

Measuring Our Progress with Community Indicators

Community Indicators are a way for us to track and share progress on our community's vision within each of our five focus areas. Data for the indicators may be impacted by City initiatives or actions, but are also influenced by the broader community.

For each indicator, the gauge highlights progress toward our goal, and areas to learn more or focus more attention. Right now, the goals are general (ex. increase). Over time we expect to identify more specific targets, where appropriate.

You can explore each of the indicators by focus area below, or view them all at-a-glance on our Community Indicators Dashboard (PDF).

Two teens showing of vegetables in community garden

Community Safety & Health Indicators

Citizen satisfaction with their involvement in City decision making

2017 2018 Goal rating
75% very or mostly satisfied 75% very or mostly satisfied
(2017)
Increase Green

Olympia's Comprehensive Plan's value statements emphasize public participation: "The City of Olympia places a high priority on engaging citizens early and often and regularly demonstrates how the voices of the community are heard...Olympia engages the public in major decisions through a variety of methods...Because of this, the City has built trust with the community."

This indicator is based on a statistically-valid survey of Olympia residents, which asks people who state they've participated in a City planning or decision-making process to rate their experience. Respondents may be influenced by many factors regarding the quality of their experience, potentially including the frequency of opportunities, notification, convenience, ease of providing input, whether they felt heard and outcome of the process.

In 2017, the City added online tools for citizens to find information, provide comments or report an issue:

  • OlyConnects - to make citizen service requests
  • SmartGov Portal - to apply for permits and get permit information

These tools are in addition to major planning processes that includ extensive public involvement processes, including:

  • Completion of a Downtown Strategy
  • Missing Middle Infill Housing
  • Sea Level Rise Response Planning
  • Parking Strategy
  • West Bay Park & Restoration Plan

A 2014 city-wide survey asked respondents to rate their neighborhood, overall, as a desirable place to live: Excellent, Very Good, Satisfactory, Fair, or Poor. 85% rated their neighborhood Excellent or Very Good. In 2017, a city-wide survey asked respondents to rate Olympia as a place to live. 75% rated it as Excellent or Very Good.


Man waving out of window in Downtown

Downtown Indicators

Sales Tax Revenue

2017 2018 Goal rating
$1,545,680 Not available Increase Yellow

A strong revenue base and a vital Downtown that provides a strong center for Olympia's economy are goals established by the community in the Comprehensive Plan. Sales Tax is one of the most prominent revenue streams that the City relies upon to deliver services to the community.

Monitoring sales tax Downtown helps us to evaluate trends and so that we can better target our Economic Development efforts in a way that benefits businesses Citywide.

A robust economy where businesses are thriving drives sales tax revenue in our community. Sales tax is a volatile source of revenue that ebbs and flows with the overall economy.

In 2015 the City hired an Economic Development Director to work on retention strategies for existing businesses and recruitment strategies to bring new businesses and corresponding revenue to our community. A continued focus on Economic Development, along with Public Safety, Homelessness Response and Housing initiatives will aid the City in its efforts to keep Sales Tax revenues stable over time.

Sales Tax revenue began to level off in 2017 and 2018 after increasing for the past few years post-recession.

The data for this indicator is based on businesses that belong to the Parking and Business Improvement Area in Downtown. These businesses represent about 10% of the overall Sales Tax generated in Olympia. Measuring this portion of the revenue will aid us in identifying trends and tracking our Economic Development efforts.


Man shopping for produce at Olympia farmers Market

Economy Indicators

Condition of City infrastructure

2017 2018 Goal rating
B-minus B-minus Increase Yellow

Maintaining Olympia's infrastructure in good condition is vital to the health, safety and economic vitality of the community. Our community relies upon our infrastructure for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods, safe and reliable drinking water and the protection of public health, property and the environment.

The condition of City infrastructure is influenced by age, expected life, level of maintenance, degree of use and many other factors. The level of financial investment in maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement of aging infrastructure is critical.

The City's goal is to maximize the life of our infrastructure at the lowest cost while meeting our citizen's expectations for service. We do this by:

  • Maintaining an inventory of all City infrastructure
  • Regularly rating the condition of all infrastructure
  • Implementing efficient preventative maintenance programs
  • Implementing rehabilitation projects to extend the life of assets
  • Replacing infrastructure at the end of its useful life
  • Continually looking for lower cost, innovative solutions

Despite our best efforts, some areas do not have sufficient funding to maintain the amount of assets we currently have. The most notable areas are in street maintenance (overall rating of C-plus, or "fair"), bridge maintenance (overall rating of C-plus, or "fair") and building repair (overall rating of B with much lower ratings in older buildings). In response, the City continues to explore revenue options, further efficiencies where feasible and pursuit of grant funding.

Continued decline in the condition of these assets will result in more costly repairs in the future.

Each category of infrastructure is inspected, rated and scored on a regular basis. The rating is converted to a letter grade, A - F (A=excellent, B=good, C=fair, D=poor, F=unacceptable). The overall grade is an average across all infrastructure categories.


Two children holding trees in planters in Priest Point Park

Environment Indicators

City-owned sites with contaminated soil cleaned up (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
22% 20% Increase Yellow

We measure and report on this indicator because properties with contaminated soil or groundwater can harm human health and the environment. Soil or groundwater on previously-used properties may be contaminated by oil or gas products, chemicals, or other contaminants that leaked or were disposed of improperly by previous property owners, businesses or residents.

These contaminants can remain present in the soil for many years, or move through the soil in groundwater - sometimes reaching streams or Puget Sound - affecting the health of humans, fish, plants and wildlife.

The process of cleaning up historically-contaminated sites is governed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and WA Dept of Ecology. Federal and state laws and rules set standards for cleanup of each type of contaminant. Previous property owners responsible for contamination can be liable for the cost of cleanup, which can be very expensive. Site cleanup can involve years of work to identify and clean up contaminants.

The City of Olympia owns ten sites with known soil or groundwater contaminants from previous uses of those properties, or nearby properties whose contaminants flowed under the City-owned sites in groundwater. Two of those sites - Olympia City Hall and the Hands-On Children's Museum - have been certified by Ecology as cleaned up to required standards.

The City has completed assessments of historic documents and some on-site exploration to assess the contamination on seven of the City's remaining eight contaminated sites. The seventh site, the City's Maintenance Center, is scheduled for an assessment in 2019. Portions of three of the City's seven assessed sites have been cleaned up.Additional funds are being sought to clean up the remaining portions of those sites.

The City's Downtown Strategy recommends collaborating with private property owners to seek grants for cleanup of downtown properties. The City has a consultant that performs detailed research to identify previous property owners that may be responsible for past contamination. When evidence clearly identifies their responsibility, that party pays for cleanup costs. The City will be seeking grants in 2019 to help complete additional assessments.

We measure the percentage of City-owned sites that have been fully cleaned up per required standards. The City also works with owners of contaminated properties to clean up those properties through the land use and building permit process. However, information is not available to identify all properties in Olympia that may be contaminated.


Man and three children biking on neighborhood path

Neighborhoods Indicators

Amount of City located within 1/2 mile of a park or open space (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
60.3% 61.88% Increase Yellow

This indicator highlights the importance of easily accessible green spaces and the community and environmental benefits they provide. Having a park or open space within a short distance from one's home provides a convenient place to exercise, to take the kids to play, to walk the dog or to experience a bit of nature within the city. It gives people an opportunity to visit their local park or open space without having to drive. Parks and open spaces serve as community gathering places, as well as contribute to a neighborhood's character and sense of place.

This indicator is primarily influenced by the number and location of parks and open spaces within Olympia's inventory. It is also influenced by the location of park access points in relation to the City's street network. Both of these influences are factors the Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department incorporates into its long-range planning and acquisition strategy.

The 2016 Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan calls for the acquisition of ten new combination neighborhood parks/open spaces. The plan calls for a total of 417 acres of land acquisition. Five acquisitions totaling 343 acres are planned for by 2021.

The City is also exploring creating new park access points in cases where this will make the park walking-distance to substantially more residences.

Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software, we annually map our park system to determine what percentage of the City is located within 1/2 mile of a park or open space. Each year, through acquisitions and development of new park access points, we strive to increase the percentage of the City that is within a 1/2 mile.