By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News
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Today is the last chance to have a say in tax requests from Jefferson Transit and the Port Townsend and Chimacum school districts.
Ballots must be postmarked by today or left in drop boxes by 8 p.m. to be counted in the all-mail election, in which voting began Jan. 19.
Voters countywide are being asked to approve a sales tax increase of 0.3 percent to avoid service cuts to Jefferson Transit.
The tax levy questions are before voters only in the Port Townsend and Chimacum school district, as well as the 142 West End residents who vote in the Forks-based Quillayute Valley School District.
Donna Eldridge, county auditor, said her office expects to count all the ballots received through today during the machine tally tonight after 8.
Of the 21,704 ballots issued countywide, 10,949 -- or 50.4 percent -- had been returned by Monday afternoon.
Ballots can be taken to the Auditor's Office at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St., Port Townsend; placed in a 24-hour drop box in the rear parking lot of the courthouse; or placed in another 24-hour drop box at the Jefferson County Library, 620 Cedar Ave., Port Hadlock.
The Jefferson Transit board -- made up of the three county commissioners and two Port Townsend City Council members -- placed the sales tax measure on the ballot, saying that the anticipated $1.1 million it is expected to generate annually would allow the public agency to maintain existing bus services.
The increase, which would add 3 cents to a $10 retail purchase, would raise Jefferson County's sales tax rate to 9 percent.
The Port Townsend School District is requesting a four-year replacement educational programs and operation property tax levy, which would collect $3.1 million its first year in 2012 and about 4 percent more each year.
The current levy -- which raises about $3 million -- has a tax rate of $1.17 per $1,000 assessed valuation, which means the owner of a $200,000 home pays about $234 in property taxes.
The estimated rate of the new levy would be $1.23 per $1,000 assessed valuation, which means the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $246.
The Chimacum School District is asking for $2.25 million with a rate of $1.23 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, meaning that the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $246 in 2012 property taxes.
The current rate is $1 per $1,000 of assessed valuation -- or $200 in the tax on a $200,000 home.
On the West End, the Quillayute Valley School District's two-year levy would bring in $626,348 -- an increase of $60,000 with an estimated rate of $1.41 per $1,000 assessed valuation.
That means that the owner of a $200,000 home would pay about $282 per year in property taxes.
Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.