Chimacum, Port Townsend schools planning to seek property tax levies

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Both Chimacum and Port Townsend schools expect to place capital levy requests before voters next year to fund repairs of facilities.

Of the two, only the Chimacum School Board has voted to put a property tax levy request on the ballot, opting for the Feb. 14 special election.

The Port Townsend School Board will consider voting to put a property levy request before voters when it meets Monday.

At a special meeting last Monday, the Port Townsend board agreed, without taking a vote, to place a measure on the April 17 special election ballot.

This coming Monday, a capital levy request is on the agenda for board action at the meeting that will begin at 6 p.m. in the administration building, 450 Fir St.

Port Townsend Superintendent Gene Laes is expected to change the proposal, said Amy Kihle, district financial manager, cutting the amount requested from $6,998,950 to $4,726,000 and urging that the measure be placed on the February ballot.

“Traditionally, it is easier to pass a school measure in February,” Kihle said.

The Port Townsend proposal would be for four years, while the Chimacum proposal is a six-year plan that would raise a total of $7,950,000.

Both districts are seeking to replace the bond payments that were voter-approved in the past and are set to expire in 2012.

If approved, the new levies would begin in 2013 and would not represent a significant increase in property taxes, representatives of both districts have said.

Facilities in both districts are badly in need of repair, officials said, and even in a bad economy and with reluctance to raise taxes, they are optimistic about approval.

“It’s all about preservation of the schools,” said Port Townsend School Board member Bill ­LeMaster.

At Port Townsend schools, the items listed in need of repair include the upgrade and replacement of technology, replacement of the phone system, replacement of roofs, replacement of sidewalk and the installation of an enhanced security system.

The Lincoln Building, which is now the school’s administrative headquarters, has only one unisex bathroom that requires people to post an “occupied” sign when using the facility.

The administration is moving to a building across the street at the end of January, clearing the way for demolition of the old building.

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Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 10. 2011 5:42PM
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