Port of Port Angeles to refrain from tax increase

PORT ANGELES — The Port of Port Angeles will not increase property taxes next year, despite being allowed under state law to impose a 1 percent increase each year.

“I continue to be in the opinion we should not increase our property tax levy as long as we are in the black at the end of the year and we don’t have specific projects to go after,” said Port Commissioner Connie Beauvais during a port meeting Monday. “We don’t need to increase taxes even though we can.”

Commissioner Colleen McAleer said that because other governments are asking for tax increases, the port shouldn’t this year.

“Hopefully the fact that we are not taking that 1 percent will make property owners in the county feel more comfortable that we are being as conservative as possible as other governments are needing to request increases,” she said.

Port Executive Director Karen Goschen said the port has an “aggressive capital plan” and that the port might need to consider issuing debt in the coming years.

She said the port could use its banked capacity to help fund future projects.

Banked capacity is the ability provided to local governments by state law to levy less than the maximum increase in property taxes allowed under law without losing the ability to levy higher taxes later if necessary.

Commissioner Steve Burke said he agrees there is no reason to take an additional 1 percent property tax increase this year but that he’d like to revisit the issue before the port issues debt.

He said if the port doesn’t use its banked capacity, it would cost taxpayers more because the port would be paying more interest on borrowed money.

McAleer said if the port doesn’t use its banked capacity, the port would end up paying more, but taxpayers wouldn’t pay more money out of their own pockets.

“It doesn’t directly come out of their taxes,” she said. “It comes as a higher capital cost to the port.”

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsula dailynews.com.

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