PORT ANGELES — Clallam County’s noxious weed board has recommended the county commissioners approve the first weed control assessment increase since 2000.
The commissioners on Monday set a public hearing on the proposed increase for 10:30 a.m. Oct. 17 in the commissioners hearing room at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles.
The proposal would increase the assessment from $1.50 per parcel to $3.60 per parcel and from 13 cents per acre to 31 cents per acre on all property not classified as forest land, according to a draft ordinance presented to the commissioners. Forested land would be assessed at one-tenth of that amount per state law, or 36 cents per parcel and 3.1 cents per acre.
In 2000, the weed assessment was $1.50 parcel plus 13 cents an acre on non-forested lands and 15 cents per parcel and 13 cents per on forested lands.
In 2022, the assessment raised $88,825. The proposed increase is projected to raise an additional $213,000 a year.
“We are proposing to have the assessment fund an actual full-time inspection program. And so this would cover the inspector’s salary and benefits and three-quarters of the coordinator’s salary and benefits,” said Christina St. John, noxious weed board coordinator.
“It would cover supplies and a third vehicle costs, and then we added a cost of living adjustment to that. It’s a flat per-acre fee. It’s on the property tax statements.”
The inspector’s responsibilities include teaching people what these weeds are, letting them know they have them on the property and their legal obligations, St. John said.
The noxious weed board has held two public meetings and one public hearing regarding the increase, she said.
Commissioner Randy Johnson said that outreach to the public is necessary to be successful.
“So I have no problems with it,” he said.
St. John said Clallam County’s noxious weed assessment is the lowest of any county on either side of the state.
“Operating costs have increased since the original assessment was put into place in 2000. Even if we did the exact same thing, the value of the dollar has inflated 70 percent and our assessment has not gone up 70 percent,” she said.
Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.