Commission amends interlocal agreement for affordable housing

Amendment allows county, city to pool tax money

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners approved an amendment to their interlocal agreement with the city of Port Townsend for Homeless and Affordable Housing.

The amendment allows the commissioners and the Port Townsend City Council to pool the funds allowed from the revenue of the state Substitute House Bill 1406 (SHB 1406) sales and use tax. Both entities adopted the tax recently. The move does not impose additional tax on residents. It is a which is a credit against the state sales tax.

The predicted revenue for the county to receive as a result of the sales and use tax within city limits (0.0073 percent) and unincorporated Jefferson County (0.0146 percent) is $80,000 a year for affordable housing.

The city’s tax of 0.0073 percent would generate $21,000 a year for affordable housing.

‘Pool our monies’

Both numbers are projections off of the 2018 sales figures, commission documents said.

“The idea is to pool our monies to have the maximum impact on affordable housing,” said Philip Morley, county administrator.

SHB 1406 authorizes “a city or county to impose a local sales and use tax for the acquisition, construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing or facilities providing supportive housing, and for the operations and maintenance costs of affordable or supportive housing, or, for providing rental assistance to tenants to assist persons whose income is at or below sixty percent of the county median income,” the commission documents said.

SHB 1406 has been codified as RCW 82.14.540.

The commissioners approved the ordinance for the sales and use tax on Dec. 16 and the Port Townsend City Council approved its ordinance on Jan. 6.

The commissioners approved the amendment Tuesday morning during their regular meeting.

“This will make it very clear to the community where we’re at and what we have the capacity to do,” said David Sullivan, district 2 commissioner.

Said Greg Brotherton, commission chair: “I’m excited to see what comes out of it.

“It’s a great opportunity. It’s a small pot, but I think with a lot of creativity and deep knowledge about these issues … I have great optimism.”

The full agreement can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-BOCCagreement.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].

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