Jefferson County approves housing sales tax

One-tenth of 1 percent tax to be collected April 1

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County commissioners have approved a new one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax, which is expected to provide about $600,000 a year for affordable housing projects.

Although the ordinance approved unanimously Monday afternoon will go into effect Saturday, the tax won’t be collected until April 1.

The three county commissioners approved the new tax during the afternoon session of Monday’s meeting after they received more than a dozen written letters and listened to six verbal comments during the public hearing.

The new tax equates to $1 for every $1,000 spent.

The six verbal comments all expressed support of the tax, and while the written comments were not read aloud, the comments also primarily supported the tax with two opposed, said Philip Morley, county administrator.

Port Townsend retiree Julia Cochrane was one of the verbal callers.

While she lives on a fixed income and spends about $300 a month on taxable items, she supports the tax to assist with the housing crisis in the county.

“I support this totally, absolutely,” she said. “I think any piece of the puzzle that we can get in place will be excellent.

“I as a low-income senior will happily spend 30 cents to create a significant amount of money that will create housing.”

The state Legislature approved the new tax as a possible option for counties and cities.

The sales and use tax for affordable housing originally required voter approval, but under House Bill 1590, which was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee in March, the revenue source can be approved by a local legislative body with a simple majority vote, Morley said.

At least 60 percent of the revenue generated by the tax is required to go toward constructing affordable housing and facilities which provide housing services, constructing mental or behavioral health-related facilities, funding the operations and maintenance costs of new units of affordable housing and facilities where housing-related programs are provided or newly constructed evaluation and treatment centers, according to commission documents.

The services listed are for people living at or below 60 percent of the county median income who are either veterans, have a mental illness, are families with children who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, are an unaccompanied homeless youth or young adults, are persons with a disability or are domestic violence survivors, the documents said.

Through conversations with personnel from Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP), Bayside Housing, Dove House, Habitat for Humanity for East Jefferson County and Peninsula Housing Authority, a strategy has been formed to potentially create six to 10 affordable housing units annually, Morley said.

In addition to the estimated $600,000 that the new tax will bring in annually, it will also open the door for potential matching grants and other partner funding, said Kate Dean, district 1 commissioner.

“We know the need is there,” Dean said. “This little pot of funding will allow us to compete for some of that additional funding and be a better partner to the housing providers.

“I am gratified that this funding comes with the requirement for capital expenditures for putting it into infrastructure, and I’m concerned we haven’t done enough of that,” she continued.

“I feel strongly that we need to move forward with this and that it is a fairly minor hit for folks who are just getting by.”

The new tax and Monday’s discussion can be viewed at tinyurl.com/PDN-HousingTax.

________

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

More in News

Film documents building of village

“Peter’s Place: A Community Spirit Village,” a short film… Continue reading

Peninsula COVID-19 cases, infection rates reported

Sunday’s toll: 12 more in Clallam, none in Jefferson

Boeing Bluebills volunteer Dan Nieuwsma, right, talks with Bayside Housing Services case manager Mike Schleckser about building ramps to the shower units at Peter's Place. Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Self-governance hallmark of Peter’s Place

People without homes find refuge

Four PT men suspected in assault, kidnapping

Event happened in November; victim identified attackers last weekend

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Bagpiper Erik Evans of Port Angeles, right, leads children and staff members down Francis Street from the old clubhouse of the Port Angeles Unit of the Boys & Girls Club to the new Turner Clubhouse on its first day of occupancy on Friday.
New clubhouse opens for Port Angeles children

Boys Girls Clubs project doubles size of old facility

Man seeking pot grow permit could buy one

Charges being considered against applicant

The Kiwanis Club of Port Angeles and the Kiwanis Foundation recently donated $2,000 to the North Olympic Library Foundation the United Way of Clallam County for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. 

The book-gifting program will mail a book monthly to every child in the county who is younger than five. 

Pictures in the bottom row, from left to right are Tasha Fitzgerald and Peggy Norris; in the middle row, left to right are Carmen Geyer, Nina Pitts and Patrick Irwin; and in the the top row, from left to right, Sara Dutrow and Christy Smith.
Kiwanis make donation for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library

The Kiwanis Club of Port Angeles and the Kiwanis Foundation recently donated… Continue reading

No weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be no field carrier landing practice operations for… Continue reading

Most Read