Jefferson County commissioners approve tax resolution

Resolution sets groundwork for affordable housing funds

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners have approved a resolution that sets the ground work for them to redistribute tax revenues to benefit affordable housing.

The commissioners approved the resolution during their regular Monday morning meeting at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The resolution is a result of Substitute House Bill 1406 passed during the 2019 legislative session, which authorized the governing body of counties or cities to allocate funds from sales and use tax for the acquisition, construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing or facilities that provide supportive housing, the resolution said.

The resolution is step one of two for the commission to pass to be able to redistribute funds, but neither the resolution or the eventual ordinance will create an additional tax.

“The tax will be credited against state sales taxes collected within the County,” the resolution stated, “and, therefore, will not result in higher sales and use taxes within the county and will represent an additional source of funding to address housing needs in the county.”

SHB 1406 gave cities and counties until Jan. 28, 2020, to pass a resolution declaring their intent to authorize the maximum capacity of the tax.

Now, the commissioners have until July 28, 2020, to pass an ordinance authorizing the capacity.

County Administrator Philip Morley said the funds that would be allocated as a result of this process would be approximately $82,000, estimated from the last 12 months of data regarding those taxes.

The tax funds must be used to benefit persons whose income is at or below 60 percent of the county’s median income, the resolution said.

As of 2017, the county’s median annual wage was $38,830 and the median annual household income was $51,842, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department.

The commissioners plan to work with the city of Port Townsend to capitalize on SHB 1406, which the commissioners expect to take action on the bill as well, Morley said.

The ordinance will be presented to the commissioners at a later date, and the full resolution can be read at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-taxresolution.

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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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