Jefferson County Commissioners David Sullivan, left, and Kate Dean speak about the sales and use tax with county Administrator Philip Morley on Monday at the Jefferson County Courthouse. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Jefferson County Commissioners David Sullivan, left, and Kate Dean speak about the sales and use tax with county Administrator Philip Morley on Monday at the Jefferson County Courthouse. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Jefferson County commissioners approve tax to support affordable housing

Funds to be reallocated from state sales tax with no additional fees on consumers

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County commissioners approved an ordinance that imposes a sales and use tax that will support affordable housing, which will be taken from the existing state sales and use tax.

There is no additional tax for the consumer.

“It is a local sales and use tax that doe not increase sales tax at the retail counter,” said Philip Morley, county administrator.

The Jefferson Board of County Commissioners approved the ordinance during its regular meeting Monday morning at the Jefferson County Courthouse, after conducting a public hearing where one resident voiced support of passing the ordinance.

Revenues from the tax can only be used to support affordable housing and supportive housing serving low-income people at or below 60 percent of the area median income, commission documents stated.

The ability to reallocate funds in this manner comes after the enactment of substitute House Bill 1406 (SHB 1406), according to commission documents.

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 stated.

SHB1406 has been codified as RCW 82.14.540.

SHB 1406 required governments that wanted to benefit from the funds to go through a two-step process of approval: the first was to pass a resolution of intent, which the county commissioners approved Oct. 14, and the second was to adopt the ordinance establishing the sales and use tax for affordable and supportive housing.

With both these steps complete, the commissioners easily met the state’s deadline of July 28, 2020, to be able to benefit from the funds, commission documents said.

The next steps for the county is to submit the documentation to the state Department of Revenue before it can receive funds from the tax, said Stacie Prada, county treasurer.

The county commissioners will not meet again until Jan. 6, as they will not meet next Monday and normally do not meet on the fifth Monday of the month.

More information on the ordinance can be found at


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

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