Traffic travels on West 10th Street on Wednesday, a street that Port Angeles council members identified as needing repairs. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Traffic travels on West 10th Street on Wednesday, a street that Port Angeles council members identified as needing repairs. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles City Council considering sales tax hike to fix streets

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council is leaning toward asking voters to approve raising the sales tax to fix some of the city’s worst roads.

That increase of up to 0.2 percent in sales tax would come after voters approved a Transportation Benefit District, which city staff told council members during a work session Tuesday is needed to help plump up the city’s street fund.

“Revenue is not keeping up with expenses, and we’ve been tapping into reserves,” said Craig Fulton, public works and utilities director.

Fulton told council members the city has two options for implementing a Transportation Benefit District, which would likely encompass all of the area within the city limits. The council would serve as the benefit district board.

The first option, which doesn’t need voter approval, would allow the city to add a fee up to $20 per vehicle registered within the district. After two years, the city would have the option to increase that fee to $40.

The annual expected revenue from the $20 fee would be $325,000 for the street fund.

The second option, which council members preferred, must be approved by a simple majority of voters.

If approved, there could be a 0.2 percent sales tax increase, expected to bring in close to $650,000 to fund road repairs.

The sales tax is 8.4 percent in Port Angeles now.

The district also could implement an annual vehicle registration fee ranging from $20 to $100, which could raise between $325,000 to $1.6 million.

All money raised by the Transportation Benefit District is required by law to go toward transportation improvements.

Mayor Patrick Downie noted a consensus among council members present — Dan Gase and Brad Collins were absent — to pursue the second option.

If the city chose the first option, it would put the burden only on residents of Port Angeles, when there are many others who contribute to the wear and tear on the roads, Downie said.

“An up-to-0.2 percent tax is paid by everyone that rides on our roads, not just us,” he said. “We get a lot of visitors.”

Fulton said a district would not solve all of the street and alley issues facing the city.

But he said it would help improve city byways that are replete with “poor” ratings under the widely employed StreetSaver computer-based street management system, which uses a Pavement Condition Index.

In the last survey, the overall condition of the roads was 35, with streets sitting at 43 and alleys at 5, Fulton said, adding an optimal rating would be about 75 or 80.

The city can apply for grant funding for road repairs, but only for arterial streets.

Arterial streets make up 14 percent of the city’s streets and still require a 12.5 percent match from the city, Fulton said.

At that range, it’s much less costly to maintain the roads, he said.

“It will take tens of millions of dollars to get our roads to good conditions,” he said. “This is not the final solution; it’s just a start.”

City Chief Financial Officer Byron Olson suggested the city make a list of projects that would be done before asking voters to approve the district.

Without that list, taxpayers don’t know what they are getting, he said.

It’s also important, he said, that the funding produced by the taxing district wouldn’t replace any existing funding.

Fulton said he has heard from residents who would like to see work on Railroad Avenue, alley improvements, intersection street signs, school sidewalk construction, ramps, walkability improvements and bike lane improvements.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Mystery Bay closed to shellfish harvesting

The state Department of Health has closed Mystery Bay… Continue reading

Three people were transported to hospitals for injuries on Monday after a collision on U.S. Highway 101 that involved two SUVs and a semi-truck. (Clallam County Fire District 3)
Three transported to hospitals after wreck east of Sequim

Three people were transported for non-life-threatening injuries after a collision… Continue reading

Victoria-based Team Malolo was poised to win the 2024 Race to Alaska on Monday. At midday, the team was 20 miles out from the finish line in Ketchikan, Alaska, while the second-place team was still about 70 miles behind. (Taylor Bayly/Northwest Maritime)
Team Malolo poised to win Race to Alaska

Trimaran had 70-mile lead over competitors

Peninsula College trustees approve budget, bargaining agreement

Full-time enrollment up 30 percent this spring over last year

Jefferson County adopts summer fire regulations

New rules automatically raise fire danger July through September

Port Townsend wins community sustainability award

PORT TOWNSEND – The city of Port Townsend won the 2024 award… Continue reading

Entities partner to provide Port Townsend visitor information

Port Townsend’s marketing workgroup and its lodging tax advisory… Continue reading

Print edition available today, e-edition only this Wednesday

Peninsula Daily News has a print edition available to… Continue reading

Port Angeles High School graduates, from left, Uri Crawford, Samantha Combs and Jordan McTear, decorate a vehicle in preparation for Friday’s graduation parade from Ediz Hook to the high school. Dozens of adorned cars and trucks carried grads through the streets of Port Angeles as a lead-up to the graduation ceremony that evening at Civic Field. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Congrats, grads!

Port Angeles High School graduates, from left, Uri Crawford, Samantha Combs and… Continue reading

Dash Air to leave Port Angeles

‘Nothing to do’ with viability of air service, owner says

Clallam County art barn to get new roof before fair

Commissioners approve $85,000 contract with company from Kent

Sequim schools drop proposal to bump back start time

Survey respondents prefer to keep Greywolf Elementary at 8:30 a.m.