Port of Port Angeles looking for feedback on tax increase proposal

PORT ANGELES — The Port of Port Angeles commissioners are looking for feedback on a proposed property tax rate increase of 1.87 percent.

If the two resolutions are approved during a Nov. 14 meeting, the owner of property assessed at $200,000 would see about a 74-cent increase in property taxes, said John Nutter, the port’s director of finance.

The current tax rate is roughly 20 cents per $1,000 dollars of assessed value. The tax hike would provide about $27,000 more for the port.

Under state law, the port is allowed to raise the rate 1 percent annually. The other 0.87 percent comes from one-third of the port’s banked capacity.

Commissioner Connie Beauvais said during the port’s meeting Monday she had heard from about 30 people who oppose the tax increase, no matter how small.

“They are adamantly apposed to any kind of tax increase,” she said.

Beauvais had said at a previous meeting she opposed the tax increase, saying the port shouldn’t increase its tax rate when the community already fails to pass school bonds and levies.

Commissioners Colleen McAleer and Steven Burke both said they hadn’t had much feedback on the proposal. McAleer pointed to a letter to the editor published in the Peninsula Daily News criticizing the tax increase, but said she hasn’t heard much else.

“Other than this, I haven’t heard anything negative,” she said.

McAleer said she’s had people say that as long as the port has a good plan to improve the local economy, the tax increase is fine.

Burke said he hasn’t heard anything at all about the tax hike.

“Hopefully people will show up and let us know,” he said.

The port is expected to take action on the proposed increase after a public hearing during its 1 p.m. meeting Monday.

The tax increase would be the largest Port of Port Angeles tax increase in at least eight years. Since 2009, the port has raised taxes four times, each at 1 percent.

The property taxes are used for payment of debt service, funding new construction and for the Community Partner Program.

The 2017 budget includes debt service of $691,496, capital project of $9.4 million and $65,000 for the Community Partner Program.

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

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