PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend voters approved a 0.3 percent sales tax increase specifically for road and sidewalk repair, which is projected to raise about $800,000 annually.
In August, the Port Townsend City Council voted to create a Transportation Benefits District with the ability to levy local sales tax and voted to place the sales tax increase on the ballot.
The transportation district’s borders are the same as the City of Port Townsend and its board consists of the same members as the city council.
Port Townsend voters approved the tax increase by 78 percent, according to initial results from the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office. Preliminary results show 2,660 votes cast in favor of the tax and 651 votes, or 19 percent, voting against.
The next count of ballots will be by 4 p.m. today. Election results will be certified Nov. 28.
Port Townsend’s current sales tax is 9.1 percent, a combination of 6.5 percent state sales tax and 2.6 percent county sales tax. The new 0.3 percent sales tax will go into effect Jan. 1, and be in place for 10 years. The first funds should be available to the city in May.
Other revenue options are available through the Transportation Benefits District but board members opted for the sales tax in order to capture tourist dollars.
The $800,000 in projected revenue from the tax is not enough to tackle the city’s $980,000 yearly street costs, but board members reasoned in August the additional money would help tackle the city’s needs.
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsula dailynews.com.