Progressive tax top priority of Port Angeles City Council

Affordable housing, homelessness, child care also highlighted

PORT ANGELES — A progressive tax structure will lead the Port Angeles City Council’s list of legislative priorities for 2021.

Funding for affordable housing, reduced homelessness and child care also will be highlighted in the one-page color document that will be issued to the city’s state representatives.

The City Council voted Dec. 15 to direct staff to prepare the document for a legislative session that begins in January. It is to be a mix of virtual meetings and in-person votes.

The council held a lengthy discussion on the priorities Nov. 4.

“We heard loudly from council the absolute No. 1 priority is that we push for progressive tax reform,” City Manager Nathan West said in the council meeting last week.

“There’s no question that we had unanimous views that that is our No. 1 issue.”

A progressive tax puts a greater share of the tax burden on higher-income earners.

“Aside from that, the No. 2 and No. 3 issues were housing and homelessness, and, in particular, supporting the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance goals for the Legislature for 2021, as well as supporting child care efforts in 2021,” West said.

Transportation, broadband funding and Association of Washington Cities priorities were identified as second-tier items to be listed on the document.

The legislative session is expected to be dominated by COVID-19.

“Knowing how sensitive this legislative cycle is going to be, we really want to make sure that we’re maintaining focus on those top three (priorities),” West said.

The council will develop a list of federal priorities in January.

Shoreline program

In other business, the council received a briefing on a state-mandated periodic update of the city’s Shoreline Master Program.

The city completed a major overhaul of its shoreline plan in 2014. The state requires a periodic update every eight years, said planning consultant Mark Daniel of the Seattle-based Watershed Company.

“Maybe the most exciting change, if I may so, is some greatly improved mapping that’s going to come out of the periodic update,” Daniel told the council.

State law requires all cities and counties with shorelines to adopt shoreline master programs under the 1971 Shoreline Management Act. A major goal of the act is no net loss of ecological functions.

A 30-day public comment period on the city’s periodic review will begin in late January. The City Council must adopt the review before June 30.

The city received a $16,800 grant from the state Department of Ecology to complete the periodic review, Community Development Manager Emma Bolin said.

A virtual open house on the shoreline plan is posted at cityofpa.us/141/Shoreline-Master-Program.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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