The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Port 2 sets 2018 budget, holds back on property tax


November 30, 2017

Commissioners of Port District 2 approved their 2018 budget and voted not to raise the district's property tax when they met Nov. 21.

The proposed budget totals $1.13 million, up from $1.1 million for 2017. Actual 2017 expenditures through mid-November totaled $930,111.

The district expects to receive $415,696 in revenue from operations, including camping fees at County Line and Skamokawa Vista parks and $25,000 from the sale of sand deposited by US Army Corps of Engineers dredging of the Columbia River shipping channel.

Another $116,750 will come from a variety of taxes, including an estimated $75,000 in property tax.

The district has budgeted $400,000 for major capital improvement projects, including construction of a building to house a laundromat and Vista Park office. Other projects include improvements to the tennis court, which as some undermined foundation, and improvements to the water system at County Line Park.

Property tax collection is increased from $67,000 budgeted for 2017 to $75,000 budgeted for 2018.

The increase, however, will come only from new construction added to the tax roll, not an increase in the tax rate.

Local government in Washington is limited from raising property tax more than 1 percent with a vote of approval from district residents. The port commission voted 2-1 last year to raise the collection by 1 percent, with Commissioners Lee Tischer and Brian O'Connor voting in favor and Lori Scott opposing.

By increasing collections 1 percent each year, entities increase their total tax revenue capacity. The total in collection from the 1 percent increase would have been $688.12.

Tischer was out of the area Nov. 21 and missed the meeting, leaving only Scott and O'Connor to vote on the property tax resolution.

Scott anticipated a 1-1 vote and asked O'Connor if the matter should be postponed

to the commission's December meeting when Tischer would be present.

"We could vote if I could convince you to not do it (the increase)," she said. "It's important to me to not raise taxes when we're doing well. Just to do the extra 1 percent . . ."

This year, O'Connor agreed with Scott.

"I think we should talk about reducing the overall footprint we have from taxes," O'Connor said. "I think we should table this till Lee comes back. We could consider reducing taxes 5 percent. I would like to see what kind of footprint we'd have."

"I would really like to look at that as a long term goal," Scott replied. "So as a little token start, could we not increase this year?"

O'Connor agreed.

With no motion on an increase, the collection will remain the same, said attorney Tim Hanigan.

"I'll look into how to do it," Hanigan said, referring to further reductions.

Commissioners' salaries are budgeted at $4,100.

The salary for Manager Janet Bryan is set at $57,750, a 5 percent pay increase.

Twenty-five thousand dollars are budgeted for year-round staff; $20,000 for maintenance staff, and $25,000 for summer help.


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