Jefferson County voters receiving ballots for Feb. 8 special election

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Voters should receive ballots in the mail soon for the Feb. 8 special election.

The Jefferson County Auditor's Office has mailed a total of 21,700 ballots to registered voters, Auditor Donna Eldridge said.

Of those, 21,447 were mailed Wednesday to voters living within Jefferson County, while 253 were mailed Jan. 7 to military members overseas.

All will vote on one measure on the ballot, a countywide proposal to raise the sales tax by 0.3 percent, or 3 cents on each $10 purchase.

Only residents of specific school districts will vote on proposed property tax levies in the Port Townsend, Chimacum and Quillayute Valley districts.

Completed ballots must be mailed or hand-delivered by 8 p.m. Feb. 8 to be counted.

Ballots can be taken to the Auditor's Office at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St., Port Townsend; placed in a 24-hour drop box in the rear parking lot of the courthouse; or placed in another 24-hour drop box at Jefferson County Library, 620 Cedar Ave., Port Hadlock.

Sales tax increase

The sales tax measure would benefit Jefferson Transit,

The Jefferson Transit board -- made up of the three county commissioners and two Port Townsend City Council members -- placed the sales tax measure on the ballot, saying that the anticipated $1.1 million it would bring in annually, beginning in September, would allow the public bus agency to maintain existing services.

Transit Executive Director Peggy Hanson said if the sales tax measure fails, up to six bus drivers would be laid off, both weekend bus service and Dial-A-Ride would be cut and weekday schedules would at times result in rider bus-stop waits of an hour or more.

The increase would raise the county's sale tax rate to 9 percent.

In November, voters approved an increase of the county's tax rate to 8.7 percent, voting on a measure placed on the ballot by the county commissioners.

Passage of the county's measure made Jefferson County's sales tax the highest on the North Olympic Peninsula. The sales tax rate in the city of Sequim is 8.6 percent. In the rest of Clallam County, it is 8.4 percent.

The levies at all of the school districts replace current levies that will expire in December 2011. If approved, the new levies would be on 2012 property tax bills.

Port Townsend schools

The Port Townsend School District's proposed four-year replacement educational programs and operation property tax levy is on 10,771 ballots.

The levy would collect $3.1 million its first year in 2012 and about 4 percent more each year.

It is a 4.5 percent increase over the current levy of about $3 million.

The current levy rate is $1.17 per $1,000 assessed valuation, which means the owner of a $200,000 home pays about $234 in property taxes.

The estimated rate would be $1.23 per $1,000 assessed valuation the first year and would gradually increase to $1.39 per $1,000 assessed valuation in 2015.

That means the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $246 in 2012 property taxes and $278 in 2015.

The money would go toward maintaining current programs not funded by the state -- such as extracurricular activities, and add $17,000 to add new materials to the school libraries, Superintendent Gene Laes has said.

Chimacum schools

The Chimacum School District measure is on 8,232 ballots.

The district is asking for a gradual increase over the term of its three-year property tax levy, with $2.25 million requested in 2012, increasing to $2.49 million by 2014.

Chimacum's current rate is $1 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That means that the owner of a $200,000 home pays about $200 in taxes.

If passed, the levy would cost each property taxpayer $1.23 per $1,000 assessed value the first year and increase to $1.35 per $1,000 the third year.

That means that the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $246 in 2012 property taxes and increase to $270 in 2015 property taxes.

Quillayute Valley schools

Although Clallam County residents make up the bulk of those who will vote on the Quillayute Valley School District's two-year replacement maintenance and operations property tax levy, 142 residents of the West End who live in Jefferson County will vote on the measure.

The two-year levy for the district in Forks would bring in $626,348 each year with an estimated rate of $1.41 per $1,000 assessed valuation.

That means that the owner of a $200,000 home would pay about $282 per year in property taxes.

The Clallam County Auditor's Office has mailed to registered voters a total of 21,613 ballots, some to residents of the Port Angeles School District and others to residents of the Quillayute Valley School District for the districts' property tax levy measures.

Last modified: January 20. 2011 11:12PM
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