By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Michael McAleer, president of the citizen group that is advocating passage of the two proposals, told those attending the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon in the SunLand Golf & Country Club clubhouse Tuesday that passage of the funding requests is key to business development.
“It’s a good indication of your town, how well your schools are funded,” said McAleer, a Sequim real estate agent.
“Someone one day probably paid for your education.”
The Sequim School District has two property tax levy requests on the Feb. 12 special election ballot: a four-year maintenance and operations levy that would generate $5.8 million in property taxes for the school each year, and a special one-year $1.6 million transportation levy to replace 17 buses in the district’s 32-bus fleet.
The Clallam County Auditor’s Office will mail ballots for the special election today.
They must be postmarked by Feb. 12, dropped off at the courthouse at 223 E. Fourth St. in Port Angeles or placed in a ballot drop box before 8 p.m. election day.
A drop box is located at Sequim City Hall, 152 W. Cedar St.
For the one-time transportation levy, property owners would be taxed approximately 44 cents for every $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2014 if the levy passes.
That’s $88 for the owner of a $200,000 home.
“There are a lot of kids in our district that rely on buses to get to school,” said McAleer, adding that the district is spread out.
The Sequim School District has 278.49 square miles of land area, according to www.USA.com.
The four-year maintenance levy, a replacement levy for one that expires this year, will be used primarily to pay teacher salaries and to support school programs not already funded by state or federal dollars.
“We would be at a competitive disadvantage — our students — compared to other districts if this levy fails,” McAleer said.
This year, property owners within the district will pay $1.59 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, for a total of $5.78 million, school officials said.
If approved, the new levy would provide the district $5.8 million each year from 2014 through 2017.
The projected tax rate for 2014 and 2015 would be $1.61 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, according to the Clallam County Auditor’s Office in its online voter guide at http://tinyurl.com/aokhw57.
In 2016 and 2017, the estimated amount would be $1.60 per $1,000 assessed valuation, the voter guide said.
McAleer said that payments for construction bonds issued by the district in 1998 expire next year and that the tax load on the district’s landowners will be reduced.
“Even if this passes, the actual bill from you to the school will go down,” McAleer said.
In 2013, the total school levy is $2.27 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Next year, that would be $2.18 as the bond enters its final year of payment.
Property owners would be taxed for only the operations levy in 2015 through 2017 if it passes.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.