Tax Increase Anyone?

Kitsap County is conducting an online survey to see which, if any, of the various funding options proposed for the Bethel Corridor project would be most acceptable to voters. Due to rising property values and increased fuel and material costs, the price tag for the project has risen to $43 million since 2000, when the plan was approved by the county’s board of commissioners.

The county has paid $1.8 million for design and permitting (included in the $43 million), and construction could begin any time. There’s just one thing missing, about $41 million.

That’s more than the county, the City of Port Orchard – which will likely annex much or all of the area over the next 20 years – taxpayers or business owners alone could bear, said Eric Baker, special projects manager. So the county is proposing a combination of funding mechanisms, most of which would involve a voter-approved increase in property taxes.

One of the pieces of the funding puzzle that very well could be approved by the county commissioners is a Transportation Benefit District. Boundaries of the district have been drawn based on traffic studies and projections through the year 2025.

Voters would have to approve the measure, which could take one of two forms: a property tax increase (requiring at least 60 percent voter approval) or a motor vehicle license plate fee increase affecting everyone within the district (requiring a simple, 50+ majority approval).

According to the county’s Web page on the Bethel Corridor here’s what this could mean to taxpayers:

Transportation Benefit District (TBD)

Option 1: Property Tax Assessments

Such additional assessment would be based upon the future traffic that could be created by a particular property. The assessment may only be imposed through a public vote of registered voters within the TBD with 60% improving the increase.

Examples: 1) A property zoned residential with no further development potential would be assessed $23 per year for 20 years. 2) If the property has the ability to provide 3 additional homes the assessment would be $92 per year ($23X4) over 20 years. 3) Commercially-zoned property would be assessed based upon its commercial potential or $127 per developable acre per year for 20 years. 4) Similarly, industrially-zoned property would be assessed based upon its industrial potential or $78 per developable acre per year for 20 years.

Option 2: Motor Vehicle License Fee Increase

This mechanism would establish a fee increase per eligible vehicles (cars, trucks, RV’s NOT boats or trailers) To fund the project, the license fee would need to be increased by $26 per vehicle over 20 years. The fee increase may only be imposed through a public vote of registered voters within the TBD with 50% improving the increase.

Example: A two-car home would be assessed $52 dollars ($26 X 2) per year for 20-years.

Do the math for your household, take the survey on the county’s home page, and stay tuned. Results of the survey will be released at the end of August and will inform the board of commissioners’ deliberations on funding for the project.

6 thoughts on “Tax Increase Anyone?

  1. How did the road improvements in Central Kitsap (Silverdale) and North Kitsap (Poulsbo area) get paid for?

    To my understanding, the county portion of these improvement were paid by county funds; which come from county-wide taxes. Now we have a project in South Kitsap (finally!) and the County Commissioners think that just South Kitsap residents should pay for it?

    We, in South Kitsap, have paid a share of Central and North end projects. Why shouldn’t Central and North Kitsap help pay for this project?

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  2. Kathryn, why are you attempting to hold the County Commissioners accountable when you’re not willing to hold yourself accountable for the state of the local public school system or even answer a fair question?

  3. Karen,

    I am attempting to hold the County Commissioners accountable on the Bethel Corridor issue because they are the ones that will make the decision on how this project proceeds, how it is funded, and what will be asked of the voters.

    As for holding myself “accountable for the state of the local public education system”, is there something specific? Your assertion is rather broad. Is there something I have or haven’t done that causes you to question my willingness to be accountable? If you would like to see my accountability in action, please attend the school board meeting tomorrow evening. We will be having a study session regarding priorities for the levy renewal request that will likely be presented to the voters in 2009.

    If you have a question, please ask. Just one caveat, I will not discuss personnel issues in a public forum.

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  4. Kathryn: Thank you for setting up the ground rules, I assumed you had read my post/question about the graduation rate at the high school. Everyone was all abuzz when the graduating class of 2008 came to the high school as sophomores and numbered around 1,000. 651 graduated. It seems like a low retention rate. Do I have the figures correct?
    And if I do, what do you think about that retention rate?

    Have I asked you to discuss personnel issues with me? Are you suggesting I want to discuss personnel issues in this very public forum? Or privately, for that matter? I am the one that approached the school district 2 years ago with the idea of an ombudsman, because I was sick of hearing the complaints from parents, para educators, even the union president. I realized that people just needed a safe, confidential place to vent and perhaps hear another side to their issue. Do you think people like being unhappy with their school district? When people aren’t given a venue to air their grievances, it turns into a simmering resentment and a warped view of the good work that is really going on in this school district. So, thank you for the lesson in professionalism, but I don’t need it.

  5. Karen,

    Unfortunately, I am really confused. Did I miss your question? I didn’t see a question about graduation rates in your first post.

    To my recollection, for the graduating class of 2008, the sophomores of 2005 did not number 1000. The graduate figure of about 651 seems about right, though. That being said, I will be happy to get the most current facts and figures. There was a report to us a few weeks ago with the specific numbers. The on-time graduation rate at the high school for 2005-2006 was 74.4%. The extended graduation rate was 82.7% (those who took longer than the standard 4 years of high school). The state averages were 70.4% and 75%, respectively.

    I am rather hesitant to use Chris Henry’s blog for an off-topic discussion (since this blog was supposed to be about the Bethel Corridor funding schemes). However, if Chris doesn’t mind, it is fine with me. Either that or you can email me at “simpson @ skitsap . wednet . edu” (take out the spaces).

    As for the “ombudsman”, the district just recently filled the position of Director of School and Family Support. While the title is not the same, the duties of the director include working with families that have questions and concerns.

    Improving our local public education is a priority to me. Accountability for our local schools begins with local leadership. I don’t know if you have noticed it or not, but I’m one of the few school board members willing to engage the public in the blogs. If I miss a post or a question from time to time, it is not due to lack of “willingness”. It is probably due to competing priorities of work, family, other civic activities, the occasional vacation, and/or sleep. (smile)

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  6. Kathryn: Thanks for the quick response. And for engaging in the blog conversation.

    Let me conclude this discussion by directing you to the Education series on the Charlie Rose website, if you haven’t seen it. You can watch recent interviews with the head of Teach for America, the head of the National Teacher’s Union, and the new, young Chancellor of the Washington DC School District. Have you heard of Michelle Rhee? The Mayor of Washington, DC has basically tossed out the traditional School Board of Directors and appointed a Chancellor, Michelle Rhee, who has turned test scores around in one year on the job. Very interesting stuff.

    I hope you have a wonderful week.

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