Clallam County commissioners approve 1 percent tax increase

Clallam County commissioners have approved a 1 percent levy increase for next year in a 2-to-1 decision.

During a public hearing on Nov. 26 in which there was no public comment, Commissioners Randy Johnson and Mark Ozias voted in favor of the annual tax increase. Commissioner Bill Peach voted against the increase.

Next year the county’s general purpose property tax and road fund property taxes will increase by $110,211 and $74,445 respectively.

Taxing districts are allowed by state law to increase their levies by 1 percent each year without a vote of a people. Taxing districts typically approve the increase, which doesn’t cover the cost of inflation each year.

Peach said last week that he wished the commissioners had chosen either the general levy increases or the Conservation Futures property tax that was also approved Tuesday, but not both.

“The core issue that I’m managing is a lot of people are sharing that they live on a fixed income and tax increases force them into making difficult decisions in how they use their income,” Peach said. “I wish we had seen one or the other.”

Peach also voted against the Conservation Futures property tax, which sets a levy at $0.0275 per $1,000 of assessed valuation that will be used to purchase development rights from farmers.

That would be an additional $6.88 per year for a home valued at $250,000.

Commissioners will consider approval of next year’s budget following two hearings on Dec. 3: Public hearings on the proposed final budget are set for 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Clallam County Courthouse.

The commissioners will likely take action following the evening meeting, but could delay the decision until Dec. 10.