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Road Levy remains flat
Island County is expecting to receive more than $5,764,000 in road levy money this year -- an impressive amount, perhaps, but still not enough to keep pace with inflation.
The yield has stayed very flat, said Bill Oakes, Island County Public Works director. Last year the levy brought in $5,695,000. The local tax levy accounts for more than one-third of the money collected for county road improvements, Oakes said.
The slight levy increase of 1 percent does not keep pace with inflation which Oakes estimates to be at 2.5 percent for road construction.
He added that in the next six years, $500,000 worth of planned projects will have to be cut due to funding concerns. To account for less revenue, Oakes said that there will be some downsizing and improved efficiencies in his department.
The slight increase in revenue jibes with the spirit of Initiative 747, a voter approved referendum which allows only a one percent increase in property tax revenue per year. To get more, the county would have to go to the voters.
Oakes said that before I-747, the county would increase the road levy between 3 percent and 6 percent annually.
This year, the levy rate dropped from 99 cents to 97 cents on the dollar as a result of the tax limitation.
Island County receives the rest of its road money from gas tax, real estate tax and from grants.