Whidbey News-Times


Island County law and justice levy officially pulled from ballot

September 2, 2013 · 8:42 AM

The law and justice levy was officially removed from the November ballot Monday with little comment from county commissioners or the public.

The commissioners had discussed the issue during a work session and informally agreed to pass the measure.

“I understand the underlying needs for a law and justice levy,” said Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, who had initially been resistant to removing the levy. “The committee did a good job in their deliberations underlining the need to bring the county back to the 2008 service levels.”

“But, I understand the prudence of waiting.”

The removal of the levy passed unanimously.

The decision was a swift about-face from the commissioners’ July decision to place the $1.9 million annual property-tax levy on the ballot.

After reviewing the county’s recuperating finances, Commissioner Jill Johnson proposed removing the levy. Island County Sheriff Mark Brown and Prosecutor Greg Banks, the primary proponents of the levy, agreed with Johnson after a special, meeting of the Law and Justice Council.

Brown and Banks said the levy may still be needed but they are willing to see what the ongoing budget meeting yields before asking for more money.

Sheriff Mark Brown said Friday that it was his hope that the public is not getting the message that law and justice staffing does not need to grow.

“I’m still demanding that we grow right now,” Brown said. “But it’s possible that the phased-in growth could be handled within the budget. If that’s the case, we will undoubtedly deal with it next year.”


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