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Tax increase may be decrease
In your Jan. 8 editorial criticizing the county commissioners for voting for a water utility tax, you say, “And it must be pointed out that this tax came after a humiliating defeat at the polls last summer when nearly 70 percent of Island County voters rejected the commissioners’ plea for a tax increase.”
You didn’t mention that the new tax replaces the septic inspection fee. Nor did you mention the discounts for the people you are concerned about, such as senior citizens. Here’s what a story in the Dec. 24 Whidbey News-Time says the fees will be:
“Residential landowners will pay $24.44 the first year and $39.13 from then on. The fee for commercial or industrial properties will be calculated based on their amount of impervious surface...”
“Sewer district properties get a 21 percent price break the first year ($19.31) and a 13 percent break the next ($34.04). Diking district properties get a 29 percent price break ($17.35) the first year and a 42 percent break the next ($22.70)….
“Property owners who qualify for a senior citizen or disabled person low-income tax credit get a 50 percent break and agricultural properties will be charged 75 percent of the residential rate.”
Compare this to the fee the tax replaces: $62 every three years for most residents, coming to around $200 with payment for septic inspection; shoreline residents having to pay these fees every year.
This looks like a tax decrease to me.