Letters to the Editor

Be responsible, support Prop 1

It’s a fact. None of us like to pay taxes! At least, not any more than is necessary for our health and safety.

At the same time, we all take comfort in knowing the sheriff and his deputies are out there in adequate numbers, properly equipped and watching out for us. We also like that the jail is ready when needed. And we like to read about the prosecutor taking the bad guys to court where we all know the judges and their entourage of clerks and others that comprise the courts are able and ready to render their judgments.

With the national economy down and many people out of work, sales taxes are down dramatically and interest rates have been at historic lows. The housing crisis has significantly reduced new construction, a major county employer, resulting in losses of jobs and property tax revenue both.

The county has made significant cuts in its operations and expenses over the last several years in order to maintain a balanced budget as mandated by law. At some point, the county will be unable to provide the fundamental support and services required by law and will be left with no ability to respond to short-term emergency needs.

As a result, Proposition 1 was placed on the August ballot for voter approval. The commissioners have proposed an increase in the property tax rate of 16 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to be able to maintain current reduced levels of service. This increased revenue will be used for the limited purposes of retaining basic public safety and other essential services, and to begin to replenish the county’s already depleted emergency cash reserves. This amounts to an increase of $48 on a $300,000 house and even with this increase, Island County will still have one of the five lowest property tax rates in the state.

It’s up to us, the voters of Island County, to be responsible and approve this proposition.

Bill Thorn

Camano Island

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