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Some costs the county can cut
Several suggestions for cutting Island County costs to avoid tax increases.
First: The county owns 13.5 areas of high bluff shoreline property off Strawberry Point Road. Return idle government land to private ownership to generate tax revenues rather than spend them.
Second: Few would disagree that the purchase price of their home represented fair market value. The assessor’s office could halve the cost each year of determining property values if they a) started with this agreed upon purchase figure, and b) adjusted each year following purchase by a local geographical area inflation multiplier, plus any new construction value.
Third: Current Use property tax programs give a huge tax discount to those few (about 100 countywide) property owners who qualify. The same “rural character” could be accomplished by zoning. These few are not paying their fair share of taxes. In Island County, the Current Use programs are for the most part, tax loopholes. Add the requirement that 40 percent of the residing family’s income must be derived from the “farm” or “timber” or “open space” in order to qualify for the Current Use program.
Fourth: I’d like to see our police officers apply more of their efforts to closing meth labs (which have a great compounding cost to society) than to speed traps. Do you want tax dollars spent this way?
Taxation works if it is reasonable and fairly applied to all. There’s still room for improvement!