County passes $110 million budget, property tax increases

Island County on Monday passed its $110-million budget and increased its three property tax levies by 1 percent over last year.

The property tax increases allow the county to collect a total of 1 percent more than it did last year for each fund. Commissioners were expected not to raise the county conservation futures levy, which provides funding to protect open space and agricultural operations. However, Commissioner Janet St. Clair said she changed her mind after speaking to stakeholders about the importance of the fund in protecting the environment.

The 1 percent over last year increase would collect approximately $7,350 more. Commissioner Helen Price Johnson had already been in favor of the increase.

“These funds are critical for a lot of resources in Island County,” Price Johnson said at Monday’s special session meeting.

The board hadn’t raised the conservation futures levy rate the past two years.

Commissioner Jill Johnson voted against the increase, citing her concerns that increased capacity would lead to more land purchases, which in turn would increase costs of maintenance.

County road and current expense property taxes will add approximately $89,592 and $86,238 to the respective funds.

The budget increased spending on employee salaries and wages by approximately 4 percent, which included a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for many of the employees. The county also budgeted to add more than four full-time equivalent employees.

There is $12.7 million set aside for new construction, with the anticipated completion of a Camano annex building and a crisis stabilization and detox facility in Oak Harbor. The Camano project is being paid by debt service, paid off over five years with real estate excise taxes, and the Oak Harbor building has dedicated state funding.

More than $10 million is allocated toward road maintenance and improvement and $6.5 million toward solid waste operations.

Approximately 36 percent of expenditures from the county’s current expense fund go toward public safety, which means the sheriff’s department and animal control.

The 2020 budget passed unanimously.

More in News

Chris Stack and Samantha Soule film a scene of their movie, "Midday Black, Midnight Blue," on the Coupeville wharf June 14. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Indie crew films movie on Whidbey

Island becomes backup after Michigan locale falls through.

More federal relief money than expected headed to Whidbey

Whidbey Island will soon receive millions of dollars of American Rescue Plan funding.

Oak Harbor Public School photo - group
Oak Harbor top 10 reveal their plans post-high school

Oak Harbor High School seniors graduate on June 19.

Clockwise from top left: Drake Borden, Mollie Bailey, Marissa Malinowski, Owen Barenburg, Catherine Lhamon. (Photos provided)
Coupeville High School recognizes top five graduates

Coupeville High School’s top five seniors didn’t let a difficult pandemic year hold them back.

Photo courtesy America's Boating Club of Deception Pass
Inquiring minds hoping to nab that crab will have two opportunities to learn the tips and tricks of the trade this month before the recreational season opens July 1.
Boating Club holding free seminar on crabbing

Crabbers have two chances this month to learn tips and tricks before the season opens on July 1.

map
WhidbeyHealth lists vacant property for $727,500

WhidbeyHealth has listed a 4.56 acre vacant property for sale on the real estate website Zillow.

Annie Philp, center, leads student counter-protesters. (Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times)
Students counter a protest against social justice education

Hundreds of demonstrators lined the street in front of South Whidbey High School Friday afternoon.

A banner celebrating the South Whidbey High School class of 2021 was vandalized, and the Black Lives Matter banner next to it was stolen. (Photo provided by Josephine Moccia)
Black Lives Matter sign stolen from in front of school

A banner celebrating 2021 graduates was also left vandalized.

Port gets $100K grant to improve broadband

Island County commissioners voted last week to approve Port of Coupeville’s application for funding.

Most Read