Thursday, May 10 2012 - On Tuesday, May 8, the San Juan County Council voted unanimously to place a three-tenths of one percent sales tax increase proposal on the August 7 primary election ballot. Revenue raised from the tax would be used to protect existing law enforcement, court and public safety services as the County faces continuing cutbacks.
In County Administrator Pete Rose’s latest report on the County’s finances, he projected that – without new sources of revenue – County revenue would fall short of the level needed to just maintain services at the previous year’s level for each of the next six years.
More than 43% of the County’s operating budget is spent supporting District and Superior Courts, the Prosecutor’s office, probation, emergency services dispatch and the Sheriff’s office. In sending the proposed sales tax increase to the voters, the Council earmarked the new revenue to insure that substantial cuts do not have to be made to those budgets.
The Friday Harbor Town Council voted to support the tax, for its purposes, on April 26. It plans to use its share of the tax revenue for public works projects as well as criminal justice and public safety projects.
The wording of the question to be placed on the ballot will be:
The San Juan County Council adopted Ordinance No. 8-2012 concerning the imposition of a sales and use tax for criminal justice and public safety purposes. This proposition would increase the sales tax in San Juan County by three-tenths of one percent (.003) to be used by the County to protect existing criminal justice and public safety services including law enforcement, prosecution, public defense, courts, probation, victim services, jail, and dispatch services, and by the Town of Friday Harbor for Criminal Justice and public safety purposes and public works projects.
Voters will be asked to mark either the “Approved” or “Rejected” box on the ballot.
A copy of the adopted ordinance placing the measure on the ballot is available on the County website at: http://sanjuanco.com/council/ordinances.aspx