SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA. October 25, 2022 – San Juan County publishes a second round of answers to frequently asked Road Levy questions. November's ballots will include Resolution No. 20-2022 - a proposition to increase the county road levy from $0.56 to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value. The $0.44 increase will be used to maintain roads and marine facilities, repair storm damage, and enhance roads for pedestrians and cyclists.
Q: What is the levy rate? The lid lift is $1, but what’s the rate?
A: The proposed ballot proposition is to increase the road fund levy to $1.00 per $1,000 assessed value. The new levy rate would also be $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value – making both the lid lift and the levy rate $1.00.
Q: What does a “single-year permanent levy lid lift” mean?
A: With a permanent single-year lid lift, the levy lid bumps up more than 1% in the first year, and then that amount is used to calculate all future 101% levy limitations. The measure never expires, and the levy lid never reverts. However, future annual increases may not exceed 1% without going to the voters for another lid lift.
Q: Will the Road Levy really raise my property taxes by 79%?
A: No, your overall property taxes will not increase by 79%. The road levy rate will increase by roughly 79% (from $0.56 to $1.00), but the road levy is a small percentage of total property taxes paid. Last year it was about 7% of the total taxes levied. A 79% increase of about 7% of the overall tax bill results in only about a 5.6% increase overall.
Q: How will this levy lid lift affect my taxes?
A: Use this formula to calculate your tax: 2023 assessed value x $1.00 levy rate/ 1,000 = your road fund tax.
- A home in 2022 that was valued at $700,000, paying last year’s road levy rate of $0.56, contributed $392 to the road fund.
- If that same home received a 30% increase in assessed value this year, it is now valued at $910,000.
- With the new road levy, the rate becomes $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value, and that home would pay $910.00 to the road fund.
Q: What happens if the County collects more revenue than was estimated?
A: The County estimated revenue to be generated by this levy lid lift using 2022 property valuations. Actual revenue collected will use 2023 property valuations. Any additional funds collected by this levy lid lift are expensed for the same purposes for which they are collected - repairs and replacements of failing culverts, updates to marine facilities, and widening of shoulders for multi-modal transportation.
Q: Can the County use money from other funds to support the road fund?
A: The County uses funds sources to support a variety of existing programs and services including but not limited to the Sheriff’s Office, District and Superior Courts, Community Development, Parks and Recreation, grant matches, and more. Diversion of General Fund proceeds to the Road Fund may affect existing programming.
Q: Why doesn’t the County use LTAC to pay for road shoulders?
A: LTAC stands for Lodging Tax Advisory Committee and is a grant program for tourism-related improvements. The County does apply to LTAC for Public Works projects including road shoulder improvements. While the County has and will continue to apply for LTAC funding, as well as other state and federal funding sources, these grant programs do not replace the need for a levy lid lift.
Q: Where can I learn more about the road levy?
A: Learn more about the proposed levy and use the interactive project map on the San Juan County Website. If you’re interested in Road and Culvert Repairs, you can learn about past emergency repairs and upcoming projects. For those interested in proposed Enhanced Shoulder Projects, learn which roads are prioritized based on various County planning documents. If you’re interested in potential Marine Facility Projects, you can learn which docks and ramps are in need of updates and repairs.