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San Juan County Road levy on November ballot

PRESS RELEASE: The upcoming November election includes Resolution 20-2022 – a proposition to increase the road levy. It is a one-time, permanent levy lid lift for the county road fund. If approved, the county levy would increase from $0.56 to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value.

 

Killebrew Road on Orcas Island

About the Road Levy

The County is responsible for over 270 miles of public roads, thousands of culverts, numerous marine facilities, bridges, trails, and other transportation-related facilities located on seven different islands.

San Juan County's road levy is the lowest in the state. Our road levy is currently 7.24% of the total property tax. The levy is expected to generate an additional $4 million in revenues for the road fund every year which will support repairs and replacements of failing culverts, updates to marine facilities, and widening of shoulders for multi-modal transportation. Learn more on the county’s website here.

Roads and Culverts

Since 2020, four County roads washed out due to failed culverts.

The proposed $0.44 road levy increase is expected to generate an additional $4 million for the road fund which will support emergency and programmatic repairs and replacements of failing culverts and road infrastructure, among other projects. Learn more about Road and Culvert Repairs here.

Enhanced Shoulders

Non-motorized transportation routes that provide safe and accessible connections between ferry terminals, local businesses, services, and public beaches and natural areas highlight the journey and enhance the rural character and experience in San Juan County.Orcas_Best_BikeCar

The Islands' scenic roads can include safe shoulders for cyclists, pedestrians, and other modes of non-motorized transportation and recreation. An investment in safer and increased non-motorized transportation corridors is an investment in sustainable transportation and a cleaner future. In fact, multi-modal transportation is a cornerstone of the Transportation Infrastructure Plan, the Recreation, Open Space, and Stewardship (ROSS) Plan, and other county planning documents.

This levy will fund the planning and design of shoulder enhancement projects that provide safe corridors along the highest volume roads and will allow users to move safely between the most visited locations and amenities in our community. Learn more about potential Enhanced Shoulder Projects here.

Marine Facilities

The County is responsible for numerous marine facilities on seven different islands.

Over a dozen County-owned and operated marine facilities serve as essential links to goods and services, as well as emergency response vessels. Many of these facilities are in need of repair. The road levy provides funding to address capital repairs for numerous marine facilities with structural deficiencies.

San Juan County also has dozens of roads across all islands that are threatened by costal erosion. Emergency repairs are needed to shore up or relocate these roads. The road levy provides funding to plan for this developing hazard.

Learn more about potential Marine Facility Projects here.

 

1 comment

  • Robert Dashiell Saturday, 29 October 2022 09:22 Comment Link Report

    If a Washington State county can operate on lesser funds than is annually collected by the road fund levy, road funds can legally be SHIFTED to the current expenses account.

    A Washington State county can also legally DIVERT virtually any amount of the road fund to the current expenses account.

    SJC's road fund history shows $3,956,000 shifted from the road fund to the current expenses account since 2002, meaning they collected more in the road funds than they needed for roads. That's almost $4 million they could have spent on road and marine projects. The current expenses fund could be used for any legal purpose, but why would they shift that amount IF they used the money for the same road projects it would have been spent on if the money had remained in the road fund?

    But that’s just the SHIFT amount. SJC road fund history shows $17,491,907 DIVERTED from the road fund to the current expenses account since 1972.

    Bottom Line: A total of $21,448,358 has been SHIFTED and DIVERTED from the road fund to the current expenses account since 1972.

    And now SJC is asking for a major levy base increase in the road fund when they have been legally siphoning road fund money to the current expenses account for some 50 years.

    That also begs the question: if the road levy is approved, are the shifting and diverting actions over, or will the additional money raised by the road levy continue to be a revenue stream from the road fund to the current expenses account?

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