Chelan Douglas Port Tax Equalization Ballot Measure Passes
The Chelan Douglas Port Authority ballot measure has passed
The measure will equalize the property tax the Port collects in both counties.
The result will be an increase in property taxes in Douglas County and a reduction in Chelan County.
The measure passed with 15,919 votes versus 8,710 rejections, in the second ballot count Thursday afternoon.
It needed a simple majority of the combined vote from both counties for approval, a threshold that was achieved despite strong opposition in Douglas County.
In Chelan County, 14,073, or 77.04%, of voters approved the port property tax change, while 4,517, or 70.99%, of voters rejected the proposal in Douglas County.
As of Thursday, there were 1,100 ballots still to be counted after 21,078 were counted in Chelan County. In Douglas County there were 6,552 counted with 2,500 still to be counted.
The ballot measure is intended to equalize the port’s property tax rate in both counties at 16.2 cents per $1,000 of assessed value
Currently, Chelan County’s tax levy rate is 17-and-a-half cents per $1,000 of assessed value while the Douglas County tax levy rate is 13.2 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
It’s still not known what will come of a major error in the ballot’s description.
The Port wants authorization for 16.2 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, but the tax rate that appears on the ballot is .162 cents.
On paper, passage of the measure would call for a drastic reduction of about 99% in the tax the Port collects.
Chelan County Economic Services Director Ron Cridlebaugh told county commissioners Monday that the Port believes the discrepancy can be handled through what's called a "scrivener's error"
It's widely accepted that courts may correct “scrivener’s errors” if there is proof it was a typographical mistake.