Port Ballot Measure Passing, Despite Douglas Co. Opposition
The Chelan Douglas Port Authority ballot measure is getting strong approval in Chelan County and strong disapproval in Douglas County.
The measure would equalize the property tax the Port collects in both counties.
The result would be an increase in property taxes in Douglas County and a reduction in Chelan County.
The ballot measure will pass with a simple majority of the combined vote from both counties, which it is now on track to do.
The measure is currently passing with 9,532 votes and a 78.4% to 21.6% margin in Chelan County. It's being rejected in Douglas County by a 70.02% to 29.98% margin with 2,663 votes against the measure.
If the trends continue, the ballot measure will easily pass.
Chelan County has nearly double the population base of Douglas County, and thus, has a much larger base of voters.
The 2022 US Census estimated for the population of Chelan County is 79,926. For Douglas County, it is 44,192.
It’s still not known what will come of the ballot measure because of a major error in its description.
The Port wants voters to authorize them to collect a property tax of 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.
Chelan County Auditor Skip Moore told KPQ he believes there'll be more involved.
"The Port, I think, is going to have to convince a judge, ultimately, that it was an error, and it's an error that requires the results be thrown out or nullified, and that they will ask the question sometime later to the voters," said Moore.