Property tax bill prompts uproar


PORT ANGELES — Sue Peterson gasped Tuesday when she received her annual property tax bill in the mail.

It showed a $1,788 increase for 2021 on her $540,000 home and property east of Port Angeles.

The hike is fueled by a $2.58-per-$1,000 increase for a five-year capital levy approved by Port Angeles School District voters in February 2020 for collection beginning this year. It will raise $10.1 million in 2021 and $52.6 million by 2025.

“I kind of just took a deep breath and was like, ‘Oh, my god,’ ” the Port Angeles School District bus driver said.

“That’s including the levy and the [Shore Aquatic Center] pool and several other things I have to pay for, but oh, my gosh, that’s crazy to me.

“I’ve already called a Realtor. I’ve got to be ready to sell.”

The Clallam County Treasurer’s Office was flooded with nearly 100 calls this week by Port Angeles-area taxpayers shocked at what they, too, found in their mailboxes, Treasurer Teresa Marchi said Thursday.

Voters approved the hike by a margin of
54 percent to 46 percent to pay for a new Stevens Middle School and other capital improvements as part of a 30-year district development plan that will be subject to voter approval again in 2025.

The treasurer’s office mailed about 25,500 tax statements to property owners, some of whom owned multiple parcels, and emailed 11,300 tax statements to mortgage companies reflecting individual parcels.

A breakdown of the number of property owners in Clallam County was not available Thursday.

During the past week, 167 commenters expressed their feelings on the Facebook page The Real Port Angeles, responding to a Feb. 10 link to Clallam County’s property search page at clallam.net.

The page lists property assessments, levy amounts and taxes due.

“I just went and looked and omg!! Ours went up 1,500.85!!,” one commenter said.

“This may motivate us to dump some rentals,” said another.

“They don’t care about us at all,” said a third. “Everything seems to fall on the shoulders of home owners.”

Port Angeles School Superintendent Marty Brewer said his property taxes went up, too, by $1,700.

His reaction when he opened up his tax statement?

“It’s worth every penny,” he said Thursday.

“It’s investing in our community.”

The county assessor’s office assesses the property and compiles the tax amounts. The Treasurer’s Office sends out the bills and collects the taxes.

Marchi’s staff received about 50 calls Tuesday and Wednesday “asking about the increase and why it went up so much,” Marchi said.

Forty-seven callers had left messages at her office Monday, a federal holiday.

Assessor Pam Rushton said she’s received a few calls.

School Board President Sarah Methner has seen the Facebook posts.

“There seems to be sort of a vocal minority that is unhappy,” Methner said, pointing to the voter…



Read MoreProperty tax bill prompts uproar

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