Property taxes, jail property come before Whatcom council

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 23, 2013 

The public will have a chance to speak at hearings before the Whatcom County Council on Tuesday, Nov. 26, about proposed property tax rates for 2014.

Council members will decide whether to raise property taxes that pay into the general fund, the conservation futures fund, the road fund and the flood control zone district. Draft ordinances coming before the public and the council on Tuesday call for no levy increases.

Property taxes to be considered Tuesday, with 2013 levy rates, are:

- General fund levy of $1.15 per $1,000 of assessed property value for day-to-day operations of the county.

- Road fund levy of $1.54 per $1,000 for maintenance and repair of county roads and bridges.

- Conservation futures fund levy of 4.3 cents per $1,000 for purchasing rights to open spaces, farm and timber lands.

- Flood control zone district levy of 13.8 cents per $1,000 for flood projects.

Property taxes not controlled by the council are assessed by the state, the cities, the Port of Bellingham, school districts and other districts.

The hearings start at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the courthouse, 311 Grand Ave., Bellingham.

The council that night might decide whether to purchase a 39-acre lot on LaBounty Drive in Ferndale for a proposed new county jail. The county and the property owner, Robert Janicki, have agreed to a price of $6.1 million, plus closing costs.

The council could postpone the property purchase until its next meeting on Dec. 10. The agreement between Janicki and the county set a deadline of Dec. 13 to make the purchase.

Reach RALPH SCHWARTZ at ralph.schwartz@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2298.

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