WATERVILLE, WASHINGTON — The Douglas County Board of Commissioners request that Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority Commissioners equally consider the majority will of Douglas County voters when it comes to equalizing the Port’s tax levy rate.
Appearing before voters in both Chelan and Douglas Counties in the November 7 election, Proposition 1, “The Ports of Chelan and Douglas Counties Unifying Tax Levy Rates Across Districts,” seeks to equalize the Port’s tax levy rate for Chelan and Douglas County taxpayers. If approved, Proposition 1 would increase the tax rate for Douglas County taxpayers while decreasing the rate for Chelan County taxpayers.
According to State of Washington 2023 voter data, there are 51,401 registered voters in Chelan County and 26,726 registered voters—approximately 49% fewer—in Douglas County. The Proposition 1 election results will reflect the simple majority of all votes cast across both counties, not each individual county’s majority results.
“We feel that only a majority of votes in each county would make this legitimate,” said Dan Sutton, Chair of the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners. “Otherwise, the Port’s Proposition 1 gives Chelan County voters the opportunity to decide Douglas County taxes.”
The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority (CDRPA) tax levy equalization initiative stems from the recent passing of Washington State House Bill 1663, a bill that allows consolidated port districts to adopt a joint property tax levy. The CDRPA is an esteemed partner to Douglas County—working with the Douglas County Board of Commissioners to encourage development that has created jobs, supported the local economy, and cemented the region as a premier industrial location—but the Board of Commissioners expressed concern that HB1663 will not require future equalizations to be put in front of voters.
“House Bill 1663, introduced by two Chelan County 12th District representatives—Keith Goehner of Dryden and Mike Steele of Chelan—gives the Regional Port Authority the ability to impose future tax rate equalizations without going to a vote of the people,” said Sutton.
Douglas County Board of Commissioners encourage voters to contact their Port representatives and request that Douglas County voters get equal consideration in the upcoming November 7 election results.
“No matter the results of the election, we feel that Douglas County residents deserve equal consideration when it comes to their taxes,” said Douglas County Commissioner Marc Straub. “If the will of Douglas County voters is to equalize rates in this manner, then we will continue to support our community as we always have done.”