Port of Longview Must Revote on Tax Hike

By Erik Olson, December 9, 2013, Daily News

Port of Longview commissioners will reconsider a measure to double property taxes because of a error within the document first used to approve the hike.

Commissioners were originally scheduled for a revote 9:30 a.m. today, but they will now use that time to schedule a different date for the vote, said Kathy Oberg, the port’s chief financial officer.

The port is still seeking to raise its levy from 23 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation to the state maximum of 45 cents. For a house worth $150,000, the annual port tax would be $67.50, an increase of $33.

The original resolution, approved Nov. 26, erroneously stated the port would collect $1.9 million more in taxes, Oberg said. The correct amount is $1.6 million, which the port would use for infrastructure improvements, port officials said.

Oberg said the error was discovered when she submitted the resolution to the Cowlitz County Assessor’s Office.

The Nov. 26 resolution was approved on a 2-1 vote, with Commissioners Lou Johnson and Darold Dietz voting yes and Commissioner Bob Bagaason voting no.

Johnson and Dietz argued that the port needs to invest more in crucial port assets, while Bagaason questioned why the port is raising taxes while it is earning record revenue.

If the tax increase is approved again, it would affect all property owners within the port district, which includes Longview, Kelso, Castle Rock, Lexington, Toutle, Silver Lake and Ryderwood.

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