Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018
County commissioners on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution putting creation of a countywide port district on the ballot in an April special election.
If the measure passes, a three-member board of commissioners to govern the port district would be elected in November. The port district board would set a property tax levy of up to 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. That would amount to about $112 per year on a home assessed at $250,000. The commissioner positions would be part-time, and commissioners would be expected to eventually hire a full time administrator.
Although the term port district suggests a connection with water, it is a special district intended to spur economic development. Washington has more port districts than any other state in the U.S., and Kittitas County is one of 6 counties that does not have a port district. An effort to establish a port district in upper county failed in 2016.
Port district supporters Jim Armstrong and Ann Anderson made a presentation at Wednesday’s public hearing before the county commissioners. Several others spoke in favor of the port district and no one spoke to oppose the measure. Supporters had submitted 899 valid signatures of registered voters in the county to create the port district.