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Dec. 4, 2022

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Cowlitz County OKs 1% property tax hike

Commissioners also approve 1% increase to levy for road fund

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LONGVIEW — The Cowlitz County commissioners Tuesday approved a 1 percent increase to property tax and county road tax levies.

The county set the property tax levy amount at about $20.2 million, including new construction of $337,485 and the refund levy of $50,420. The property tax levy funds the general fund, which includes assessments for the Veterans’ Relief Fund and Mental Health Services. Both of the latter funds receive less than $500,000 together.

The road fund levy, including new construction and a $24,237 refund levy, will bring in about $13.4 million.

Staff did not recommend shifting any money from the road fund to the general fund, as they have in past years to cover shortfalls. Public works has several large projects that need the money, said Traci Jackson, county finance director, during an earlier budget workshop.

In a mid-October workshop, county Engineer Susan Eugenis said the department is projecting $9 million of capital projects in 2023, paid for with a mix of local money, American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 relief funds, federal and state grants.

Last year, the county didn’t shift from the road fund because COVID-19 relief money and high sales tax revenues boosted the general fund, Jackson said at the time. The commissioners decided not to increase property taxes and to bank the capacity for the future. They did not draw on that banked capacity this year.

Property tax bills include several taxing districts and vary depending on location and a property’s assessed value.

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