Goehner legislation to benefit local port districts signed into law

Legislation sponsored by 12th District Rep. Keith Goehner that will allow port districts, which have been functionally consolidated, to adopt a unified levy was signed into law by Gov. Inslee on Monday.

House Bill 1663 will allow two or more port districts that operate under a mutual agreement to conduct a joint property tax levy under certain conditions. It also outlines how the joint levy is conducted.

Goehner introduced the legislation at the request of the Chelan and Douglas port districts.

“We have a unique situation in Central Washington with Chelan and Douglas counties sharing a lot of services and working together on a variety of issues,” said Goehner, R-Dryden. “That goes for our Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority. The counties have planned and managed together and it has made our ports’ operations more efficient. This legislation permits that to continue by allowing tax assessments to be made in both counties equally and equitably.”

The new law does not allow the ports to go beyond what is currently collected, and the ports would still be constrained by the 1 percent annual levy increase limitation. The taxes would still be levied separately, but this bill would allow for the rates to be fair and unified.

“This bill will insure fairness and equal representation for the citizens of our region—Chelan and Douglas counties,” said Mark Spurgeon, president of the Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority.

The new law will also require a joint levy to be approved by two-thirds of the board.

“This allows for improved management of the ports, will strengthen regional port operations, and lets both counties feel that they have the same stake in the levy process,” added Goehner.

The bill takes effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislative session. The Legislature adjourned on April 23.


Washington State House Republican Communications