Roads Levy 2022

The San Juan County Council adopted Resolution No. 20-2022 concerning the imposition of a road levy lid lift. The resolution proposes to increase the county road levy from $0.56 to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value. The $0.44 increase will be used to maintain roads and marine facilities, repair storm damage, and enhance roads for pedestrians and cyclists. The approved levy rate may be increased based upon the 2023 amount, subject to the limit factors imposed in RCW 84.55. 

Use the interactive map below to learn about a few of the potential projects around the islands.

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Discover Frequently Asked Questions, download a series of Fact Sheets, read the Pro/Con Arguments from the Voters Pamphlet, learn how the levy will impact your tax bill, and stay up-to-date on Public Works news and events.   

  1. FAQs
  2. Fact Sheets
  3. Pro/Con Arguments
  4.  Let's Do The Numbers
  5. Public Works News
Frequently Asked Questions Answers
When will the levy be on the ballot?  The road levy will be included on the ballot for the November 8 general election. The ballot measure requires a simple majority (50% plus one) to be approved by the voters. 
Is this a new tax?  This is a tax increase and is referred to as a “levy lid lift.” This levy lid lift proposes to increase the road levy from $0.56 to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value. This is a $0.44 increase. 
What is the levy rate? The lid lift is $1, but what’s the rate?   The proposed ballot proposition is to increase the road fund levy to $1.00 per $1,000 assessed value. The new levy rate would also be $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value – making both the lid lift and the levy rate $1.00.  
What does a “single-year permanent levy lid lift” mean?   With a permanent single-year lid lift, the levy lid bumps up more than 1% in the first year, and then that amount is used to calculate all future 101% levy limitations. The measure never expires, and the levy lid never reverts. However, future annual increases may not exceed 1% without going to the voters for another lid lift. 
What will this cost me?  The road levy is a property tax that is assessed upon real property owners located in the unincorporated areas of San Juan County. For example, if your assessed value were $850,000, an increase of $0.44 per $1,000 of assessed value equates to a $374 increase in your property tax. 
How will this levy lid lift affect my taxes?    Use this formula to calculate your tax: 2023 assessed value x $1.00 levy rate/ 1,000 = your road fund tax. For example:
• A home in 2022 that was valued at $700,000, paying last year’s road levy rate of $0.56, contributed $392 to the road fund.
• If that same home received a 30% increase in assessed value this year, it is now valued at $910,000.
• With the new road levy, the rate becomes $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value, and that home would pay $910.00 to the road fund.
Will the Road Levy really raise my property taxes by 79%?   No, your overall property taxes will not increase by 79%. The road levy rate will increase by roughly 79% (from $0.56 to $1.00), but the road levy is a small percentage of total property taxes paid. Last year it was about 7% of the total taxes levied. A 79% increase of about 7% of the overall tax bill results in only about a 5.6% increase overall. 
How much money will this generate?  The levy is expected to generate an additional $4 million in revenues for the road fund every year.  
What happens if the County collects more revenue that was estimated?  The County estimated revenue to be generated by this levy lid lift using 2022 property valuations. Actual revenue collected will use 2023 property valuations. Any additional funds collected by this levy lid lift are expensed for the same purposes for which they are collected - repairs and replacements of failing culverts, updates to marine facilities, and widening of shoulders for multi-modal transportation.   
When will I pay the tax?  If passed, this amount will be added to property tax bills beginning in 2023. 
What will this money be used for?  Road levy funds are constitutionally protected in the State of Washington and can only be spent to support county road purposes. Revenues generated by this levy will support repairs and replacements of failing culverts, updates to marine facilities, and widening of shoulders for multi-modal transportation. 
What else does the County spend road levy funds on?  The County is responsible for over 270 miles of public roads, thousands of culverts, numerous marine facilities, bridges, trails, and other transportation related facilities located on seven different islands. Road funds support public and private business and their workers in the maintenance and improvement of these essential public facilities.   
Can the County use money from other funds to support the road fund?  The County other funds support a variety of existing programs and services including but not limited to the Sheriff’s Office, District and Superior Courts, Community Development, Parks and Recreation, grant matches, and more. Diversion of General Fund proceeds to the Road Fund may affect existing programming.      
What will happen if the levy fails?  If the majority of voters do not approve the levy lid lift, the County would need to strategically plan for level of service reductions to minimize the impact to our community. Considerations for level of service reductions require the County to establish limits of ordinary maintenance equal to what the citizens of San Juan County are willing to afford. After reductions in capital improvement programs, level of service reductions commonly include designating segments of County roads as “unmaintained public roads."
Why doesn’t the County use LTAC to pay for road shoulders?   LTAC stands for Lodging Tax Advisory Committee and is a grant program for tourism-related improvements. The County does apply to LTAC for Public Works projects including road shoulder improvements. While the County has and will continue to apply of LTAC funding, as well as other state and federal funding sources, these grant programs do not replace the need for a levy lid lift. 
What can I do as a resident/voter?  You are strongly encouraged to get out and vote on November 8. San Juan County relies on the support of its residents to keep all services running including Police, Fire/EMS, roads, parks, and more. If you have any questions about this levy, please email roadlevy2022@sanjuanco.com.

More questions? Email roadlevy2022@sanjuanco.com.