Last year, Jefferson County voters approved the Port of Port Townsend’s second property tax, called an “Industrial Development District” or IDD, and this additional levy can be seen on current tax statements along with the general port levy.
The port’s “objective and fair presentation of the facts for the Industrial Devel-opment District levy,” as posted on its website and circulated prior to a vote on the levy, states that “this one-time special levy is being proposed now because significant portions of the port’s public infrastructure have reached the end of their useful life or are beyond it,” and it includes a list of projects that would be funded by the IDD.
The publicly owned assets on this list create a return on tax payer investment and clearly have the voters’ support in maintaining or replacing them. Nowhere on this list is a new lounge for visiting pilots at the airport, and it is unclear how this would rise to the top of priority projects when crumbling port infrastructure dots the landscape from Quilcene to Point Hudson.
This investment of public dollars was presented to the port commissioners at their March 11, regular business meeting without a cost/benefit analysis of any sort, an estimate of operations and maintenance costs over the asset lifespan or a detailed cost estimate for installation or public comment, yet the project was approved. This is not what IDD funds were intended for.