San Juan County explains proposed road levy

Submitted by San Juan County.

The upcoming November election includes Resolution 20-2022 – a proposition to increase the road levy. It is a one-time, permanent levy lid lift for the county road fund. If approved, the county levy would increase from $0.56 to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value.

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.

San Juan County’s road levy is the lowest in the state. Our road levy is currently 7.24% of the total property tax. The levy is expected to generate an additional $4 million in revenues for the road fund every year which will support repairs and replacements of failing culverts, updates to marine facilities, and widening of shoulders for multi-modal transportation.

Since 2020, four County roads washed out due to failed culverts. The proposed $0.44 road levy increase is expected to generate an additional $4 million for the road fund which will support emergency and programmatic repairs and replacements of failing culverts and road infrastructure, among other projects.

Non-motorized transportation routes that provide safe and accessible connections between ferry terminals, local businesses, services, and public beaches and natural areas highlight the journey and enhance the rural character and experience in San Juan County.

The islands’ scenic roads can include safe shoulders for cyclists, pedestrians, and other modes of non-motorized transportation and recreation. An investment in safer and increased non-motorized transportation corridors is an investment in sustainable transportation and a cleaner future. In fact, multi-modal transportation is a cornerstone of the Transportation Infrastructure Plan, the Recreation, Open Space, and Stewardship (ROSS) Plan, and other county planning documents.

This levy will fund the planning and design of shoulder enhancement projects that provide safe corridors along the highest volume roads and will allow users to move safely between the most visited locations and amenities in our community. Learn more about potential Enhanced Shoulder Projects here.

The county is responsible for numerous marine facilities on seven different islands.

Over a dozen county-owned and operated marine facilities serve as essential links to goods and services, as well as emergency response vessels. Many of these facilities are in need of repair. The road levy provides funding to address capital repairs for numerous marine facilities with structural deficiencies.

San Juan County also has dozens of roads across all islands that are threatened by coastal erosion. Emergency repairs are needed to shore up or relocate these roads. The road levy provides funding to plan for this developing hazard.