LETTER TO THE EDITOR: South Whidbey should consider reducing taxes

To the editor:

I was pleased to read in the South Whidbey Record of the port commissioners’ tax hike reversal.

I applaud their realization and acknowledgment of South Whidbey resident’s current financial struggles, due to our country’s declining economy. I thank them for their assurance of allowing the taxpayer’s vote, for or against the proposed tax hike, to be the final deciding factor.

Their backing away from using a tax increase to fund a broad range of port projects, in light of our community’s uncertain financial future, shows compassion and respect for all of our community’s residents.

The last few years, property owners in Island County have seen drastic increases in the assessed valuation of our homes and properties. We were informed by the county our assessment values were being raised in accordance with the steady climb of the market value of homes and properties located in Island County.

However, the market value of properties has drastically dropped and continues to drop. As this assessed valuation is the basis for computing how much residents pay towards any given tax increase, wouldn’t it stand to reason it is now time for the county assessor to step up to the plate and lower our assessment values to what the market value currently is? I fail to understand how residents can make any educated decision as to any future tax increase requests while many of our properties and home values are currently assessed higher than they could actually be sold for in this market.

Our local government officials need to understand the reality facing citizens paying property tax here in Island County.

The average taxpayer does not have the luxury of demanding pay increases from their employers or retirement plans when the cost of living increases.

Many residents cannot afford additional out-of-pocket expenses and are falling short in securing the basic necessities.

The county assessor must be as diligent in lowering assessed valuations in keeping with declining market values, as they have been in raising them in the past. It is expected that individual households have a realistic view of their financial situations and spend accordingly setting priorities in importance of need; it is not too much for taxpayers to expect the same from our local government.

Linda Perkins