Op-ed: Camas property tax rates and the Camas Aquatics Center

Camas resident John Ley shares his views on the proposed Camas Aquatics Center and the plan to fund the project

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this op-ed piece are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com.

John Ley
John Ley

The city of Camas decided to scrap its old pool rather than spend $1-2 million to fix it. They are now proposing a very “nice” facility near Lacamas Lake. The new pool and rec center our city council is proposing will allegedly cost around $72-$78 million.

The Camas City Council is asking citizens to approve a property tax levy of $1.04 per thousand of your property valuation. That is an additional $416 on a $400,000, $832 on an $800,000 home, etc.

What are we already paying in tax rates by comparison? From my 2018 property tax statement.

VOTED Levy and TaxesPer $1,000 of assessed value 
City of Camas$0.4954
SD117 Camas School$6.7051
TOTAL Voted$7.2005
Non-VOTED Levy 
City of Camas$2.8900
Clark County$1.1089
Conservation Futures$0.0431
Port Camas/Washougal$0.3474
State Schools$1.8755
State Schools – part 2$1.0187
Total Non-Voted$7.2839
TOTAL voted & non-voted$14.4844

Think of all the services we get from the city. Police and fire departments and EMS for our public safety. They maintain our roads and parks. We have a public library, plus water and sewer systems. The pool proposal would have citizens paying almost one third (30 percent) the price of all the city services, just to build a new pool – ($1.04 vs. $3.385). We don’t know the cost of operating the facility which will be an added cost.

Consider the services we get from the county. We get the sheriff for public safety and our county judges and jail. They maintain rural roads and parks, and provide a host of other services. The city council wants us to spend over 93 percent of what we pay for Clark County services, on a pool – ($1.04 vs. $1.1089).

The Port of Camas/Washougal helps attract businesses and jobs to our area. They maintain the marina and the airport (Grove Field). The city council wants us to pay three times our Port taxes, for a pool – ($1.04 vs. $0.347).

Camas citizens have a very important and costly decision to make this November. Is paying $78 million a responsible use of our money, and will we get appropriate value for that money?

Some good articles for more information.




John Ley

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