Ocean Shores voters narrowly approving Prop 1 sales tax for roads

Ocean Shores voters were narrowly approving a sales and use tax for transportation improvements on the Aug. 7 ballot after the first returns were counted by the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s office.

Yes votes for Proposition 1 totaled 1,026 (52.19 percent), while there were 940 no votes (47.81 percent) after the second tally of ballot results were announced on Wednesday. The election is scheduled to be certified on Aug. 21.

If approved by voters, the two-tenths of one percent sales tax “will pave the way to repair our roads and help meet pavement preservation needs,” the city’s voter fact sheet states. The city was able to ask voters for the local sales tax authority after the City Council last year formally approved a Transportation Benefit District, which is authorized by the state as a means to raise funds for street-related needs.

According to city estimates, the local sales tax collections would generate about $220,000 a year, while increasing the sales tax by an amount that equates to “20 cents per $100 spent.”

Other key elements:

• By law, the funds must be used for transportation improvements and preservation.

• The sales tax revenue will be kept in a separate account and not in the city’s general fund.

• The tax impacts visitors and local residents alike, and lasts for 10 years, if approved.

• There are 224 lane miles of pavement in the city.

• There were 109 locations where the pavement was found in 2017 to be in distress.

• Needs are estimated by the city to be $426,000 a year.