Is it a ‘cost’ or is it really an investment in our future?
Costs can be looked at in various ways. Capital means facilities and maintaining and upgrading facilities is an investment over time. The technology part of this levy is also an investment in our future. Technology changes and every investment since day one has been to keep up with the every changing needs.
What is the cost to me in my taxes? Your property rate will not increase with the replacement Capitial Projects and Technology levy. The amount proposed to be collected each year will decrease using the assumption property values will continue to rise. This was done to try to include the real tax dollars from increasing while still providing the funds needed to take care of the needs.
What is the cost if I vote no? That is pretty simple. The needs don’t go away and will only cost more in the future. We see this today in the fact that two bond issues didn’t achieve the supermajority they needed (by less than 2%). The items in those bonds were just added back on the stack of facility needs that still need addressed. Had either of those bonds, most of the facility needs in this levy would not be there. As far as the technology part of the levy, we will see a much larger impact in the classroom. The dependence on functional technology increases each year – something almost imaginable just twenty years ago. The technology department is not focused on the latest and greatest, but what will work today and the near future.
How does Longview compare to other districts?
First it should be noted not every school district has the same needs at the same time. For example, Kelso is on the start of their bonds for all their new school construction whereas Longview is retiring both our bonds for building Mt. Solo and remodeling of Cascade and Monticello. Other districts have their unique needs and challenges. Below is a chart that compares Longview to all of Cowlitz County schools and the major schools in the Vancouver-Camas areas. Note: Castle Rock boundary include property in Lewis County as well as Woodland in Clark County. The rates are per $1,000 of property assessed value.
|Cowlitz County||Lewis County||Clark County|
|Camas School District||$ 4.74|
|Washougal School District||$ 4.29|
|Woodland School District||$ 3.93||$ 3.74|
|Kelso School District||$ 3.93|
|Evergreen Public Schools||$ 3.90|
|Vancouver Public Schools||$ 3.71|
|Longview School District||$ 3.51|
|Kalama School District||$ 3.43|
|Toutle School District||$ 3.19|
|Castle Rock School District||$ 2.16||$ 2.16|
Can I get tax relief?
- Low income seniors and disabled adults may qualify for tax exemptions. The qualifying applicant receives a reduction in the amount of property taxes due. The amount of the reduction is based on the applicant’s income, the value of the residence, and the local levy rates. Please contact the Cowlitz County Assessor’s office for more information.