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Swinomish Tribe collects but does not disburse taxes

The Swinomish Tax Authority used the same levy rate for 2022 as for 2021: $11.98 per thousand. But, the assessed value of homes in Shelter Bay and Pull & Be Damned increased from $178,838,070 to $196,284,197, an increase of $17,446,127.

The Swinomish government hopes to collect $2,350,888 in taxes from Shelter Bay, Pull & Be Damned, Thousand Trails and Dunlap Towing. That’s $208,214 higher than last year.

Three taxing districts will receive contributions from the Swinomish. These are: Fire District 13 at $300,000 ($100,000 more than last year), La Conner Library at $27,702 (the Tribe has contributed $750,000 to the La Conner-Swinomish Library) and La Conner schools will receive $500,000 for operations and maintenance, plus $100,000 to a sinking fund for a new roof on the gym. Additional funds may be forthcoming for the school district.

The Tribe does not contribute to the debt service for the bond that built the middle school. About 34% of the students are Native American, so if the Tribe were to pony up their share of the $1,300,000 debt service, they would contribute $442,000. Their members voted for the bond.

After deducting the contributions, exemptions, uncollectible taxes and taxes shared with the county, the Tribe will have $1,351,834 left.

The three taxing districts that receive a contribution from the Tribe should deduct the amount of the contribution from their levy requests, but there is no evidence that they do so. They receive the tax shift plus the tribal contribution.

The remaining taxing districts are Medic 1, County General, County Roads, Conservation, the Anacortes Port District and the state school levy. All of these districts provide services to Shelter Bay and Pull & Be Damned, but none receive any Tribe funding. Medic 1 should receive $72,488, but gets nothing. Skagit County accounts for $509,142. The state levy for schools costs $525,237. The Anacortes Port District adds $38,217. The total tax shift is $1,975,699.

Because of the tax shift, those living in La Conner will see $234 added to their taxes. Those living in the county will see an additional $323. The rest of the county taxpayers will see a tax increase of $19.

This has been going on for seven years, but neither Rep. Paul nor Rep. Gilday will respond to my letters anymore.

Dan O’Donnell

La Conner


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