ANACORTES — The Anacortes City Council passed a resolution of intent Monday to retain a portion of its state sales tax to fund affordable housing.
A new state law allows cities and counties to withhold part of the sales tax it collects to pay for housing projects that benefit those earning less than 60% of the county’s median household income.
Taking advantage of this state law will not increase taxes, though the Anacortes City Council is also considering asking voters to approve an increase in sales tax to pay for affordable housing.
The Skagit County commissioners passed a similar resolution of intent Aug. 5, saying the program could provide the county $466,476 a year for the 20-year life of the program, or enough for about 240 affordable housing units.
If cities choose to take part in the program, at least half of the sales tax available through the program goes to the city instead of to the county.
As for a sales tax increase, Don Measamer, director of the Anacortes Planning Department, said before the City Council weighs in he wants to learn more about what other cities have done.
Councilman Ryan Walters requested Measamer put together information on how much money a tax increase could raise, how it would affect taxpayers and specific projects it could fund.
At a meeting Aug. 21, mayors from Skagit County’s other three cities said they are considering asking their councils to pass similar resolutions of intent to take part in the new state program.