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MOUNT VERNON — The Skagit County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved property tax increases for 2020.

A 1% increase applies to all four of the county’s levies — general, roads, EMS and conservation futures — and an additional 2.48% to the roads levy.

“Raising taxes is never something people are excited about,” Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt said.

Under state law, counties can increase property taxes by 1% a year. But for each year they do not increase property taxes, the permitted increase is banked and can be implemented in a later year.

The increases will amount to an additional nearly $1 million for the county, said County Administrator and Budget and Finance Director Trisha Logue.

Combined, the owner of a property valued at $320,000 in unincorporated Skagit County would pay an additional $16.19 per year, which equates to $1.35 per month.

Those who live within a city or town would pay less.

The commissioners also approved taking the $386,454 in banked roads levy money and shifting it to the general fund.

As in previous years, the county will divert $1.3 million from the county roads levy and shift it into the general fund.

That money will be used to hire two new Skagit County sheriff’s deputies and provide the department with equipment upgrades.

“We’ve got a nice, big, new community justice center and we need to make sure we have support for the deputies that are out in the field doing their job,” Commissioner Ron Wesen said.

About 75% of the county’s budget is in law and justice, Dahlstedt said.

“Public safety is the No. 1 priority for all of us,” Commissioner Lisa Janicki said.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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