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Port of Everett ponders making its tax district boundary countywide

EVERETT — The Port of Everett desires to expand its district boundaries beyond most of Everett, a bit of Marysville and much of Mukilteo.
Ideally, it would like its district to cover most of the county, like what most other large ports enjoy, and it's issued a survey open until Nov. 26 to see what people think.
What's the pitch? Let it grow, and the port can contribute funds toward economic development countywide, CEO Lisa Lefeber said. Right now, it can only legally spend on projects within its boundary.
The survey is online in both English and Spanish at
People may also take the 20-question survey by phone by calling 1-909-496-5755 Monday through Saturday between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The port could put money toward infrastructure projects, especially projects that keep the county competitive in business.
What the port would do if it expanded its boundaries is wide-ranging. It could invest in building roads or rail mobility improvements to help move goods faster, for habitat restoration, mixed-use development, job centers, industrial parks, or more.
“The port’s project list and investment plan would evolve to the needs of its district if more parts of the county were included,” port spokeswoman Cat Soper said.
Not all of Washington’s 75 public port districts have waterfronts, either.
The port heard favorable opinions from city representatives when asking
them "because they see the value," Lefeber said.
The port functions as a public business enterprise. Its business lines are in real estate, international shipping and its marina.
The port does levy a tax on all properties within its boundaries, but it uses those proceeds to fund environmental restoration, public access and debt service.
In 2023, the port charged 18 cents per $1,000 in assessed value on property taxes in its district, equal to $90 for a $500,000 home.
If it expands boundaries, that tax rate should decrease because the sheer number of properties to be taxed would spread out when calculating the tax levy amount. How much is not known. The port does not have calculations yet, Lefeber said. One reason is because it doesn't know how much of an expansion it will finalize seeking to expand to.
Lefeber will make a recommendation to the commission in December for port commissioners. It will outline a new boundary area to pursue, whether that be a portion or all of the county except the boundaries of the Port of Edmonds. The port’s board of commissioners would decide whether to put forward the idea to the County Council; the council would decide whether to put it forward to voters.
People living outside the boundaries being asked to join would have the final say.
As of the middle of last week, about 300 people have done the survey, Soper said.
A study says "Port of Everett cargo, marina and tenant activity supported $433.4 million of state and local tax revenue" in 2019, according to the port.



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