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Voters give Port of Tracyton green light to annex 1,500 homes

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

With 825 votes counted, nearly 61 percent of Tracyton residents approved the Port of Tracyton annexation in Tuesday’s primary.

“I’m just thrilled,” said Port of Tracyton Commissioner Gary Keenan. “I’m really excited that there was so much support in the community.”

With voters showing strong support for the measure, the Port of Tracyton annexed about 1,500 homes surrounding the current port boundaries. The annexation provides the district with an increased tax base and will allow the port to request unclaimed gasoline tax refunds for boaters that will act as matching funds for future port projects.

After the final results were tallied, Keenan said he and fellow Port of Tracyton Commissioner William Mooney began the grant application process. The commissioners are applying for grant money from the state to help pay for a waterfront boardwalk and improvements to the boat launch.

“We’ll initially begin to lay our plans for a boardwalk,” Keenan said.

The first scheduled project is the construction of a 50- to 80-foot-long boardwalk. The boardwalk will allow everyone to access the beach and will feature benches and picnic tables.

The Port of Tracyton tax rate is 3 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, making it the lowest of all port districts in the state. Those who reside in the Port of Tracyton district with a house value of $300,000 will pay $9 a year in port taxes.

Keenan said he was shocked at the overwhelming support from Tracyton taxpayers with 61 percent approving the annexation.

“It is unusual how well this ballot carried,” Keenan said. “That’s just really unusual to get that kind of feedback.”

Keenan said the commissioners also will improve a small parking area that could be open to the public this summer. Keenan added that the Port of Tracyton will be turned into a “nice little day park” and he is pleased taxpayers support the port district and its future improvements.

“We’re just really pleased and thrilled with the support we got,” Keenan said. “We’re a real shoestring operation and it’s good to get support.”

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