Agency to collect intended tax after typo in ballot measure

February 11, 2020 GMT

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state agency can collect its intended property tax to pay for emergency dispatching services after a typographical error in a levy ballot measure lowered the amount, a judge said.

The measure by Columbia 911 asked voters to approve 0.29 cents for every $1,000 assessed value instead of the intended 29 cents for every $1,000, the Daily News reports.

The typo would mean the annual tax on a $200,000 home would be 58 cents instead of $58, officials said.

Voters approved the five-year levy in 1998 and it has been renewed since then at the 29 cent rate, most recently being passed last year with 75% support, agency officials said.

“We’re letting the judge’s ruling speak for itself,” Columbia 911 Executive Director Mike Fletcher said Monday.

The typo appeared on a previous ballot and went undetected until May, court officials said.

Resident Tyler Miller sued in June for an injunction against the company for collecting the intended rate, which was more than the voter-approved rate, he said.

Columbia County Circuit Judge Ted Grove in January ruled that Columbia 911 could collect the 29-cent rate and dismissed Miller’s suit.

Miller told the Columbia County Spotlight that he intends to appeal the ruling.