Guemes Island Cemetery District:

Proposed Levy Increase for Skagit County Cemetery District 3 (Edens Cemetery), Guemes Island

Cemetery commissioners Adam Veal, Daniel Burnett and Andy Leech are considering adding a ballot measure on the November 3rd General Election to raise the levy lid for the cemetery district from $0.015 to $0.04 per thousand dollars of assessed property value.  Guemes community input—both pros and cons—are very much wanted and needed.  Given the social distancing requirement we are currently experiencing, community conversations is best done “virtually”.  If you would like to share your thoughts and explore this proposal more fully, please contact any or all of the following individuals:

                Adam Veal, commissioner, 360-293-0925, adamaveal@gmail.com

                Daniel Burnett, commissioner, 360-941-5770, daniel.burnett@gmail.com

                Andy Leech, commissioner, 360-588-8151, andyleech@msn.com

                Angie Veal, secretary, 360-941-9578, angielynnveal@gmail.com

What would be the dollar impact of this proposed levy increase?  At the present rate of 0.015 the tax liability on a $500,000 house and property is $7.50.  At 0.04 levy rate, the annual tax liability would increase to $20.00.  Based on data from the Skagit County Office of the Assessor the current valuation of Guemes property is $397,581,063 which at the 0.015 levy rate provides $5,986 annually for cemetery operations.  At the proposed levy rate of 0.04, funding would increase to $15,903 annually.

Why is a levy increase being considered at this time?   Receipts from the sale of grave plots in 2019 were less than $500.00.  Funding available from the present levy ($5,986) barely covers the annual costs for cemetery operations: mowing, edging, grave subsidence repair, seeding, locating plots for burials and placement of markers, maintaining and printing plot location charts, planning and coordinating Memorial Day observances, providing a funeral presence, etc.  Additionally each commissioner and the secretary receive a $50 monthly stipend for their services.  Projects that the commissioners would like to undertake include setting aside funds for maintenance, repair and eventual replacement of lawn care equipment (mower), landscaping projects to include a tree-screen between the fire station and the cemetery, creation of a scattering garden for ashes, construction of a columbarium and “reclamation” of portions of the back side of the cemetery for future use.

What is the time line for obtaining community comments and submitting the ballot measure?   The Elections Department requires all material be received by August 4th.  Ideally there will be sufficient people willing to share “For-and-Against” arguments for inclusion with the final ballot measure.

Tags: SCCD3 Levy Lid Lift