Property owners in Lake Cushman have petitioned Mason County to be removed from the Skokomish Flood Control Zone District. This Taxing District was established in 1976 to help fund flood control projects in the Skokomish River watershed. The District’s boundaries include properties along the Skokomish River and all of its tributaries in Mason County except for Olympic National Forest and the Skokomish Indian Reservation. Flood Control Zone District property owners are taxed 50 cents per thousand of assessed value which generates about $67,000 ($66,964) a year. So far, the County has used those funds to finance minor in-stream gravel removal and earth-moving, streamside dike construction and repairs, annual stream gages, and multiple river studies and analyses to try and reduce the severity and frequency of flooding in the area. There are 4,090 parcels in the Skokomish Flood Control District with more than 2,700 (2,753) in the Cushman area accounting for over 70% (70.6%) of the districts taxable value or over $47,000 ($47,421). The petition submitted Tuesday had 318 signatures with more signing as the petition was turned in. Those in Cushman don’t see how their properties contribute to flooding and they believe they have never benefited from the tax.
The County Commissioners, acting as the Skokomish Flood Control Zone District Board of Supervisors, decided to move forward with the petition process. The petition is now in the hands of the Mason County Auditor’s Office which will check to see that all those to sign actually live in the Flood Control District. After that validation, a public hearing will be held.