PA council endorses Pencom sales tax plan

Peninsula News Network


Port Angeles, WA - The Port Angeles city council has endorsed the idea of asking voters for a sales tax increase to pay for better emergency communications.

Now it’s up to county commissioners to decide whether to place the measure on the ballot, probably in November.

Tuesday night the city council passed a resolution endorsing the half cent sales tax measure, which would earmark the money for Peninsula Communications, or Pen-com, the multi-agency system that dispatches all the police and fire units in the region.

While at a glance the Pencom dispatch center might seem pretty high tech with all of its flashing lights and computer screens, Port Angeles Police Chief Tom Reipe says the system is in need of an overhaul.

The sales tax increase would generate an estimated $750,000 a year countywide. The money could be used not only for upgrades at Pencom, but for the dozens of police cars, fire engines and other emergency units throughout the area.

Pencom Manager Naomi Wu says the money would allow emergency managers to “catch up” with issues like 9-1-1 calls from cell phones, the ability to deliver data directly to responding units, and homeland security.

Now that the local cities have endorsed the sales tax proposal, county commissioners will have to vote whether to actually place the measure on the ballot. If approved, the idea will probably go on the ballot for the November general election.


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