Around the City
The Blaine Chamber of Commerce has announced the newly elected board of directors for the 2008 year. They are: President Steve Lawrenson, vice president Ron Spanjer, secretary Carroll Solomon, treasurer Kimberli Shea; and past president Gail Kruk. Bessie Barredo was voted in to serve as one-year director with Alan Finston, and Louise Mugar and Bob Boule have been voted in as two-year directors.
Local firefighters on display at WinterFest
Local firefighters who posed shirtless in a fundraising calendar will be available for autographs at this weekend’s WinterFest crafts festival.
The men, who are featured in the “Whatcom’s Bravest Calendar,” will arrive by fire truck on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and be available until 4:30 p.m. The calendar will also be for sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Proceeds from the sales will benefit the Breast Cancer Walk for a Cure.
For more information, call 318-1710.
Students of Western Washington University’s psychology department will begin offering free counseling to families and individuals beginning Tuesday, January 8 at their clinic at WWU.
Counselors are trained to deal with a wide range of issues such as depression, anxiety, family concerns, relationship difficulties, vocational choices, grieving, communication problems, parent-child conflicts and childhood issues.
Those interested should call Lynn Graham in the WWU’s psychology department at 360/650-3184, at any time and leave a confidential message with a contact phone number.
Property tax deferrals available to some homeowners
Homeowners with limited incomes will be eligible to defer paying half of their property taxes or special assessments beginning in 2008.
To qualify, a homeowner must have owned the home for at least five years, reside in the home, and have a combined annual household disposable income of $57,000 per year or less. Disposable income is defined as income from all sources, whether or not it is subject to federal income tax.
Applicants must pay the first half of their property taxes in order to apply to defer paying taxes on the second half due in October. Application forms will be available after April 20, 2008 at county assessor offices or online at http://dor.wa.gov.
The total amount homeowners can defer cannot exceed 40 percent of the equity in their homes. Equity is defined as the difference between the assessed value of a home and any debts secured by the property.
The deferred taxes must be repaid with interest if a property is sold or no longer is used as the personal residence of the owner. The interest rate is based on the federal short-term rate plus 2 percent, or approximately 7 percent for any taxes deferred in 2008. Any change in the interest rate in 2009 and later years will not affect the interest rate on deferrals made in 2008.
For more information on the program, please visit your county assessor or go to www.co.whatcom.wa.us.
Students from Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College as well as community volunteers will offer free tax assistance at the WWU Viking Union, Fairhaven Library, and WCC’s Heiner Library from early February until April 15, 2008.
New volunteers are always welcome, and no prior tax experience is necessary. The free VITA training is partially online and partially in a classroom setting. The in-class training is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Saturday, January 12 and 26, at WWU, and will include computerized tax preparation and e-filing training.
More information is available at: www.cbe.wwu.edu/clubs/bap/vita.htm.