City Mulls Upping Property Tax

During the latest City Council meeting, concerns were raised about the upcoming state-allowed increase of property taxes, prompting a brief discussion on the property tax limits. Later this year, the council will vote on property taxes and the city budget for 2024.

Each council member was given a chance to voice their opinion on increasing the property tax to assist the city budget. The proposed increase would cost an average of $3 per property per year. The council very quickly came to a consensus that increasing the property tax was not needed. During upcoming meetings, the city will hold a public hearing on the budget ordinance and vote on the final draft. Because the three-reading process is often waived in passing the annual ordinance, the date of the vote is unknown.

Washington State operates on a budget-based property taxation system , with key components including the levy amount, assessed value, and levy rate. The levy amount, determined during the city’s budget process, signifies the total amount collected from taxpayers within city limits. This amount is then certified to the county assessor, who calculates the levy rate for each property necessary to generate the required revenue.

The property tax levy is restricted by overall limits on the regular levy rate and the annual levy increase. The 1% limit on property tax increases annually is a critical aspect. However, the city may retain the right to use ‘banked’ capacity at a later date, allowing for potential future increases beyond the 1% limit. While the 1% annual increase limit remains the general rule, adjustments can occur based on factors like changes in property values, additional constructions, and changes in levy rates.

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