1 percent property tax hike proposed in Everett

  • Fri Oct 28th, 2011 9:38pm
  • News

By Debra Smith Herald Writer

EVERETT — City leaders are poised to raise property taxes again, although for many homeowners that increase will amount to less than the cost of a latte.

The proposed hike is 1 percent, the maximum amount by state law that communities can raise property taxes annually without seeking voter approval.

Everett taxpayers also pay 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for property they own. That money is for an emergency medical services levy approved by voters last year.

In Everett, that tax increase is expected to be about $2 total for a home assessed at $250,000, said Debra Bryant, the city’s chief financial officer.

The Everett City Council plans to continue a public hearing on the matter at 6 p.m. Wednesday during its regular meeting. The council is expected to take a vote after the close of that hearing.

If approved, $32.5 million in property taxes and another $5.7 million in levy dollars would be raised.

Property taxes make up about a third of the total revenue needed to pay for the basic functions of the city.

That 1 percent hike isn’t keeping up with the costs of running government — much of which is driven by the cost of paying city employees, Bryant said.

“When the majority of the expense is labor, a 1 percent property tax increase cannot make up for the impact of the approximate 10 percent health care increase for employees,” she said.

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or dsmith@heraldnet.com.