Taxes down; city revenues follow suit

  • Tue Jun 19th, 2012 9:08pm

By Katie Murdoch Herald writer

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — Within the past four years, city officials secured approximately $10.2 million in federal and state grants to pay for capital investments.

Officials will continue to apply for grants to help pay for improvements, including upgraded streets, parks and sidewalks.

Securing grant funding is one example of how officials are maneuvering during the turbulent economy.

City staff presented the first-quarter report during the June 18 City Council meeting.

The city has faced its most difficult financial times in generations over the past four years.

The city’s coffers are seeing revenue projections coming in below estimates as the city’s major revenue sources – property, sales and gambling taxes – come in lower than expected.

General government revenue is expected to dip by a total of $15.1 million, or 8.3 percent, from 2008 to 2016, based on projections from last fall. Between 2012 and 2016, the forecast shows revenue dropping by $1.9 million to $2.1 million annually, or on average 9.4 percent.

The average homeowner in Mountlake Terrace is expected to pay less for property taxes, according to the county. The average total property tax bill, which includes schools, state, library, county, hospital and city levies, decreased by $98, or 4.2 percent. The average homeowner paid $2,335 in 2011 and is expected to pay $2,237 in 2012.

City officials say property tax collections will come in on budget. But property tax revenues dropped $18,606, or 1.8 percent, compared with 2011.

During the first quarter, general fund operating revenues came in below estimate. The city collected $3.5 million, a $67,000 dip, or 1.9 percent. The shortfall is countered by operating department savings.

Total general government revenues, which covers street operating, recreation and debt service, came in at $4.3 million, which is $146,600 (3.3 percent) lower than expected due to fewer recreation fees.