No opposition to Sound Transit boundary fix proposal

OLYMPIA — There appears to be little political opposition to resolving a dilemma faced by Snohomish County homeowners who didn’t get to vote on Sound Transit’s latest expansion plan yet are getting taxed to help pay for it.

No one showed up Thursday when the House Transportation Committee considered a bill that would bar Sound Transit from imposing a property tax on anything less than a whole parcel of property.

House Bill 1958 would be retroactive to Nov. 1, 2016. This would ensure owners of an estimated 50 parcels in Snohomish County that are partly inside and partly outside the Sound Transit district won’t have to pay the transit agency tax.

Rep. Mark Harmsworth, R-Mill Creek, drew up the bill after learning of the problem from a constituent affected by the situation. The Snohomish County Council is backing the bill.

“It really just cleans up the existing law,” he said. “For these 50 property owners it’s important because they didn’t get to vote on it and they have to pay for it.”

The lines for Sound Transit’s district generally follow city limits or urban-growth boundaries in unincorporated areas in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. In Snohomish County, the affected properties are on the outskirts of Everett, Snohomish, Mill Creek and Bothell. Some are in neighborhoods developed after the borders for Sound Transit were drawn in 1996.

This is a new situation for Sound Transit and the assessors in the three counties because the transit agency has never imposed a property tax until now. It gets to do so as a result of passage of Sound Transit 3 in November. That ballot measure included increases in the sales tax and vehicle registration fees plus the new property tax to support some $53.8 billion in projects.

When the Snohomish County assessor sent out the 2017 property tax bills, several home owners who did not have the measure on their ballot were surprised to learn a sliver of their property is within the transit district.

A Sound Transit spokesman said Thursday the agency doesn’t oppose the legislation.

If it became law, spokesman Geoff Patrick said the affected parcels would be excluded from the property tax but the district boundaries would not change.

“It’s not something that has a big impact financially,” he said.

Snohomish County Assessor Linda Hjelle said Thursday she is “on board with supporting a solution that provides clarity in the law.”

As the legislation is now written, it would require a recalculating of taxes due for each of those parcels, she said. If a property owner pays their bill and then the law is changed they could be due a refund, she said.

Meanwhile, in Olympia, the transportation committee chairwoman said after Thursday’s hearing that she sees no reason not to move the bill.

“I’ve had nobody talk to me about it,” said Rep. Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island. “The fact is they didn’t get to vote on it (ST3) so it’s probably a good thing to pass.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos

Talk to us

More in Local News

A wanted suspect was arrested after a standoff with law enforcement Tuesday night. (Bothell Police Department)
Kidnapping suspect arrested after standoff in Bothell

A large police presence contained the property in the 20500 block of 32nd Dr. SE on Tuesday night.

Community Transit's Lynnwood microtransit pilot project is set to launch this fall with a service area around the Alderwood mall. (Community Transit)
Lynnwood’s microtransit test begins this fall, others possible

Community Transit could launch other on-demand services in Arlington, Darrington and Lake Stevens.

Doctor Thomas Robey sits in a courtyard at Providence Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
‘It’d be a miracle’: Providence tests new treatment for meth addiction

Monoclonal antibodies could lead to the first drug designed to fight meth addiction. Everett was chosen due to its high meth use.

Rev. Barbara Raspberry, dressed in her go-to officiating garments, sits in the indoor chapel at her home, the Purple Wedding Chapel, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Everett, Washington. The space used to be two bedrooms, but she and her husband Don took down a wall converted them into a room for wedding ceremonies the day after their youngest son moved out over 20 years ago. The room can seat about 20 for in-person ceremonies, plus it serves as a changing room for brides and is the setting for virtual weddings that Raspberry officiates between brides and their incarcerated fiancees at the Monroe Correctional Complex. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s oh-so-colorful Purple Wedding Chapel is in the red

Rev. Rasberry has hitched hundreds of couples over the years. After her husband died, she’s unsure if she can keep the place.

Everett
Man dies in motorcycle crash that snarled I-5 in Everett

Washington State Patrol: he tried to speed by another driver but lost control and hit the shoulder barrier.

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, right, a Democrat, and Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson, left, running as a nonpartisan, take part in a debate, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Olympia, Wash., with Melissa Santos, center, of Axios Local, moderating. Hobbs and Anderson are seeking to fill the remaining two years of the term of Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who left to take a key election security job in the Biden administration. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sparks fly as Hobbs, Anderson face off in secretary of state debate

Julie Anderson called Steve Hobbs an “inexperienced political appointee.” He’s been in the job since Inslee put him there in November.

Zion Wright, 6, makes a face as Cecilia Guidarrama starts to massage cold facial cleanser onto his face during Evergreen Beauty College’s annual back-to-school beauty event on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dozens of kids get free back-to-school haircuts in Everett

For hours on Wednesday, training beauticians pampered families at the Everett campus of Evergreen Beauty College.

Jose Espinoza Aguilar appears in court via video for arraignment Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Prosecutors: ‘Danger’ shot man in head ‘without provocation or warning’

Jose Espinoza Aguilar had just been released from prison in May for another shooting. He now faces charges of first-degree assault.

Former public works site at 1201 Bonneville Ave is slated for affordable in housing in the Midtown District of Snohomish, Washington on April 21, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Small step’ toward affordable housing is big debate in Snohomish

Four months of public hearings have hinged on how much more taxpayers could shell out if the city offers a developer a break.

Most Read