EVERETT — Homeowners might want to brace for some sticker shock when they open their property tax bills next month.
The tab is due to rise by 16 percent, on average, across Snohomish County. The bill for the average-valued home will go up by $600 compared to last year, hitting $4,360.
That’s according to numbers released Thursday by Snohomish County Assessor Linda Hjelle.
“I’m trying hard to get information out to the public so they’re aware of the changes and aware of the impact,” Hjelle said. “As soon as we got the numbers, I wanted to get them out to the public.”
Homeowners in Lake Stevens will see the biggest jump — 27.7 percent. Tax bills in three other cities will rise by 20 percent or more: Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Brier.
The bills are typically mailed in mid-February. Half is due by the end of April, the other half by the end of October.
Countywide, the increase is being driven largely by changes in state education funding in response to the state Supreme Court ruling in the McCleary case. In Snohomish County, that means an extra 82 cents per $1,000 worth of assessed property value to pay for state education.
The average residential property owner with an assessed value of $335,800 would have paid $682 to the state school levy in 2017, the Assessor’s Office said. In 2018, the average assessed home value rose to $377,600 with $1,076 in property tax going toward state education levies. That’s a difference of $394.
As part of the state changes, a cap on local levies is supposed to kick in for 2019. That should keep the combined state-local tax bill for education at or below 2017 levels for taxpayers in Everett, Mukilteo, Sultan and other districts, school officials in those areas say.
Lake Stevens’ increase in 2018 mainly owes to a school district construction bond voters passed two years earlier. A voter-approved lid lift for the local EMS levy also contributed.
The Edmonds School District accounts for a significant piece of the rise across southwest Snohomish County.
Lynnwood homeowners also will pay more for fire protection.
Lynnwood’s fire department merged Oct. 1 with Fire District 1 to become South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue. That came after voters approved a ballot measure in August endorsing the change.
City officials initially calculated the move would save money. Lynnwood did cut its portion of the tax bill by 51 percent, as the city no longer runs the fire department. However, the regional fire authority now more than makes up for the city’s portion.
The owner of a house assessed at Lynnwood’s current average of $340,200 would pay an extra $196 compared to last year, finance director Sonja Springer said. Of that $196, at total of $94 is due to the increase in average assessed value, and $102 is due to the net impact of the new tax for the fire authority, Springer said.
The most significant factor increasing property taxes for Mountlake Terrace homeowners was the city’s regular levy. The city was able to use banked capacity for levy increases it opted not to take in previous years.
Assessed values in the county have gone up this year by an average of 12.4 percent. The typical home is now valued at $377,600 from $335,800 a year earlier.
Bothell and Mountlake Terrace have the highest increase in assessed value, of 17 percent and 15.4 percent, respectively.
Woodway, where the average home is now assessed at more than $1.3 million, saw the lowest average rise in value, of 2.5 percent.
Property owners were mailed their current valuation notices over the summer.
Average increase in property tax countywide compared to previous year:
2009: 0 percent
2010: minus 3.2 percent
2011: 3.3 percent
2012: minus 3.4 percent
2013: minus 3.3 percent
2014: 4.4 percent
2015: 9.8 percent
2016: 2.1 percent
2017: 11.1 percent
2018: 16 percent
Average increase in property tax in 2018, compared to 2017, by community:
Arlington: 13 percent
Bothell (part of city in Snohomish County): 18.8 percent
Brier: 20.1 percent
Darrington: 13.8 percent
Edmonds: 16.5 percent
Everett: 11.5 percent
Gold Bar: 14.9 percent
Granite Falls: 15 percent
Index: 17.3 percent
Lake Stevens: 27.7 percent
Lynnwood: 24.4 percent
Marysville: 13.6 percent
Mill Creek: 11 percent
Monroe: 17.8 percent
Mountlake Terrace: 21.6 percent
Mukilteo: 11.4 percent
Snohomish: 13.8 percent
Stanwood: 16.8 percent
Sultan: 13 percent
Woodway: 9.2 percent
Unincorporated Snohomish County: 15.8 percent