Snohomish County residential property tax bills ease

A steep drop in real-estate prices has finally eased tax bills slightly for most Snohomish County homeowners.

Yearly notices mailed Friday average $99 less than last year.

“That’s not going to be the case for every property,” county Assessor Cindy Portmann said. “That’s just the case for residential (properties). And it depends on where in the county you live.”

Residential property-tax bills averaged $2,996 for this year. People in Darrington saw the greatest increase — 8.4 percent — while Stanwood residents saw the biggest drop — 9.3 percent.

Half the amount is due by the end of April and the full amount by the end of October.

As of mid-January, anybody can look up and pay tax bills on county’s Web site.

“It’s all there,” Treasurer Kirke Sievers said. “We’ve already had people pay.”

Assessed home values used to calculate taxes lag behind the real estate market by more than a year. This year’s bills are based on values as of Jan. 1, 2009. The average Snohomish County home value as of that date was $302,900, compared with $340,400 a year earlier.

Dropping home values don’t automatically lower taxes because state law increases levy rates when that happens.

This year, 13 fire districts in Snohomish County had already reached their statutory levy limits; therefore, the amounts they are able to collect dropped.

Last year, voters approved six of eight property tax measures on the ballot. Five approved measures were for city EMS and fire district levies. The other was for the Sno-Isle Library District. None were for school districts.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

Learn more

For more information about property taxes in general or special programs, call 425-388-3433 or go to assessor.snoco.org.

To pay a current bill or see a history of past property taxes, go to www.snoco.org and search for “treasurer.” Click on “property tax information” to look up bills by street address or parcel. You’ll see another icon for Web payments.

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