At the city council meeting last night it became apparent that our leadership does not understand how property taxes are calculated. If your property assessed value goes up, will our City be able to collect that much more in property taxes? They were unable to answer this question.
I have responded to this confusion on several occasions on our local discussion boards and I see the need to clarify this more fully for the many in our community who are concerned.
If your assessed property value goes up 20%, your city property taxes will likely not go up 20%, especially if the majority of your fellow city residents also saw their assessed value go up similarly. It is possible that our full property tax burden (not just the City portion) could go up significantly if our assessed values are increasing at a faster pace than the rest of the region.
Your assessed value determines the proportionate share of the levy amount that Duvall is authorized to collect. The levy amount is limited to a 1% increase (in aggregate, not at the individual home level). The 1% increase must be approved by city council. The levy amount is also increased by new homes that are added – the amount of levy increase is calculated using the assessed value of the new home, multiplied by the levy rate (I believe from the previous year). Once that levy amount is calculated, it is spread among individual homes based on your assessed value.
We also have special levy amounts, such as the ballpark and resource officer levy (proposition 1) that has a fixed dollar amount to collect. I believe that levy was structured so that the annual levy amount will be spread proportionately among all assessed values in City limits. So, theoretically, as we add new houses, your proportionate share of the proposition 1 levy could go down.
These two documents give a good overview of these concepts:
Our city council is currently deciding on whether they will take advantage of the 1% levy increase or bank it for a later date. Our tax revenues have increased significantly due to our utility taxes being raised twice in the last 2 years (city utility tax rate has risen from 6% to 8% to 10% and cable tax risen from 1% to 6% to 8%, approved by our city council), in addition to taking the 1% levy increase in prior years, increased sales tax revenue and other sources such as permit fees. I personally feel we should not further burden our community with an additional tax increase and I propose considering a repeal of the most recent utility tax rate increase – return it to the 8% rate). Our fire and school districts are needing to expand to increase capacity due to growth and our property taxes will likely take a hit to fund those capital projects. Many residents chose Duvall for its relative affordability and we need to be asking ourselves how much increase in property tax burden our community can bear.
I hope this has been helpful.