Property tax hearing continues Tuesday, Nov. 20 SNOHOMISH - Last week’s public hearing on raising the city’s property tax by 1 percent has been extended to next week’s City Council meeting as Councilman Tom Hamilton was absent.
The public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20 in the George Gilbertson Boardroom at the Snohomish School District Resource Center, 1601 Ave. D.
City Manager Larry Bauman put forth his 2013 budget recommendations last month, which includes the 1 percent property tax increase. The increase will give the city an additional $10,000.
When the Great Recession hit, Snohomish opted to forgo imposing the 1 percent increase and lost about $60,000 in revenue.
Mayor Karen Guzak said she “feels pretty good” about the 2013 budget so far and that she is also “inclined to take the property tax increase.”
“It’s clear that the last three years we didn’t take that 1 percent helped us get in the hole a bit,” Guzak said, adding taking the increase is “the most responsible thing to do.”
Although the cost to the average homeowner for the increase is less than $3 per year, the cumulative result can be substantial to the city, Bauman said.
“If the City Council were to adopt a 0 percent increase again for 2013, the cumulative result for the years 2010-2017 of the city adopting another 0 percent increase in property tax would be a revenue loss of $274,250,” Bauman wrote in an e-mail to the Tribune.
The current city’s property tax rate of $1.13 per $1,000 assessed home value is the lowest of all cities in Snohomish County.
“We understand the total tax burden that many property owners currently experience” but “the proposed increased levy amount would not create a significant tax burden on the members of our community,” he said.
The projected 2013 operating budget is $8.8 million. Sales tax revenue, which is the city’s predominant funding source, is projected to increase by $207,982. Of that, $120,929 is projected to come from retail sales tax revenue. Retail sales tax revenue is showing modest gains, while construction-related sales revenue continues to be depressed from historical highs, according to the proposed budget.
Bauman also is asking the council to rehire a formerly eliminated City Hall receptionist as well as hire three temporary summer employees for next year. Two of the part-time positions will go to parks and one to streets. Those positions were eliminated in 2008.
This is the city’s first year to use the newly established Transportation Benefit District, which Bauman said helped the budget substantially.
“The TBD provides more than $600,000 in revenue each year that allows us to reinstate our street program for overlays and major street reconstruction,” Bauman said.
Guzak said she doesn’t expect the budget to be tweaked by the council, which ultimately has the last say in approving it.
“This is an easier budget year than the last three years. We have a little bit more leeway and breathing room,” Guzak said.
Previous budget cuts resulted in the elimination of the city’s police department.