By Debbie Klosowski, Mayor, City of University Place
This is in regards to the 1% increase in the regular Property Tax Levy that was recently approved by the City Council. Since there is inaccurate information being spread about this issue, I hope the following can clarify the situation.
All property tax is dedicated to fund public safety in University Place. Prior to considering the 1% increase, the City Council took action to dedicate all property tax collected by the City to fund Public Safety, including Police and Code Enforcement. Even so, the amount of property tax collected does not fully fund public safety services; as a result, the City has also dedicated additional funds to help pay for these critical services.
State law limits the amount that property taxes can increase each year. Washington State law allows the total amount of property tax collected by the City each year to only be increased by 1% per year. (This does not include new construction, improvements to property or increased value of assessed properties). The City only receives 8 cents out of every $1 collected in property taxes with the remainder going to the School District, Fire District, Library District, State, County and Port.
Last year, the City Council decided against enacting the 1% limit along with enacting significant cuts in staff and services. This year, continued reductions in major revenues convinced the City Council to enact the 1% measure to help better fund public safety.
How does the 1% increase affect individual homeowners? The increase in property tax that homeowners will pay to the City depends upon the assessed value of their house. For example, an average homeowner with a house valued around $300,000 last year will pay approximately $3.00 more in property taxes to the City next year.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. It is a difficult situation for all of us as we strive to maintain an appropriate balance between the services our citizens wish to maintain and the revenues available to pay for those services.
Working together, I am confident that we will be able to continue an appropriate level of services for our community.