Black Diamond weighing budget, property tax

Black Diamond weighing budget, property tax

Public comment periods are set for Nov. 21 and Dec. 2.

As Black Diamond’s city officials and elected leaders prepare a spending plan for the coming year, there are several key elements that may hold public interest.

Among those are two crucial dates – Nov. 21 and Dec. 2 – in the budgeting process. Those are the evenings when the public has a chance to weigh in on city spending proposals. Public hearings will be conducted both nights on the overall budget and a hearing on the proposed property tax is set for the 21st.

That’s all in preparation for Dec. 5, when members of the Black Diamond City Council are scheduled to make a final vote on the 2020 budget.

A starting point in setting a property tax is the overall assessed value of the city, a number passed down from Seattle and the office of the King County assessor. The current value was judged to be slightly more than $1 billion.

City Finance Director May Miller notes this is the first time the city has topped the billion-dollar mark. A further sign of the city’s building boom, she said, is that the city’s assessed value has doubled since 2013.

In setting property tax collections, municipalities are limited by state law. Annual collections can increase no more than 1 percent over the year prior. Municipalities are not required to implement the 1 percent increase but most, including Black Diamond, do. It wasn’t too many years ago that the lid was 6 percent; the state’s voters, however, changed that.

When all the numbers are crunched, Miller said, the city is looking at a 2020 property tax rate of $1.87 per $1,000 of assessed value (building and land). The current figure is $1.90, meaning a lesser rate for the coming 12 months.

That can be offset, though, when property values jump year over year. Property owners everywhere, not just Black Diamond, can see a decreased tax rate but higher tax bill.

King County has figured the average assessment in Black Diamond to be $386,000. That means a city tax bill of nearly $722 next year; the bill on the same property this year is roughly $733.

When paying property taxes (whether as a lump sum or monthly as part of a mortgage payment), city residents are impacted by multiple entities. Aside from the city share, Black Diamond property owners pay into the state’s public schools, the Enumclaw School District, the King County Library System, among others. There are also tax levies for things like emergency medical services, flood control and ferries.

Miller said the total, after all taxing entities collect their share of the pie, is a rate of $9.45. So the total bill, on that average property valued at $386,000, is about $3,648 annually.

One element of the property tax puzzle not being addressed is the city’s relationship with Mountain View Fire and Rescue. The two sides are at odds over the city’s contribution for fire and EMS protection. Black Diamond residents are not part of the district; rather, the city contracts for services.

The district has made it clear the believe Black Diamond residents pay far less than others in the Mountain View district, a situation the district would like rectified. The city remains adamant that additional money isn’t available.

Miller said generating additional dollars would require a formal “lid lift,” a process that would allow greater taxation. That type of move, she said, is at least a year away, perhaps two.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

Blotter bug
Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | Nov. 16 – 23

A fake $100 bill, a gravel spill, and multiple commitments to St. Elizabeth Hospital.

Enumclaw council chambers. File photo
Enumclaw council moves on property tax, utility increases as part of ‘21 budget

Natural gas and garbage disposal services received a bump in rates.

book cover
Former EHS student pens first book of poetry

Additionally, the Unknown Poets Society is hosting a poetry competition, with a writer’s retreat as the top prize.

Jackson's on Cole Street had to close temporarily due to staffing shortages. It was planning to open up again when Gov. Jay Inslee ordered all restaurants to stop indoor dining for four weeks. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Enumclaw’s downtown economy threatened by restaurant closures

Will outdoor dining and take-out orders be enough to keep local restaurants open?

The current Enumclaw section of the Foothills Trail ends at the historic Boise Creek Bridge. That will be the end of the line until a bridge across the White River is added, a step not expected until perhaps 2023. Photo by Kevin Hanson
County close to opening new section of Foothills Trail to Boise Creek

Unfortunately, the construction of the pedestrian bridge that will cross the White River has been delayed to 2023.

A King County Sheriff’s Office photo of the crawlspace in which Urbano Velazquez was hiding when a K-9 unit was used. Sound Publishing file photo
King County settles $2 million dog bite lawsuit

The county agreed to pay $100,000 after being sued after a 2016 K-9 unit arrest.

Contributed by the Society for Conservation Biology 
A map showing the locations where plants have gone extinct in the U.S. and Canada since European settlers arrived.
Study: 65 plant species have gone extinct in U.S., Canada

More than 65 species of plants have gone extinct in the U.S.… Continue reading

file photo
COVID-19 continues spreading at a breakneck pace

Every person infected with COVID appears to be passing the disease along to 1.5 people on average.

Flaming Geyser is one of the several state parks in proximity to the Plateau that you can visit for free on Jan. 1 and 18. Photo courtesy Washington State Parks
Free Park Days in 2021 start in January

The first free days are Jan. 1 and 18.

Most Read