Enumclaw proposing slightly smaller tax rate for coming year

For a $400,000 home, the tax bill in 2020 will be approximately $520.

Image courtesy www.SeniorLiving.org.

Image courtesy www.SeniorLiving.org.

As Enumclaw’s city leaders walk through the process of crafting a spending plan for 2020, they will be determining a property tax rate assessed to all land owners in town.

Arriving at a tax rate is something that is done annually, has built-in limitations imposed by the state, and eventually creates something of a math exercise for those on the receiving end of a tax statement. The rate is just one part of the equation; the other factor is an individual property assessment. That can create a situation where rates drop but the tax bill climbs.

Property taxes are one of three primary revenue sources for the city, along with sales taxes and taxes paid on utilities. As might be expected, due to the ongoing boom in home-building, all three have “shown signs of positive economic activity,” according to text found within the city’s preliminary budget.

When the city’s property tax rate is calculated, a starting point is the overall assessed “market value” of the city – a figure determined by the King County Assessor’s Office. For 2020, the preliminary number passed down from Seattle is a bit more than $1.66 billion. That continues an upward trend that mirrors the economic boom being experienced throughout the Puget Sound region.

The city’s assessed value for the coming year is about $94 million more that the value applied in 2019. And that assessment was roughly $152 million greater than the figure for 2018.

As the city conducts the municipal math, other factors come into play before it’s determined what local land owners will pay in 2020. Impacting the city’s allowed assessment are tax rates connected to the local fire district and the King County Library System, along with a state mandate that rates cannot climb beyond a certain point.

There was a time when Washington’s cities and towns could increase property taxes by 6 percent every year, an opportunity many jurisdictions took. But, in November 2001, the state’s voters revolted and approved Initiative 747, which capped the maximum levy increase at either 1 percent or the Implicit Price Deflator, whichever was less.

As a separate part of the process, cities can add the value of new construction to their overall value. In Enumclaw’s case, this amounts to about $82 million this time around, again reflecting the upward swing since the close of the last recession. Levy rates assessed by the local fire department and King County Library System also play a role in the calculations.

SO, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR TAXPAYERS?

Tax rates are figured, and assessed, it terms of dollars per $1,000 of assessed property value.

After calculating everything, the city arrived at a 2020 levy rate of $1.30. That represents a slight decrease from the 2019 rate of $1.33 and a noticeable drop from 2018, when the rate was $1.42.

Putting those numbers into real-world terms shows this: on property (home and land) assessed at $400,000, the tax bill in 2020 will be $520; using the same property value, the bill was $532 this year and $568 in 2018.

But, again, that doesn’t necessarily mean tax bills will decrease. Property values are on the rise, which impacts the math. A lower rate, but increased assessment, can result in a greater tax burden.

CITY’S TAX IS JUST ONE OF MANY

The tax bill paid by property owners – whether shipped off in a lump sum or paid monthly as part of a mortgage payment – includes levies by 10 different taxing jurisdictions within Enumclaw. The levies are authorized by each of the jurisdictions’ governing bodies.

Those overall assessments are much greater that what Enumclaw collects. Like the city, the nine other entities count on property taxes to remain fiscally sound and conduct their public business.

When all are added together, the overall tax rate for the current year is $10.24, amounting to a property tax bill of $4,096 (using an assessed value of $400,000). That was a drop from the 2018 total assessment of $12.32, which brought a tax bill of $4,928.

Who gets a slice of the property-tax pie? Public education is the No. 1 recipient this year, with the Enumclaw School District getting a bit more than 28 percent of the total and the state taking nearly 26 percent for its school funding. After that, it’s the local fire district at 14 percent; the city with a 13 percent share; King County, 12 percent; the county library system at a bit more than 3 percent; and emergency medical services, 2.12 percent. Getting smaller portions of the total are the Port of Seattle and efforts toward flood protection and ferries.


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

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.

After a relatively quiet October, Enumclaw's November COVID cases are quickly rising. Screenshot courtesy King County
COVID cases on the rise

Enumclaw has topped more than 250 positive cases, many of them just from November alone.

In addition to traveling through Enumclaw and Buckley, Santa will also be at the Enumclaw Expo Center's Hometown Holiday Parade Dec. 4 - 6, in place of being a part of the normal Enumclaw holiday parade. File photo
Santa to visit Buckley, Enumclaw neighborhoods

Make sure you know when Old Saint Nick is traveling through your area Dec. 7 - 12.

Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org
Buckley budget includes money for streets, recreation projects

Residents can look forward to work being done on River Avenue and a new athletic court.

Enumclaw's decision making tree
ESD students will not return until January

Many teachers and parents saw flaws in the plan for students to return to school after Thanksgiving, just to have them go on winter holiday a few weeks later.

Sage Viniconis is a career performing artist in King County who’s been out of work and seeking creative outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy photo/Sage Viniconis
Puget Sound artists adapt creativity, and business sense, to pandemic

Artists Sunday is an online directory that connects artists across the county, state and nation.

Most Read