Big property tax increase in Edmonds on the way

Edmonds School District taking the biggest chunk
By Brian Soergel | Feb 02, 2018
Courtesy of: City of Edmonds

Edmonds homeowners will see a significant increase in their property taxes in 2018 – an average of nearly $800 – mostly due to changes in education funding.

According to the Snohomish County Assessor’s Office, the increase is 16.5 percent, based on an average residential home value of $527,900 for 2017, up from $474,800 in 2016.

Tax statements will be mailed beginning Feb. 14.

The average property tax bill in Edmonds is $5,625, up from $4,830 in 2017, or $795. This increase is primarily due to property tax increases for schools, which account for about 16.25 percent of the overall increase.

This year’s increase includes a property tax bump of 1 percent approved by the Edmonds City Council in November, in addition to an emergency medical services property tax increase of 1 percent.

Edmonds’ revenues come primarily from property, sales and utility taxes.

Why the big chunk for schools?

First, a reminder: In December, the Edmonds School District board of directors unanimously approved placing a school programs and operations levy before voters in a special election Feb. 13.

The district says Proposition 1, which requires a simple majority to pass, would authorize the district to replace an expiring levy for support of its general fund’s educational and operations expenses that aren’t funded by the state.

The levy collection would average $62.75 million per year for each of the next four years, 2019 through 2022.

The district is looking to put a replacement technology levy on the ballot in 2020, as well as a construction bond the same year.

Now, the explanation for the property tax increase as it relates to schools: In 2017, the Legislature passed a bill partly in response to the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. The court found that the state was not meeting its constitutional requirement to fully fund basic education.

The bill has several components, and at least two will impact your tax bill now and in the future.

First, the bill created a second portion to the state school levy, with collection beginning in 2018. The new second portion increases the combined rate by $0.82 per $1,000 in assessed value from last year, resulting in an increase in your tax bill.

The first portion is $1.84, and the second portion is $1.01 for a total rate of $2.85 per $1,000 in assessed value. The average Snohomish County residential property owner with an assessed value of $335,800 would have paid $682 to the state school levy in 2017, while in 2018 that owner with an assessed value of $377,600 will pay $1,076.

The State Department of Revenue calculates the portion Snohomish County property owners will be responsible for. The Assessor’s Office calculates the rate.

Second, beginning in 2019, the bill imposes limitations on how much can be collected in local school enrichment levies, and limits the levy to the lesser of $1.50 levy rate or $2,500 per pupil, to be increased by inflation.

This change affects both existing and new local school levies. Depending on what the current Edmonds School District levy is and what is voted on in the meantime, that portion of your property tax may decrease in 2019.

The Jan. 1, 2017, revaluation assessment date (or July 31, 2017, for new construction) is set using sales that occurred before those dates, and is used to determine the amount of taxes owing in 2018.

Snohomish County voters supported for the majority of the 2018 tax increases in prior ballot initiatives. Those increases appear on 2018 property tax statements. Included is a Regional Transit Authority tax for Sound Transit 3 of 22.8 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, $4.76 for Edmonds School District.

The levy rates calculated for taxing districts generally decreased as a result of higher assessed values. However, levy rates did increase overall due to the increase in the state school levy and voter-approved measures. The typical levy rate in 2017 was $11.1966 per $1,000 of assessed value. The 2018 typical levy rate increased to $11.5468.

The total taxable assessed value increased from $105 billion in 2017 to $118 billion in 2018 for tax purposes.

Property taxes to be collected this year by all taxing districts in Snohomish County will show an overall 16.26 percent increase over last year. Property taxes for all purposes will total $1.366 billion in 2018, up $191 million over 2017’s $1.175 billion that was levied for all taxing districts. The new second portion of the state school levy contributed to the increase over last year by more than $118 million or 10.06 percent.

The Snohomish County Assessor’s office is responsible for annually updating the assessed values for all locally assessed real and personal property in Snohomish County and calculating the levy rates for all taxing districts for property tax purposes.



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