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Property taxes rise
SNOQUALMIE - Snoqualmie residents got a rude surprise last
week when King County Assessor Scott Noble released this year's property
tax increase figures. There at the bottom of the page, the document stated
that the city's valuations for property had increased 47.5 percent over 1999.
At first glance that indicated taxes were going to go up by a like
amount, and as a result the phone started ringing off the hook at the Snoqualmie
city administration offices, according to City Clerk Jodi Warren. An
untold number of residents called to express their concerns, outrage and
frustration over the possibility of their taxes going up almost 50 percent.
However, as the saying goes, "it ain't so."
Noble stressed this in a phone conversation with the Valley Record
on Friday. He said the rise in valuation in the city was a direct result of the
construction of a large number of new, expensive houses at
Snoqualmie Ridge, which he characterized as "massive."
"There was $56 million in new construction value in the city,"
Noble advised. "Snoqualmie's assessed value last year totaled $194
million. In 2000, that's increased to $313 million."
He added the typical levy rate for Snoqualmie has declined from
$14.30 per thousand in 1999 to $13.38 in 2000. Therefore, the average
taxpayer will not see anything approaching a 47.5 percent increase in their tax bill.
"We sure do not want to terrify anybody with something that
isn't going to come to pass," Noble concluded.
Still, at Monday night's city council meeting, Snoqualmie Mayor
R. "Fuzzy" Fletcher felt obliged to
speak to his constituents and repeat the message: community homeowners'
taxes are not going through the roof this year.
Fletcher reminded the audience that the city of Snoqualmie and all
cities in Washington were limited to a 6-percent increase over the
previous year's tax levy. Referring to this year's typical levy rate of $13.38, he
said, "Overall, the property tax levy rate is lower than it's been in the last
Fletcher added the city expects to receive $838,000 in taxes in 2000,
a large part of which will come from new construction
According to the assessor's office, property owners throughout
the Snoqualmie Valley School District will see an average increase of
7.64 percent, while Riverview School District residents will see an average
increase of 4.32 percent. Among specific communities, Duvall average
valuations increased from $194,800 in 1999 to $212,000 in 2000, for an
average tax increase of 3.6 percent; in North Bend, valuations rose from
$199,500 in 1999 to $216,500 in 2000, for an average tax increase of 2.9
percent; and in Carnation, average valuations rose from $156,000 in 1999
to $172,000. However, the levy rate declined from $15.37 per thousand
to $13.75, so residents should see an average decrease of 1.4 percent.
According to Noble, countywide the average property tax bill for
2000 will see an increase of 7.4 percent, down from last year's 11.6
percent average increase. Total property taxes for all purposes are expected to
be $2.09 billion in 2000, up 7.4 percent over 1999's $1.95 billion.
The assessor reported one major reason for tax growth in 2000 was
the choice by more taxing districts to levy the maximum allowable. He added
the decision to levy the maximum rate reversed a four-year trend by
King County communities. Only a handful of districts cited I-695 in their
levy ordinances as a factor in the decision to take the maximum tax amount.