North Bend City Hall. Courtesy of

North Bend passes on property tax increase

The North Bend City Council narrowly voted not to increase the amount of property taxes it collects at a Nov. 17 meeting.

In a 4-3 vote, the council decided not to impose a 1% increase in property taxes, which go to fund projects in the city. State law only allows municipalities to increase property taxes by 1% each year, although cities can bank it for use in the future.

North Bend, like others across the county, have taken a financial hit as businesses see a reduction in sales and subsequent sales tax revenue due to the pandemic and restrictions on gatherings. During a discussion on the measure, council member Alan Gothelf proposed no increase in this year’s property taxes.

“This is not the year to take it,” he said. “Everybody’s being impacted, specifically in this environment today.”

He noted that on average, a household in the city is paying some $7,000 a year in taxes.

However, other council members like Brenden Elwood said they supported using the 1% increase to benefit the community. He said he was recently driving down a road in town filled with potholes, and didn’t want to have to defend the neglect.

“Really, of all the taxes that we could pass, this one has the least amount of impact to a household,” he said.

The tax increase would have worked out to some $6 additional per month, and would have raised about $167,500 for the city. It’s a small increase, but adds meaningful value to the city, and could have been earmarked for certain improvements like street repair.

Mayor Rob McFarland supported increasing the tax rate as well, but does not have a vote on the council.

Council members Chris Garcia, Mary Miller, Jonathan Rosen and Alan Gothelf voted to reject the increase, while Ross Loudenback, Brenden Elwood and Heather Koellen supported it.

The current 2020 levy rate is set at $1.11 per $1,000 of assessed property value. A home priced at $608,000, the average home value in the city, would pay about $611 per year in city property taxes.

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