Enumclaw City Council Opts Out of 1 Percent Property Tax Increase for 2013

A homeowner with a home assessed at $250,000 would still see a tax increase of about $20 for the year thanks to revenue collected in new construction from 2012, as allowed by state law.

The Enumclaw City Council voted Monday to forego an allowed 1 percent increase in property tax revenue collected for 2013 and instead to bank that capacity in the event it is needed later.

The 1 percent, amounting to about $13,415, was not essential for city operations in 2013, said city administration, and Council concurred there was no need to pass a tax increase onto citizens if it wasn't necessary.

Instead, that 1 percent was totaled in the city's total banked capacity of $514,781 that was also approved by Council Monday. According to a staff memo from Finance Director Stephanie McKenzie, local governments can choose to levy less than the maximum and then 'bank' the difference for later -- meaning they could still levy higher taxes if deemed necessary.

For 2013, Enumclaw's maximum allowed levy was $1,859,018. The Council approved a levy amount of $1,344,237, leaving a banked capacity of $514,781. By law, Council does not need to go to taxpayers to approve a tax increase if banked capacity were being used, but an advisory vote on the issue would be prudent.

Though the 1 percent tax increase was nixed, there is still a 0.2 percent increase in the 2013 levy over 2012 due to new construction, in the amount of $2,765. That translates roughly into a $20 increase in yearly tax for a home assessed at $250,000.

In Other News:

2013 Budget: Council heard the first reading of the 2013 budget after four public workshops (Workshop 1 | Workshop 2 | Workshop 3 | Workshop 4) took place in the last few weeks. Councilman Chance LaFleur put two motions to the group to remove $40,000 earmarked for window restoration at the Expo Center and to add $50,000 in anticipated rental and lease charges. The expectation was they would help close the revenue/expenditure gap quicker and set a higher performance bar to generate quicker revenues. Both motions tied 3-3 but because the Mayor could not break tie votes in issues related to finances, the motions failed.

Moment of Silence: Council honored fellow Councilmember Kevin Mahelona who passed away this month with a moment of silence. The remaining six members agreed to have city administration put out a public call for those who are interested in filling the position vacated by Mahelona's passing. The process of choosing a replacement for the rest of the term (the year 2013) is expected to begin in January 2013.


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