Correction: No Kent public hearing about property tax measure
By STEVE HUNTER
Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter
October 15, 2012 · Updated 11:03 AM
Editor's Note: This is a corrected version of an earlier story.
There is no public hearing before the Kent City Council about the Proposition 1 property tax levy lid lift measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The Kent Reporter published incorrect information in an earlier online version of this story as well as in the Oct. 12 print edition.
Residents can let the Kent City Council know what they think of a proposed business and occupation (B&O) tax during a public hearing about the proposed 2013-14 biennial budget. That public hearing is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16 in Council Chambers at City Hall during the council meeting.
The council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance to assess the new B&O tax during the new business part of the agenda at Tuesday's meeting.
There is a public hearing about the Property Tax Levy increase of 1 percent by the city. That is the amount of the increase allowed by state law each year with no public vote required
"The city is allowed every year to raise property taxes to the limit of 1 percent allowed by the state," said Michelle Wilmot, city community and public affairs manager.
The six-year levy lid lift that would be allowed if voters approve Proposition 1 would be an additional increase to help pay for street repairs and parks. Voters will decide on ballots that are mailed out Oct. 19 by the King County Elections office whether to approve the property tax increase.
If approved, Proposition 1 will raise approximately $29 million over the course of six years, beginning in 2013 and expiring in 2018. The city would allocate 23 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to parks and 14 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to streets.
Playgrounds, ballfields, trails, and other park amenities will be replaced, refurbished and improved, and 35 different neighborhood street projects will include improved pavement, sidewalks, disabled access and lighting.
The measure would authorize the city to collect an additional 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, bringing the regular property tax rate to $1.96 per $1,000 of assessed value. The estimated annual cost is an additional $111 for a home valued at $300,000, according to city officials.
Mayor Suzette Cooke presented her proposed budget to the council earlier this month, including a new B&O tax to raise about $6.9 million per year starting in 2013 and a 6 percent cable television utility tax to raise about $1.3 million.
“Revenues have declined, and costs, many of which are mandated and out of our control, keep going up," Cooke said to the council. "The budget includes both service reductions and new revenue sources. It incorporates efficiencies, maintains the public’s safety, and honors the City Council’s strategic goals. It diversifies our tax base and takes bold steps toward stabilizing our financial future."
Cooke proposed using about $4.2 million of the B&O tax to pay for street repairs, $500,000 to park facilities, $1 million to the capital improvement program and $1.2 million to the general fund.
The cable utility tax would raise about $1.3 million per year and help pay for information technology staff as well as computer hardware and software.
The mayor also plans to save $1.1 million in 2013 by cutting 20 jobs, including 12 vacant positions and eight layoffs. She would delay hiring two vacant police officer positions until mid-2013 to save $226,100.
Other public hearings at Tuesday's meeting include the 2013-18 Capital Improvement Plan (includes city streets and facility projects) and the Capital Facilities Plans for the Kent, Auburn, Highline and Federal Way School Districts for the city to adopt changes to school impact fees.
Contact Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter Steve Hunter at email@example.com or 253-872-6600, ext. 5052.