Mayor Dana Ralph. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Mayor Dana Ralph. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Kent mayor explains city portion just small part of property tax bill hike

Says 11% of bill goes to help pay for city services

Prior to getting involved in city of Kent government, Mayor Dana Ralph said she used to think most of her property tax bill paid for city services.

That’s part of the reason Ralph explained during the March 1 Kent City Council meeting that just 11% of the property taxes residents pay go to the city. Ralph felt compelled to say something after a headline on the Kent Reporter website said property taxes were up 12.9% this year in the city.

“That is a significant increase,” Ralph said. “I couldn’t help but reading the comments (on the story on Facebook) and felt it was worth an explanation.”

The median value of a home in Kent jumped to $467,000 in 2022, up from $395,000 in 2021, according to King County Assessor John Wilson.

Ralph said that means about $574 on that $5,292 bill will go to the city.

“That’s up from $523 last year, but in the grand scheme of the property tax bill it is a very small portion,” Ralph said.

The city’s Finance Department compiled a slide for Ralph about where property taxes go. Most of the taxes go toward schools, with 32% to local levy measures and 26% to statewide levies.

“More than half of your tax bill are voter approved levies,” Ralph said.

That includes 8% to the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority and smaller amounts to King County, Valley Medical Center, the King County Library System, Sound Transit and Emergency Medical Services.

Ralph said she felt it was important to take a few minutes to explain the bills that residents have received from King County, which collects the tax money and distributes it.

“Before I got involved in city government I was pretty sure that the city was the one taking all of my tax dollars and that’s how they were paying for services,” Ralph said. “Most folks don’t realize that just 11% comes back to the city of Kent.”

Ralph said she thinks it’s a pretty good deal for city residents.

“I’m pretty proud of the services that the city of Kent provides for that average of $574,” Ralph said.

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