Lacey City Council on Thursday took another step toward finalizing its budget for 2016 by raising property taxes by 1 percent, a common step among local governments during budget season.
The city of Olympia took the same action earlier in the week. State law allows increases of up to 1 percent annually without a vote of the people.
The city expects to raise about $5.9 million in property taxes next year when taking into account the 1 percent increase, the value of new construction, the value of Lacey’s Hill-Betti annexation, and the value of a refund levy.
“The property tax is a significant source of revenue for the general fund, so the full 1 percent increase is needed to address increasing expenditure needs,” Finance Director Troy Woo said.
The total general fund budget is about $42 million, which is the portion of the budget that pays for city services. The total budget is $128 million.
As for the property tax levy rate for the general fund, Lacey property owners are set to pay $1.20 per $1,000 of assessed value. That is down from about $1.23 in 2015 because the assessed value of real estate has gone up about 4 percent in the past year.
But because of past voter-approved bonds and levies, the property tax levy rate for next year rises to $1.43 per $1,000 of assessed value. That’s still down from last year because of the increase in property values.
Based on the $1.43 rate, the owner of a single-family residence valued at $208,000 will pay about $298 in property taxes to the city of Lacey in 2016.
Don’t like what you’re paying in property taxes? Then show up and be heard, Councilman Jeff Gadman said Thursday.
“The single most important thing you could possibly do to affect your property taxes, one way or the other, is to show up at public budget hearings for the local jurisdictions,” he said. “That’s where you can make a difference.”
Thursday’s was the second of three budget-related public hearings, but so far no one has testified. The next public hearing is set for Dec. 3. The budget is expected to be adopted on Dec. 17. Lacey City Council meetings start at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 420 College St. SE.