Everett interested in levy lid lift tax measure
Could be on November ballots, if City Council agrees
EVERETT — Mayor Cassie Franklin’s request to ask voters for a property tax levy lid lift to help sustain the city’s budget is starting its journey through City Council.
The measure could be on November ballots under a suggested timeline released last week. The City Council will be asked this summer to approve putting it on the ballot.
A lift asks to raise the city property tax by more than the annual state limit of a 1% increase. The council would decide how much of a lift above 1% to ask.
Franklin’s call for one is driven by the city’s ongoing structural deficit, where the cost of running the city is more than the overall revenue it collects.
Franklin announced she’d request the levy lid lift last fall. Saying in last year’s annual budget address that the city has nothing more to cut, “to balance future budgets, we have to look at other options,” Franklin said. “I believe it’s time to allow voters to weigh in on which services and at what level they are willing to support before we propose more cuts in future budgets. Everett residents should have a direct voice in these decisions.”
The city fixed its structural deficit for 2022’s budget by using carryover money not spent in 2020 after making numerous budget cuts.
The city’s property tax rate this year is $1.77 per $1,000 in assessed property value and is expected to collect $39 million.
The statutory limit for a city’s maximum property tax rate is $3.37 per $1,000.
The council’s finance committee of Council President Brenda Stonecipher, Councilwoman Judy Tuohy and Councilman Don Schwab plans to discuss the levy lid lift frequently this spring. Its next meeting is April 6.
The city finance department is preparing two budget scenarios: One if the levy lid lift passes, and one showing what will need to be cut if the measure fails or is never put to voters. The committee wants to see what’s at stake.
2022’s overall property tax rate for someone living in north or central Everett is $9.15 per $1,000 when adding in Everett School District, the port, state taxes and other taxes. City taxes represent about one-fifth of a person’s property tax bill.
Passing a levy lid lift requires a simple majority of 50%.
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