Posts tagged: property tax
New property taxes are off the table for Spokane in the August primary and probably the rest of the year.
The Spokane City Council on Monday voted 5-0 against a proposal to ask voters to increase property taxes to help balance the budget. Spokane Mayor Mary Verner already had dismissed the idea and administrators said declining property values may make such a tax boost less helpful.
“It had no traction,” said Councilman Richard Rush. “There was a pretty good analysis that if we did, we wouldn't have anything to show for it given the current trend in property valuations.”
The Spokane City Council on Monday will decide if it will ask voters to approve a property tax increase to help balance the city’s budget next year.
At a meeting earlier this week, there appeared to be little, if any, support on the council for the tax proposal, and council members Nancy McLaughlin and Steve Corker argued that it should be pulled from the agenda. But other council members said they preferred to hold Monday’s hearing to hear from the public before making a final decision.
City administrators say there’s a $6.6 million deficit that must be dealt with to balance the 2012 budget. Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said earlier this month that she opposes asking voters for the higher property tax and prefers raising hotel taxes, diverting money from red light camera tickets and other measures to balance the budget.
Advocates of a property tax that would raise money for early-child learning, abuse prevention, treatment and other programs have submitted more than 12,600 signatures in support of placing the levy on the November ballot.
Supporters of the initiative, which is called the Spokane Children’s Investment Fund Levy for Families and Youth, collected 771 sheets of signatures that they turned in to the city clerk’s office on Thursday.
The issue needs 8,334 valid signatures to earn a public vote.
The Spokane City Council will vote on July 12 if it will place the idea on the ballot, ask the county election’s office to validate signatures first or declare it illegal.
The council usually orders a review by the election’s office when asked to consider an initiative.
The tax, which would raise $5 million annually, would cost the owner of a $100,000 property $35 a year.
Voters who cast ballots later in the election cycle that ended Tuesday were more likely to support the EMS levy on the ballot in Spokane and less likely in Spokane County Fire District No. 10.
Not that it matters too much: We already knew that both measures passed after the first round of counting on Tuesday.
After 3,500 more ballots were counted on Wednesday, support crept up in Spokane from 66.8 percent to 67.1 percent. It fell in District 10, which is surrounded by Airway Heights, from 69.3 percent to 69.1 percent.
Spokane County estimates that only 200 ballots more will be counted. That won’t happen until the day before results are certified on May 12.
Turnout for the election was just over 40 percent.
Out of the nearly 44,000 people who voted in Spokane, 23 people left their ballots blank. Four people voted yes and no, an act that disqualifies the ballot.