City of Spokane residents will see their property taxes increase in 2021.
The Spokane City Council approved a 1% increase in property taxes in 2021 on Monday.
The property tax increase is the largest allowed under state law and comes as no surprise as the city looks to balance its 2021 budget.
The city’s revenues have fallen sharply in 2020 due to the coronavirus, largely because of a decline in sales taxes collected by the city. Though sales taxes have shown signs of recovery in recent months, they’re still projected to be below pre-pandemic levels in 2021.
Mayor Nadine Woodward introduced a $989 million budget proposal for 2021 last week that reduced overall city spending, but leans on the use of $1.7 million in reserves to avoid layoffs and steep cuts to city services.
The mayor’s proposal does not fund night-by-night homeless shelters, which the Woodward administration hopes to fund in coordination with Spokane County and Spokane Valley.
If the council decides to fund shelters, it could be forced to pull additional money from reserves.
In previous years, the city has dedicated the proceeds from its 1% property tax increase toward the purchase of new public safety vehicles. Given the current economic climate, Council President Breean Beggs said at a news conference last week that the council will have to decide whether it wants to take the same approach this year.
Councilman Michael Cathcart was the only member to vote against the property tax increase.
The City Council is expected to continue negotiations in the coming weeks and vote on a final 2021 spending plan in December.
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