Pasco City Council agrees not to raise property taxes

By Michelle Dupler, Tri-City HeraldNovember 27, 2012 

The Pasco City Council voted unanimously Monday to balance the city's 2013 budget without raising property taxes.

The city will collect about $6.5 million in property taxes next year, up from $6.3 million in 2012. But because the increase comes from growth, the actual levy rate homeowners pay will drop slightly even as the city brings in more money.

With $99 million in new construction adding about $165,000 in property taxes to the city's coffers, the levy rate will drop from about $1.99 per $1,000 in assessed property value to $1.97, or a savings of about $4 per year on a $200,000 home.

New construction of $99 million will add about $165,000 in property taxes to the city's general fund in 2013, the council heard Monday. All property in the city adds up to a total assessed value of $3.3 billion.

A pair of charts presented to the council showed that Pasco's total assessed value has risen every year and more than doubled since 2004, when all property in the city was worth about $1.5 billion.

At the same time, the property tax levy rate has dropped from $2.66 per $1,000 in 2004 to about $2 in 2009.

The rate has been more or less steady in the last few years, with some small decreases.

The 2013 projections do not include the recently approved annexation of about 600 acres of land in the area of Franklin County known as the "doughnut hole."

The annexation goes into effect Jan. 1.

State law allows local governments to increase their tax collections by 1 percent per year.

If Pasco had taken that option, it would have added $63,000 to next year's revenues.

Instead, the council opted 6-1 to "bank" that levy capacity -- in essence saying it won't collect the taxes in 2013 but preserving the right to collect them in the future if the city gets into dire straits.

Councilman Tom Larsen was the only council member to vote no on preserving that levy capacity.

-- Michelle Dupler: 509-582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com

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