Kennewick council approves property tax increase

Tri-City Herald Staff WriterNovember 19, 2013 

— Kennewick property owners will pay a few dollars more next year to cover the cost of the city’s three newest police officers.

The Kennewick City Council unanimously approved Tuesday taking a 1 percent increase to the total amount of property tax revenue collected next year.

That will put the 2014 property tax levy rate at $2.14 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of about 2 cents per $1,000 from this year’s rate.

For the owner of a $150,000 home, the city’s regular property tax levy rate will cost $320 next year, up by $1.82 compared to this year, said Dan Legard, Kennewick’s finance manager.

Kennewick’s total property tax revenue increased in 2013 based on a 2012 decision by Kennewick City Council to use the additional money to fund three police officer positions that have been hired this year. Those positions have allowed the city to target gang activity.

The Kennewick Police Department now has 93 commissioned officers, the first time the department has been fully staffed since 2004. Those three more patrol officers have meant that the police department no longer has to pull from the Criminal Apprehension Team, which focuses on criminal gang activity, for regular city patrols, according to officials.

The city expects to collect about $11.4 million in property tax revenue next year, Legard said. That includes about $112,000 from the 1 percent increase over 2013’s property tax collections, as well as nearly $290,000 from new construction, according to city documents. State law limits the growth of property tax revenue to 1 percent and new construction.

The city’s assessed value for next year is projected to be about $5.4 billion, a growth of more than $152 million, Legard said. The levy will be confirmed with Benton County in January.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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