LETTER | Truth be Told about Kirkland Council’s 2005 Property Tax Vote

No one likes taxes. It’s worse when statistics about taxes are presented without context or facts.

Toby Nixon says that Councilmember Greenway voted for an 8.86% property tax increase in 2005. He said it in a comment posted recently on Kirkland Views and at the Chamber/Rotary candidate forum on October 3. That sounds outrageous, doesn’t it? However, it’s not a complete or fair portrayal of what really occurred.

Mr. Nixon has plucked the “8.86%” out of the City’s Ordinance 4025 in a reference to the Council’s approval of a provision known as “banked capacity.” The Council did this to fund 13 new public safety positions, including a 5-person “proactive unit” for the Police Department and an additional medical aid unit at the Juanita/Totem Lake fire station.

However, the City Council’s vote on property taxes didn’t increase the taxes on your home by 8.86%. Instead, they approved a total millage increase for the City’s portion of the tax – including the banked capacity – from $1.305 to $1.322, an increase of 1.7 cents.

For example, this means the City Council’s 2005 vote increased the annual tax on a $400,000 home by $6.80 per year. Yes, that’s right, less than $10 per year. If that same property appreciated in value by $36,000 between the two years (consistent with the County average % increase), the total increase in tax approved by Council  – including the increase due to the appreciation in the property – was $54.39 per year. That’s nowhere near an 8.86% tax increase and a small price to pay for the investment in public safety which benefits residents and businesses - and a 6-1 Council majority agreed.

So if someone tells you that Greenway increased your property taxes by 8.86%, now you know what actually happened, the actual cost and the resulting benefits.

I want our elected officials to tell the truth about taxes and finances while protecting public safety. That is Jessica Greenway through and through – and among the many reasons why it is important for her to be re-elected this November.

The Greenway campaign has opened up a new section on their website called “Truth Be Told.” As we hear or see comments that are out of context, missing relevant data or just downright incorrect, we will present the facts on our website.  We hope that campaigning will be transparent, truthful and positive so that there will be very few postings on this part of the website. In fact, it would be excellent if our posting about this property tax issue is both the first and the last item to appear in that section of the website.

 

Bea Nahon, CPA, and campaign Treasurer for Kirkland for Greenway

Kirkland, WA