Kirkland Council Holds Public Hearings on Property and Fire District 41 Tax Levy; Mid-Year Adjustment to Budget

Public invited to give comment at November 15 meeting, 7:30 p.m.

 

On November 15, 2011, the Kirkland City Council will hold three public hearings for the purpose of receiving public comment on the proposed property tax levies and the proposed amendment to the 2011-2012 Biennial Budget. One hearing will be held for the regular property tax levy that applies to the entire City and an excess levy for voted debt that applies within the pre-annexation boundary. A separate hearing will occur for a debt service levy for properties in the recently-annexed area previously served by King County Fire Protection District 41 (Fire District 41). A third hearing will be held on proposed amendments to the 2011-2012 Biennial Budget. The hearings will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at Kirkland City Hall, Council Chambers, 123 5th Avenue. Public comment will be received at the beginning of each hearing. To view the staff memos to the City Council after November 11, go to www.kirklandwa.gov/council and select “Agendas.”

 

Property Tax Levy Hearings

State law requires that the City Council set, by ordinance, the property tax levy each year once property assessment data is received from King County. The property tax levy is the total dollars in property tax revenue the City of Kirkland collects in a year, which by law can only increase by one percent plus an allowance for the increased value of new construction.

 

The deadline to set the 2012 levy is December 2, 2011 but Kirkland will not receive final figures from King County needed to set the levy in time to meet that deadline. For this reason, the Council will adopt an interim ordinance that sets preliminary property and Fire District tax levies at a maximum amount the City could possibly receive in 2012. The final levy will then be adjusted downward to its actual amount at the December 12, 2011 Council meeting after final levy information is received.

 

The 2012 levy will be the first year that the City will levy property taxes in the newly annexed areas. The City’s levy will replace King County’s road levy. The City’s tax levy will increase up to 46 percent from 2011 due to the annexation of the Finn Hill, North Juanita, and Kingsgate areas. In addition, a one percent increase per year is allowed to reflect inflation.

 

When the annexation of the Finn Hill, North Juanita, and Kingsgate areas into the City became effective on June 1, 2011, the City Council became the governing body for Fire District 41, which served a majority of the annexation area. Before the annexation became effective, the District commissioners issued $4 million in bonds to consolidate two existing fire stations in the Finn Hill neighborhood into a single fire station, which had been a long standing goal of Fire District 41. The City Council, as the current governing body, has the authority to levy taxes to pay debt service on the proposed consolidated fire station. The proposed Fire District debt service property tax levy for 2012 is $480,176. The fire station-related levy will only apply to the properties within the area previously served by Fire District 41. The City is undertaking an analysis of site options for the station consolidation with the assistance of a consultant. The site analysis will include a public outreach element.

 

The City Council will hold separate public hearings on the preliminary property tax levy and on the preliminary Fire District 41 debt service levy.

 

2011-2012 Mid-Biennial Budget Public Hearing

In December 2010, the City Council adopted the 2011-2012 Biennial Budget which set the types and levels of service to be provided for the coming two years.   On November 1, 2011 the City Council held a Study Session to review proposed amendments to the adopted 2011-2011 Biennial Budget. This review is required by State law and must be completed after September 1 and before December 31 during the first year of the biennium. To review the staff memo, including proposed budget adjustments, and to stream the Study Session, go to www.kirklandwa.gov/ondemand and select “November 1, 2011.”

 

Revenue shortfalls in General Fund collections are expected in the remainder of 2011 and to continue in 2012. These shortfalls are due to timing variances in revenue collection from the annexation area as well as the continued weakness in the economy.   The City is experiencing, and expects to continue to experience, shortfalls in utility tax, business license fees, development services and fines and forfeitures revenues. However, the estimated 2011 revenue shortfall is completely off-set by the under-expenditures by all City departments which will also help to offset expected revenue shortfalls in 2012. The proposed budget adjustment also provides for changes to the budget to account for items not anticipated in the original budget such as the receipt of new grants.

 

To receive City Council Agendas via email, go to www.kirklandwa.gov/E-Bulletins and select “City Council Agendas.” To submit comments regarding any of the Public Hearings, please email citycouncil@kirklandwa.gov.