Decline in Island property values blunts tax increases

The King County Assessor’s office has mailed the 2011 property assessments and levy rates to county residents. Most Islanders will find them in their mailboxes this week.

The majority of Mercer Island homeowners will find that the assessed value of their property has dropped over four percent from a year ago.

Taxes to be paid in 2012 are based on the 2011 assessed property value.

The average median assessed value for residential properties on the Island fell to $700,000 for 2011, down from $732,000 in 2010. The change represents the second year values have declined more than four percent here. The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value increased by 5.8 percent. But Islanders will not see a significant impact to their tax bills. Taxes will only increase 1.2 percent for the 2012 tax year for an average of $76.

The 2012 tax levy rate per $1,000 in assessed value is set at $9.07 for 2012, up from $8.57 in 2011. The largest portion, or over 60 percent, of the levy rate is for schools: $2.522 for the state school fund and $2.28 for the Mercer Island School District. The existing Mercer Island School District portion will be retired over the next few years and would be replaced in part or in whole, for bonds authorized to be sold for new schools as is now proposed by the Mercer Island School Board.

King County services add $1.338 to the amount, followed by the City of Mercer Island at $1.244 and the King County library system with 55 cents per $1,000. The remaining amount or 63 cents is collected for Emergency Medical Services, the Port of Seattle, the county flood zone and the Ferry District combined.

According to King County Assessor, Lloyd Hara, Mercer Island held its own in terms of maintaining property values. The Island did better than many other parts of King County .

“Areas near job centers, such as Mercer Island, did well, Hara said simply. “Everything else has gone down.”

When the economy and employment recovers, property values will recover,” he said.


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