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Tax rate to increase on Mercer Island

By Wendy Giroux

While the property tax rate in King County as a whole increased 4.16 percent over 2004, Mercer Island's overall tax rate increased only 1.27 percent.

King County voters approved a record number of levy lid-lifts -- and property taxes approved by voters went up 4.49 percent.

``The increasing reliance on voted property taxes by taxing districts is a continuing trend and is accelerating,'' King County Assessor Scott Noble said.

King County's overall tax rate has been increasing steadily: Up 4.1 percent in 2004, and up 4.9 percent in 2003.

While total assessed property value on Mercer Island went up 1.42 percent, the average price of homes sold is up 20 percent from last year. As a result, total taxes collected in 2005 will decrease from $13.88 million to $13.56 million. That means the average Mercer Island homeowner -- with a residence assessed at about $824,300 -- will pay about $7,095 this year, according to the assessor's office.

Island homeowners will pay out a total $1.23 million on the four-year, $4.79 million capital projects and technology levy for the Mercer Island School District, which voters approved last February.

A property tax bill can be broken down into taxes assessed by the state, King County, the Port of Seattle, emergency medical services, the library system, cities and school districts. While Mercer Island has a single taxing district, some communities have as many as 17 tax districts.

The highest increase for 2005 is Evergreen Hospital District No. 2, where voters will see a levy increase of 83.7 percent due to a $120 million voter-approved bond. Fifteen taxing districts will see a levy increase of more than 10 percent, according to a report from the assessor's office.

To learn more about property taxes, visit the city's Web site at www.ci.mercer-island.wa.us and click on ``Finance Department,'' or visit the county's Web site at www.metrokc.gov and click on ``Assessor.''

Mercer Island total assessed property value

  • 2005: $6.36 billion
  • 2004: $6.35 billion
  • 2003: $6.28 billion
  • 2002: $5.70 billion
  • 2001: $5.01 billion
  • 2000: $4.23 billion
  • 1999: $3.83 billion
  • 1998: $3.29 billion
  • 1997: $2.95 billion

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