By Richard Van Winkle, News of Mill Creek.
The Mill Creek City Council sets the next year’s property tax and EMS levies in November of each year.
In November 2018 they increased the EMS levy by 1% and left the property tax levy unchanged.
After a number of November budget discussions, the city council voted 6-1 to increase the property tax. levy and 7-0 to increase the EMS levy by 1% for 2020 as recommended by City Manager Michael Ciaravino at their November 26, 2019, meeting.
Interim Finance Director Dunford said that although the city’s revenues are running higher than was budgeted, expenses are also expected to be higher mainly because of the addition of a number of staff positions that will most likely be approved by the city council next month.
She told the city council that according to her conservative financial projections, even with small, incremental property tax increases a budget deficit would most likely develop.
A majority of the city council went along with her analysis, but Councilmember Vince Cavaleri was not convinced.
He said he was optimistic that sales tax revenue would increase more than anticipated and believed a property tax increase wasn’t necessary. He was the lone “no” vote on the property tax levy.
Dunford told the city council next year’s tax increases will generate approximately $80,000 of additional revenue and will cost property owners $1.79 per $100,000 of property valuation. This works out to $8.95 of additional taxes for a house valued at $500,000.
According to a City of Mill Creek news release, “Currently, the combined property and EMS levies total $8.2 million and provide approximately 56% of the city’s general fund revenue. Less than 20% of the property tax assessed on Mill Creek residents goes to the city. The bulk goes to Everett School District, State of Washington, Snohomish County, Sno-Isle Libraries, and the Transit Authority.”
Projected Mill Creek general fund financial deficit over six years. Image courtesy of City of Mill Creek.