Letter to the Editor: Tax Savings and Allocations Explained

While Paige McCormick’s letter and spirit of community fairness is much appreciated, the assessment/taxing ratio is a little more complicated. Yes, assessments have gone down, the amount of revenue you will be paying (in general) will stay the same. Great explanation from the County Assessor, posted yesterday in sanjuanislander.com/san-juan-county-assessor which I’ve edited a bit to highlight references to Orcas:

Does the decrease in overall property value decrease the amount of tax revenue the county, libraries, fire districts, schools, etc. receive?. Washington State set up our state’s system with the belief consistent services needed consistent revenue.

When the property values change – either up or down – the rate changes accordingly.

Taxing districts do not receive more tax revenue when property values go up. On the flip side taxing districts do not receive less tax revenue when property values go down. The tax rates are adjusted to produce the same amount of revenue.

To be simplistic, the average Orcas property owner’s property value went down 31%. The average tax bill will go up 31% in order for the schools, libraries, county, fire districts etc. to continue to operate as budgeted.

Orcas Park and Rec is an exception. Orcas Park and Rec’s levy specified a 9 cent per thousand levy and therefore will receive 31% less than they expected.

By Janet Brownell

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