Homeowners might want to brace for some sticker shock when they open their property tax bills next month.
The tab is due to rise by 16 percent, on average, across Snohomish County. The bill for the average-valued home will go up by $600 compared to last year, hitting $4,360.
That’s according to numbers released Thursday by Snohomish County Assessor Linda Hjelle.
“I’m trying hard to get information out to the public so they’re aware of the changes and aware of the impact,” Hjelle said. “As soon as we got the numbers, I wanted to get them out to the public.”
Homeowners in Lake Stevens will see the biggest jump — 27.7 percent. Tax bills in three other cities will rise by 20 percent or more: Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Brier.
Lake Stevens’ increase in 2018 mainly owes to a school district construction bond voters passed two years earlier. A voter-approved lid lift for the local EMS levy also contributed.
The Edmonds School District accounts for a significant piece of the rise across southwest Snohomish County.
Lynnwood homeowners also will pay more for fire protection. Lynnwood’s fire department merged Oct. 1 with Fire District 1 to become South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue. That came after voters approved a ballot measure in August endorsing the change.
City officials initially calculated the move would save money. Lynnwood did cut its portion of the tax bill by 51 percent, as the city no longer runs the fire department. However, the regional fire authority now more than makes up for the city’s portion.
The most significant factor increasing property taxes for Mountlake Terrace homeowners was the city’s regular levy. The city was able to use banked capacity for levy increases it opted not to take in previous years.
The bills are typically mailed in mid-February. Half is due by the end of April, the other half by the end of October.
Countywide, the increase is being driven largely by changes in state education funding in response to the state Supreme Court ruling in the McCleary case. In Snohomish County, that means an extra 82 cents per $1,000 worth of assessed property value to pay for state education.
As part of the state changes, a cap on local levies is supposed to kick in for 2019. That should keep the combined state-local tax bill for education at or below 2017 levels for taxpayers in Everett, Mukilteo, Sultan and other districts, school officials in those areas say.
Average Tax Increase in Snohomish County
Average Tax Increase
By Noah Haglund