Aberdeen’s property values down, general levy goes up to compensate

The assessed value of property in Aberdeen is down 8 percent overall, according to figures Grays Harbor County Assessor Rick Hole shared with Aberdeen City Council on Wednesday night.

The assessed value of all the taxable property in Aberdeen dropped to $933,547,542. For budget planning purposes in order to set tax rates, the city had projected the total value at $1,013,274,621. In order to collect the same amount of money the City Council planned for when it passed a budget in December, the city’s share of the property tax levy will have to be adjusted upward from $2.72 per thousand dollars of assessed value to $2.95 per thousand of assessed value. So tax rates will increase, but most people will pay tax on less property (in terms of a dollar amount). Confused? For most people, the property tax they owe the city will be about the same.

By law, property owners may only be asked to pay up to $3.10 per thousand of assessed value in the general levy. Therefore, the city now has 15 cents leeway for any future increase, Finance Director Kathryn Skolrood said.

Additionally, property owners are also still paying off debt service on the South Side dike and Fire Department in an additional special tax levy, which was increased from six cents to seven cents per thousand dollars in assessed value. The special tax levy amount does not count toward the limit of $3.10 per thousand of assessed value in the general levy.

The total rate, with the general levy and special levies, will be $3.o2 per thousand in assessed value according to numbers supplied by Skolrood.

Grays Harbor County Commission President Frank Gordon, who attended the committee meeting, called the assessed value “false”and urged council members to tell property owners to appeal their new valuations. Gordon has been publicly feuding with Hole about software and delays in assessment of property around the county.

Earlier, Hole had warned that property in Aberdeen could be down by as much as 10 percent.

Property in Grays Harbor County had been assessed every four years until the state ordered that property be reassessed every year. Aberdeen’s property was assessed in 2013 for the first time since 2009. Another assessment will be conducted again this year.

Finance Committee Councilmember Jim Cook said it would be hard for property owners whose value was lowered to protest since they would likely pay less in tax.

Also last night, the council voted for the third and final time on two small rate hikes for garbage pickup and water rates. Outgoing Public Works Chairman Tim Alstrom asked each bill be amended to take effect on Feb. 1.

Average rates for the most popular garbage service (65 -gallon totes emptied every other week) will go up 23 cents a month, according to LeMay Enterprises.

Residential water increases will rise from $25.27 to $25.78 for up to 399 cubic feet of water per month, and from $30.96 to $31.58 per 400 1,299 cubic feet per month.

Commercial consumption will rise an additional 4 cents to 7 cents on amounts greater than 1,100 cubic feet per month.

Erin Hart, 360-537-3932, ehart@thedailyworld.com, Twitter: @DW_Erin


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