Everett voters to decide on property tax increase to plug $35M budget hole



(The Center Square) – Everett voters will decide on a property tax increase this August to address a projected $35 million budget deficit.

The Everett City Council approved a resolution last week that would add the proposed property tax increase to the Aug. 6 ballot for “funding for quality of life and essential public services.” This includes funding public safety, park maintenance, libraries, and street maintenance, among other areas of need.

However, according to a press release from the City of Everett, the levy would help address its ongoing budget deficit. For over 20 years, the city has faced a structural deficit, which the city primarily blames on the 1% cap on property tax increases the state enforces.

Everett’s deficit is projected to be $12.6 million in 2025 with potential to grow to more than $35 million.

Proposition 1 would increase Everett’s current levy rate to a rate of $2.19 per $1,000 of assessed value. This would translate to an increase of approximately $0.67 per $1,000 over the 2024 levy rate.

That translates into a someone with a $647,600 home in Everett paying $118 per month toward the levy, or $1,418 per year, if approved by voters.

“This ballot measure is critical for sustaining our quality of life here in Everett – providing much needed funding for our essential public service,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said in a statement.

Funding would specifically prioritize police and fire services, options to re-open the city’s Forest Park pool, and expand library hours.

Everett officials stated that if the levy proposal is rejected, further cuts to essential services provided by the city.

The city’s structural deficit caused the city to cut nearly all of its recreation programs since 2018, including lifeguards at Silver Lake, the public swim center, the petting zoo and the Bookmobile.

A number of cities and municipalities in the state are facing budget deficits. Seattle, Washington’s largest city, is facing a projected $245 million budget deficit. The city has already cut library hours and implemented a hiring freeze.

In Spokane, Washington’s second largest city, officials are pushing for an approval of a $40 million annual tax levy being presented to Spokane voters in August. Funds from the levy would go toward addressing the city’s $50 million budget deficit.

Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown said if the levy is rejected, administration would have to lay off around 200 people.

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