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Port makes it official; taxes going down next year

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Nov. 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm with No Comments »
November 15, 2012 2:23 pm

The taxes Pierce County residents pay the Port of Tacoma are going down next year.

But don’t think you’ll be able to buy a new big-screen TV with the savings. The average Pierce County homeowner is expected to realize a savings of just $4.79 in 2013 on port taxes.

That savings is a result of the Port of Tacoma Commission’s vote Thursday to keep the port’s tax rate frozen at 2012 levels next year and the decline in the assessed value of the average Pierce County home

The port commission set the tax rate at 18.365 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value, the same rate as in 2012 and 2011. but the assessed value of the average Pierce County home is expected to drop from $240,830 this year to $214,247 in 2013, thus the savings.

While the commission’s action provide a small bit of relief to homeowners, the decline in real estate values will mean a loss of more than $1 million for the port.

The port uses the proceeds of the tax to pay off general obligation bonds and to fund port capital and environmental projects. The declining tax revenues have meant there is a smaller amount each year to spend on capital projects. Bond repayments in 2011 consumed 77 percent of the tax funds. This year bond repayments cost 82 percent of tax revenues. Next year, repaying t general obligation bonds will consume 89 percent of tax payments.

Port taxes are among the least levied by governments in the county. Port taxes amount to just 1.3 percent of the total property tax collections in the county. Next year, the port estimates the average homeowner will pay $39.35 in port taxes. That’s down from $47.45 in 2011.

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