Vancouver city council moves to boost tax by 1%

Hike will get public hearing, vote at Dec. 5 meeting




Vancouver is poised to vote on a 1 percent increase in property taxes for those within the city limits.

The city council on Monday night unanimously approved without comment sending the 1 percent increase — the maximum allowed under state law — for a final reading, public hearing and vote on Dec. 5.

The 1 percent property tax increase is one that the city council has approved every year since 2001, except in 2009. In 2012, the city expects to collect more than $40.5 million in property taxes, which go into the general fund for police, fire, parks and other services.

Clark County and the Fort Vancouver Regional Library system, among others, also have the ability to raise their tax rate by 1 percent each year.

The tax increase would bring in an additional $402,138 to Vancouver. The 2011-2012 budget already includes this money, city budget officials said.

The owner of a $200,000 home can expect to pay a city property tax bill of about $592 next year, or $2.96 per $1,000 of assessed value, budget estimates show. That total does not include taxes paid to fund services such as schools and libraries.

But it’s not all financial gain next year — taxes from new construction are expected to be down. The Clark County Assessor’s Office shows that the city can expect $177,000 in additional property tax money from new construction in 2012; that’s $31,119 less than the $208,119 it received in new construction this year.

One percent is the maximum increase allowed under 2001’s Initiative 747, which limits property tax increases to 1 percent or the inflation rate, whichever is lower. This year, inflation is expected to be about 2.755 percent, city treasurer Carrie Lewellen said in a staff report.

If there is deflation, a city council can declare an “emergency need” for the increase and raise the tax by 1 percent. In December 2009, with a projected deflation rate of 0.848 percent, the city council narrowly declined to pass any increase, which would have raised $340,000.

Andrea Damewood: 360-735-4542 or or or