### Comment history

#### Letter: Now is not the time for a new bridge

The I-35 bridge in Minneapolis is 1200 feet long. The I-5 bridge is 3500 feet.

If the I-35 bridge cost was scaled up to meet the needed length to cross the Columbia, the revised cost would be about \$680 million.

Based on the Oct 2010 Columbian article, the new bridge is estiamted to cost between \$600 and \$818 million.

Sounds like the two bridges cost the same, when equally compared.

May 31, 2011 at 9:11 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

#### Property Taxes 101 is in session

sp: The numbers I gave you were for local levy votes.

The elections records are available for anyone running a campaign. Of course they don't say how you voted, but do tell if you voted in an election. They also tell if your ballot has been returned.

It is standard practice in campaigns to identify who has returned their ballot each day, versus those who have not, and campaigning appropriately. This is why the amount of elections materials you get in the mail drops dramatically within a day or two of returning your ballot.

May 30, 2011 at 10:03 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

#### Property Taxes 101 is in session

sp: The city of Vancouver's population is about 165,000 and there are about 77,000 voters. Let's assume the library employs 300 (a wild guess) and that 2/3's live in the election area. They would represent enough votes to move an election by about a quarter of a percentage point.

There are about 5400 employees for the Evergreen and Vancouver school districts. If you assume 2/3's live in the election area (this is very generous), they would represent enough votes to move an election by about 5 percentage points.

You guessed 80% "other votes" would be needed to defeat the proposal. That is a reasonable belief, but the math says if all the school employees voted for the tax, the "other votes" would need to be about 55%.

May 30, 2011 at 9:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

#### Property Taxes 101 is in session

Lou is correct. I looked at his tax bill from 2007 to now, not from 2006 to now. There was a significant increase in property tax in 2006.

I chose to not include 2006 because I can't see years before that in the on-line county system and 2006 stands out as unusual. I won't know what happened until the County Treasurer provides the information I have requested.

My intention was to point out what happened to his taxes over the time of this Great Recession when everyone has been struggling the most to pay for anything, taxes included.

Even including what I believe is an unusual year (2006), Lou's annual property tax has increased 1.1% annually for the last 6 years: 5.8% over six years. The consumer price index for Portland increased 9.7% over the same time.

... the nice thing about moving to Facebook is that once we post we are told when others post on that topic. My answer to Lou is late because, like many, I don't have the time to keep checking this article for updates to the comments.

May 30, 2011 at 8:59 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

#### Property Taxes 101 is in session

Thank you roger, I am glad I could add some value to this conversation.

I am who my name and picture portray: Jack Burkman, Vancouver City Councilmember Click on my picture and you will taken to my Columbian profile page which lists me as a Councilmember and contains my city email.

I've always been up front about who I am when posting. To ensure there is no confusion, I have updated the profile so it shows my whole name.

May 28, 2011 at 4:12 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

#### Property Taxes 101 is in session

sp: Initiative 747 says governments can collect a maximum of 1% more from the property tax plus whatever new taxes are approved by the voters, such as school bonds and levies.

I-747 went into effect in 2002. Before that taxes could rise more ... up to 6% I believe. If you want to predict the future, you might look at the change in your property tax from 2002 to now and calculate the annual percentage increase from there.

Your property value, relative to other property values may have you paying a greater share over time if your property appreciates faster than average. In my experience, that faster appreciation has been true for properties with views and with properties having larger lots.

Interestingly, my property tax has increased by 2.2% per year since 2005 (the last record I have). If I remove the voter approved taxes, my property tax has increased 0.36% per year since 2005. The consumer price index for the Portland area has gone up 2.0% per year over the same time frame. So I'm paying more for my annual taxes at about the same rate as the rest of my expenses have been going up, even including the voter approved taxes.

I am mostly retired and I think that rate of increase is not too bad for living in an urban area.

May 28, 2011 at 12:08 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

#### Property Taxes 101 is in session

I plan on participating more when you make the move to Facebook, Lou. That is a very constructive move on the Columbian's part. While not perfect, it's a great step forward in encouraging positive conversations.

May 28, 2011 at 11:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

#### Property Taxes 101 is in session

sp: We do have a system that's hard to explain. Looking at assessed value doesn't tell homeowners what their tax will be. This is one of the most common discussions I have with people.

fiscaltiger; The fairness comes from the fact that we pay our share of property taxes based on the percentage of total county real estate that we own. It's all based on a budget and not on how the market values the property.

chveman: If you want to know where your property tax goes, go to http://www.clark.wa.gov/treasurer/pro... Put in your address, then go to the tab labeled 'taxes'. From there, click on 'tax distribution' in the middle of the page. That lists the breakdown of who gets each piece of your property tax payment.

May 28, 2011 at 9:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

#### Property Taxes 101 is in session

sp: the mill rate is calculated, not set.

By that I mean the governments submit their budgets for the property tax and their budgets can't increase by more than 1% (per Initiative 747) plus any voter approved increases. That total budget number is divided by the total property value in the county to determine the mill rate and that rate can move a lot.

For example, my mill rate in 2011 is 13.28 and in 2011 it was 11.59

May 28, 2011 at 9:02 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

#### Property Taxes 101 is in session

chveman: Sorry, but what you are saying is not correct.

In this state the taxes are not a percentage of the property value.

The property values are only used to determine your share of the total county/city taxes collected. It's based on how much of the county you own.

If all the property values in the county doubled or fell 50%, the individual property tax bills would not change. Government would get no more or less.

So, when property values jump, as they did a few years ago, government doesn't get a windfall.

When the values drop, like they have recently, government revenue doesn't get slashed.

May 28, 2011 at 8:40 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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