Battle Ground’s city council on Monday approved taking the 1 percent annual property tax rate increase allowed by state law.
The 6-1 vote will put the city’s 2023 rate at $1.07 per $1,000 of assessed value. The 1 percent increase raises the 2023 levy amount by $36,000 for a total levy of $3.69 million.
Without the 1 percent increase, the rate would have been $1.06 per $1,000 of assessed value. The 2022 property tax rate was $1.22.
“I support it. If we don’t take it now then we just end up … like the county, where you have to go out and ask the community for money,” Deputy Mayor Cherish DesRochers said during the meeting. “I don’t feel like we’re increasing the tax burden.”
DesRochers said voters would prefer the council do what they can now rather than continually asking for money later.
Councilor Shauna Walters said raising the rate will help ensure those just coming into the city pay their fair share.
“This is a way to get the new people moving in to pay the same rate that the rest of us are already paying now,” Walters said.
Councilor Tricia Davis was the lone vote against taking the property tax increase.
“With the situation that we’re in, with inflation and the gas tax going up and other taxes, I can’t vote in favor of this,” Davis said.
Rising costs are exactly why the city needs to take the increase, Councilor Shane Bowman said.
“I don’t know how we don’t take it when we have 8 percent inflation,” Bowman said. “If I told you that you had a choice of going in the hole 10 percent or 9 percent, which one would you rather have? I think most people would say 9 percent.”
Battle Ground had one of the lowest mill rates — the amount of tax payable per dollar of assessed value — among Clark County cities for the 2022 tax year. Only La Center and Ridgefield had lower rates.
Bowman said he understands a property tax increase coming on top of rising costs and other taxes will be difficult for some households but not taking the increase would only put the city further behind.
“It was because of the foresight of council members to sit up here and take not only the 1 percent but also have rainy day funds and to have a 21 percent cushion that got us through the last recession,” he said. “We’ve lowered our utility taxes, we have less millage rate now than (years prior) and this is going to continue to go down.”
The city council next meets at 7 p.m. Dec. 5. For more information or a meeting agenda, go to https://www.cityofbg.org/96/City-Council.