Hurst Tax Relief Plan
The Lynnwood taxpayers need tax relief. There are ways to get it done. First some real talk about the City’s finances.
In 2013 the ending balance of the City’s general fund was over $15 million. After 8 years of the current administration’s spending, the general fund balance by the end of 2021 is estimated to be under $4 million. We cannot elect anyone who wants to continue this Mayor’s policies of overspending every year. I will bring a change to the City’s financial policies.
Property taxes are an annual reminder of the tax burden a City places on its residents. The City Finance Department recently put out a comparison of property tax rates of Lynnwood and surrounding cities and at first it looks pretty good. But remember all those ci ties except for Lynnwood have fire service included. If you add the tax levy by South County Fire and Rescue the result is a lot different.
Levy Rate per $1,000 assessed value: Levy Rate with a Fire Department Included
Mountlake Terrace $1.37 Lynnwood $1.99
Mukilteo $1.00 Mountlake Terrace $1.37
Edmonds $0.91 Mukilteo $1.00
Brier $0.73 Edmonds $0.91
Lynnwood $0.54 Brier $0.73
Lynnwood property taxpayers are charged a lot more than other cities. So, what can we do reduce some taxes in our City?
CITY CAR TAB FEES
The City Council has assessed $40 car tab fees without a vote of the people. I have asked the Council four time to end those fees without any success. The objection has always been that the car tab fees are needed to maintain the roads because the fees bring in about $1.2million per year.
Car sales and services by the auto dealers in Lynnwood bring in approximately $4.7 million in sales tax per year. We could eliminate the car tab fees and replace it with $1.2 million of the sales tax we get from the sale of cars in our city. The City Car tab fees can be eliminated, road maintenance will still get its needed funding.
CITY TAX ON CITY UTILITIES (WATER, SEWER, STORM WATER)
As a member of the City Council, in May, I voted to end the City tax on City utilities. The Mayor vetoed that tax decrease. These City taxes bring in approximately $1.3 million. There is a way to eliminate the car tab fees and the tax on City Utilities. And here is how can be done.
The constant drain on the City’s general fund balance comes from the Mayor’s policy of every year transferring $2.5 million of tax revenue into special funds for future projects. That is a great idea when the tax revenues are high enough to allow that. But when you do not have the revenue then you are running at a deficit, and the general fund is reduced every year. That is what has happened since 2013. In 2021 the general fund balance is budgeted to be so slow that we either raise taxes or stop these transfers for future projects. I don’t want to raise taxes so here is my plan.
As Mayor, I will end the $2.5 million of transfers into special capital funds and instead keep that money in the general fund so we can end the car tab fees ($1.2 million) and the tax on City utilities ($1.3 million). We reduce taxes by $2.5 million and pay for it by stopping the transfer of $2.5 million into special funds. Done deal, we have ended the car tab fees and the utility tax.
I am confident that the economic future for Lynnwood is all positive. And the latest data from the Washington State Economic Forecast Council talks about the rebounding job market and housing market. With the coming of Light Rail lots of construction will happen in our City, our population will grow and businesses will rebound. In the near future capital projects will be funded. but right now we need to give residents some tax relief.