LFP Mayor: The Economics of City Finances

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Property tax allocation for Lake Forest Park
From Mayor Jeff Johnson

With soaring inflation and home values, I often hear from residents that the city must be flush with additional revenue due to the increased property tax collected on those ever-increasing home values. 

Well, nothing could be further from the truth. 

By state law, the city has two options every year: 
  • one, collect the same amount of property tax revenue as the previous year, regardless of home values; or 
  • realize a one percent increase in that revenue by a vote of the council. Any increase beyond the maximum one percent set by the state requires a vote of the residents. 
As you can imagine, with annual inflation since the incorporation of Lake Forest Park in 1961 averaging 3.73%, and revenues increasing by a mere one percent it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain levels of service.

Every year, cities across the State of Washington struggle to keep providing consistent levels of service, let alone provide the new programs, parks and pedestrian pathways I hear are priorities for many of our residents, as well as your Mayor and Council.

The Administration and City Council have done an excellent job over the years of keeping this city financially stable while working to provide the services and amenities the community desires and deserves, considering the growing disparity between revenue and costs. 

We know what we want as a community, now we need to discuss how and how quickly we achieve those goals. As I work with the Council over the coming months to adopt the 2023-2024 city budget, I encourage your involvement and feedback as we look to continue moving this city forward.



3 comments:

Anonymous,  June 30, 2022 at 4:59 AM  

Novel concept Mr. Mayor: stop acquiring park space and land that the city cannot maintain. Your public works program does not have enough staff to maintain what you have right now. Stop buying new tables and chairs as your "older" ones were completely serviceable. Or let us know why city hall bought and installed new carpeting upstairs.

Anonymous,  July 1, 2022 at 12:24 AM  

With the huge increase in property values, LFP is collecting an embarrassment of revenues already.

John Brock July 1, 2022 at 11:09 AM  

It appears that "Anonymous" and "Anonymous" either did not read or did not understand this key information:
Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

"By state law, the city has two options every year:
one, collect the same amount of property tax revenue as the previous year, regardless of home values; or
realize a one percent increase in that revenue by a vote of the council. Any increase beyond the maximum one percent set by the state requires a vote of the residents."

EVERY city in Washington is struggling with these restrictions, limitations, and misunderstanding of the complex property tax rules.

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