Letter to the Editor: Your Yes vote for Prop 1 will continue to fund community services and programs

Saturday, October 15, 2022

To the Editor:

This is a plea to all sensible Shoreline residents who enjoy the benefits our city provides – such things as police and community safety services, crime prevention programs, and our safe, well-maintained park system – to support Proposition 1 to maintain the current level of our valued city services. 

Your Yes vote for Prop 1 will continue to fund community services and programs for seniors, youth, and families in need. Specifically, passage of Prop 1 will enhance the successful RADAR program to address the behavioral health crisis with mental health professional teams that provide 24/7 response.

Twice before we have voted to allow the City of Shoreline to increase the levy to address a forecasted budget gap that prevented a reduction in services. Restoring the tax levy rate to $1.39 – the same increase we approved in 2016 - will ensure that basic services will be maintained. Homeowners in the median range ($731,300) would pay an average of $30 per month over the six-year period.

It is true, we are all aware of rising inflation. No one escapes the affects – particularly at the grocery store and the gas pump. Prices are high; we feel the pinch.

However, I believe we must step up to support Proposition 1 so we can continue to count on the services we take for granted, need, and enjoy. A safe park with reliable playground equipment is an asset to families. Rapid response to people in crisis is imperative. I rely on code enforcement to maintain neighborhood integrity and traffic enforcement that allows me to walk safely around town.

Join the ranks of those who believe Shoreline is a great place to live and vote yes on Proposition 1.

Robin McClelland
Member, Financial Sustainability Citizen Advisory Committee
Member, People for Shoreline Campaign Committee


Jeff October 16, 2022 at 3:50 PM  

Setting the Levy Rate to $1.39 does not "restore" anything. It results
in a permanent 48% tax increase.

The tax levy — what we pay, and what the City takes in — is equal to the
Levy Rate multiplied by the assessed value. When considering tax levels —
whether you are the City’s bookkeeper or a tax-paying resident —
it is the total levy (total dollars paid and
dollars collected), not the Levy Rate, that matters in the end.

Shoreline's residential property values have sky-rocketed over the
past few years. They've risen significantly faster than the rate of
inflation (or any other reasonable index of what a City's costs are.)
In 2017, the median assessed home value in Shoreline was
$386,000. In 2023 the median assessed home value will be
approximately $750,000, an increase of 94%. Assessed values have
nearly doubled over the past six years! By way of contrast, over the
past six years, consumer prices as measured by the Seattle area CPI-U
("inflation") have increased by 27%.

If property values had fallen or not kept up with inflation, would the
City be happy keeping the Levy Rate fixed? No, of course not. It's
the Total Levy that matters — over the past twelve years, the Levy
Rate has been adjusted each year to keep the City's total levy — the
total amount it takes in from property taxes — rising at at least the
rate of inflation. In years that property values do not keep up with
inflation, the Levy Rate rises, in years that property values
skyrocket, the Levy Rate falls. But the total levy — what we pay and
what the City collects — always increases. (It’s not as crazy a
system as it sounds. There’s no reason to expect that a City's
expenses correlate with real-estate values.)

In 2017, the Levy Rate of $1.39 written into the 2016 Levy Lid Lift
resulted in a 12.8% increase in the general levy from 2016. That’s
about 10% more than the inflation rate at that time — that’s an
increase, but one that most people can manage.

In the subsequent five years since then, the 2016 Levy Lid Lift
measure has allowed the City's general levy to rise — not unreasonably
— at the rate of inflation. Over the six years of the 2016 Lid Lift,
Shoreline's total general levy has increased by 39%. Over that same
period, the cost of living rose 27% — it's not like City revenue has
been “falling behind”.

A Levy Rate of $1.39 in 2023 will result in a permanent 48% increase
in total general levy 2023. That's 39% above the current rate of
inflation (9%). That is a VERY LARGE TAX INCREASE, by any measure.
It will be especially hard on many resident's who are still struggling
to recover from the financial effects of the COVID pandemic during
this period of high inflation.

A $1.39 Levy Rate in 2023 represents a significantly larger tax load
than the same rate did in 2017.

(*) For a more detailed explanation why a Levy Rate of $1.39 in 2023 results in a 48% tax increase, see https://www.shorelinelevy.info/how-much-does-proposition-1-increase-taxes/

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