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Renton Property Values Fall, But Taxes Inch Upwards in 2013

The county assessor has attributed the increase to voter-approved measures in various towns and jurisdictions.

Homeowners in Renton and across much of King County can expect to receive a higher property tax bill in the mail later this month, according to a news release from the county assessor's office.

Overall, 2013 property tax rates are up 3.35 percent even though total home values have dropped by 1.48 percent, according to a news release from the county tax assessor's office.

Are you expecting a jump in your property-tax bill this year? Tell us in the comments section.

Not all homeowners will pay more property taxes this year, however. Twenty-eight of 39 cities actually saw home values decrease, and many areas will end up paying less.

In Renton, the median assessed value of homes declined in 2013, down 5.9 percent, while the tax rate in the city increased on average by 7.6 percent. Assessed values fell from $238,000 for the 2012 tax roll to $224,000 for the 2013 tax roll. But the median tax bill for a Renton homeowner (half of residents pay more, half pay less) increased to $3,187 in 2013 — the same amount in taxes as in 2011. That's $38.78, or 1.2 percent, higher than last year.

In areas with increases, King County says much of the jump is coming from voter-approved measures. Last year, county residents passed a property tax levy to continue funding an automated fingerprint identification system for $18,528,341 and a nine-year levy for the Children and Family Justice Center for $21,908,512.

In 2012, voters in the Renton School District approved two four-year levies for Maintenance and Operation and Capital Projects, and later approved a 20-year  Capital Improvement Bond on a second try last April, causing most of the property tax increases. An annual increase in the state school levy also pushed the property tax rate higher.

Taxes could have been even higher for Renton residents, but state law limited the amount.

Valley General Hospital District #1 lost more than seven cents of its levy, a loss of $2.4 million in tax collections. Last year, the hospital district lost $3.3 million in taxes.

It was the second time since 1997 (the other was last year), that the statutory property tax limit was exceeded in several King County areas, resulting in pro-rationing and reductions in tax collections for a number of taxing districts.

But the county says not all tax-rate jumps are due to voter measures. Home values increased in many parts of King County, including the Eastside.

“We are beginning to see a recovery in the housing market in King County,” King County Assessor Lloyd Hara said in the news release. “Though property values continue to decline in most areas, there are also a number of areas where property values are increasing, including in the City of Seattle and the Eastside.”

Property tax bills for 2013 will be mailed out on Feb. 14. Homeowners have until April 30 to pay first-half taxes; second-half bills are due Oct. 31.

How can I pay my property taxes:
Homeowners who do not pay their property taxes through a mortgage lender can pay quickly and easily online at www.kingcounty.gov/propertytax. Residents can also pay using check, cash, or by credit card in person at King County Treasury Operations, Room 600, 500 Fourth Ave., Seattle. 

Payments by check only may be made in person at a convenient Community Service Center location:

  • Blackriver Community Service Center
  • Cottage Lake Community Service Center
  • Covington Community Service Center
  • Northshore Community Service Center
  • Sammamish Community Service Center
  • Vashon Maury Island Community Service Center

Hours and details for Community Service Centers can be found online at www.kingcounty.gov/csc.

To avoid interest and penalties, first half taxes must be paid or postmarked by Monday, April 30. Second half taxes must be paid or postmarked by Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Property tax relief programs are available:

  • Senior Citizens. Call 206-296-3920.
  • Disabled Persons. Call 206-296-3920.
  • Current use reduction for Farm and Agriculture or Forest land. Call 206-296-3969.
  • Current use reduction for Open Space or Timber.  Call 206-205-5170.
  • Remodeling/home improvement exemption. Call 206-205-0656.
  • Destroyed property reduction. Call 206-205-9212.
  • Deferral of Taxes. Call 206-296-3920.

Helpful numbers:

  • King County Assessor: 206-296-7300.
  • King County Tax Advisor(assistance with tax matters): 206-263-9700.
  • Treasury Operations (questions about your property tax billing statement): 206-296-0923.
Barbara Sbisa February 14, 2013 at 05:42 PM
The Tax Advisor Office moved last year and our current phone number is 206-205-6330. Although the number should "forward" correctly, we want to be sure anyone who has questions about their bills or this summer's appeal process can get hold of us quickly.
Kendall Watson February 14, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Hi Barbara, be sure to claim your free listing so you can update this information on Renton Patch! Please let me know if you need any help doing so at Renton@Patch.com.
www.johnlscott.com/paulm February 14, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Actually this time the Assessor is right. Renton values are up this year. I just sold a home in HoneyCreek at $558,000 and the last sale was $485,000......

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