Seattle Parks District proposal would hike property tax rate to 41 cents per $1K

FILE – In this May 17, 2012 photo, the Space Needle is seen through the walls and ceiling of the “Glasshouse,” featuring a 100-foot suspended, 1,340-piece sculpture, during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit at the Seattle Center in Seattle. Fifty years after the World’s Fair inserted the Space Needle into Seattle’s skyline, the city is celebrating that anniversary by offering an array of new things to see and do at Seattle Center: from a zip line to the new art glass museum. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Elaine Thompson

Seattle Parks District proposal would hike property tax rate to 41 cents per $1K

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(The Center Square) – The Seattle Parks District’s 2024 budget adjustments would see a 4-cent increase in property taxes to generate more than double what it collected in 2022, if approved by the city council.

The Seattle Park District, also known as a metropolitan tax district, collects a portion of property taxes to fund parks and recreation services. Last year, the district collected approximately 20.7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for a total of $56 million.

The district planned for a tax rate of 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in 2024 as part of its six-year plan. The median Seattle homeowner would have paid approximately $297 per year in property taxes.

However, the city’s revenue forecast team calculated the long and short property tax and estimated the rate would end up being 41 cents due to the change in the median home price. As a result, homeowners would pay $330 per year.

According to a presentation to the Seattle Park District Board public hearing on Monday, the city could generate $122.5 million in 2024 with the proposed tax rate change.

The proposed operating budget for the Seattle Parks District is set at $228 million for 2024. The proposed general fund is set at $120 million.

The Park District is governed by the Seattle City Council, with oversight from the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners. The district funds maintenance of parks and facilities, recreation programs, land acquisitions, city park improvements, development of new parks, and other improvements over the course of a six-year financial planning cycle.

If the updated tax rate is approved, increased funding would include a total of $2.5 million for aquatic facility expenditures, $4 million in emergency management and security services and $3.2 million for teen programming.

Seattle voters first approved the district in 2014. The first financial plan cycle covered 2015 through 2020. Planning for the next six-year cycle was delayed until the spring of 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fall 2022, the Seattle Park District Board adopted the 2023-2028 funding plan.

The Seattle Park District budget resolution will be brought back to the Seattle City Council in November for a final consideration.

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