Seattle port board passes minor tax cut for area homeowners
The policy-setting Port of Seattle Commission agreed Tuesday to a minor cut in the tax levy rate that area homeowners pay to support port operations.
The 3-2 split vote was a reversal from a preliminary commission vote two weeks ago that would have slightly raised the levy tax.
Tuesday's vote by the commission will reduce the levy rate by one cent to 22.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. This represents an annual savings for homeowners of about $0.66 for each $100,000 of assessed property value. A King County homeowner with a home assessed at $400,000 will pay $90 next year in port taxes next year, instead of $92.63 as the commissioners had earlier proposed.
The levy cut will see the port collect about $75 million next year, a $3 million decrease from projected collections. Despite the cut, increases in property valuations will see the port wind up collecting about $6 million more in 2008 than it did this year.
The projected collections of the levy tax, according to port officials, will still allow the port to pay for more than $600 million in capital improvement projects over the next five years. The planned projects include the $103 million purchase of the Eastside rail corridor, redevelopment and improvements at five port terminals, projects at the Fisherman's Terminal, and work on the North Bay development. However, the cut will require the port to defer close to $125 million in capital projects, including a major berth redevelopment at Terminal 91, for at least five years.