After years of requests and pleading I have lowered just about everyone’s taxes for the 2019 tax year. Actually, the assessor has nothing to do with the amounts that are levied, but since I’ve taken the blame when taxes have gone up, I thought I’d take credit this year when taxes went down. Ha-ha.

Seriously, most people will see their property taxes decrease from last year, even with the increase in market value from last year. (All of the following rates in this article are expressed as a dollar per $1,000 of assessed value. A rate of $1 per thousand would mean a property valued at $100,000 would pay $100.) Properties in the Raymond School District went down the most, over $6 per $1,000. Valley, Naselle and South Bend School districts rates went down between $2 and $2.80 per $1,000, depending on the tax district. Ocean Beach School District rates decreased around $1.30 per $1,000.

There are two main reasons tax rates and the resulting taxes in Pacific County have gone down this year:

First, the state school levy part 2, which the state Legislature instituted to satisfy the Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling in the McCleary Case, decreased from $1.03 in 2018 to $0.70 this year. Also as part of the judgment in the McCleary Case, all of the local M&O (Maintenance and Operations levies approved by local voters) decreased. Those rates went down to $1.40 in the Ocean Beach District and $1.50 per $1,000 in all the others. For comparison, Raymond’s 2018 M&O levy was $3.81, South Bend’s was $3.75, Willapa Valley’s $3.34, Naselle $2.99 and Ocean Beach $1.91.

All of these factors added together, especially the lower M&O rates for everyone, are the reasons taxpayers are seeing a decrease in property taxes for 2019, even with assessed values based on sales prices increasing.

In addition to the above, the major reason the rate in the Raymond School District went down so much was the new high school construction bond was finally paid off. Last year, and for the previous 19 years, that district’s taxpayers paid approximately $3 per $1,000, or $300 on a house valued at $100,000.

At this time it is anticipated the Pacific County Treasurer’s Office will mail out the new tax statements the first week in February.

Besides the lower tax amounts, taxpayers will also notice a new assessment for Noxious Plants (control of spartina, tansy, etc.) which was approved by the Pacific County Board of Commissioners. Any questions concerning that assessment should be directed to the County Commissioners or the Vegetation Management Department.

If you are over 61 years of age on or before Dec. 31, 2018, and have an income of $40,000 or less, you may qualify for a Senior Exemption on your primary residence parcel. The $40,000 includes Social Security and other income which may not be taxed on your federal income tax. Please contact our office for more information if you feel you may qualify.

If you have any questions about this article or any other property tax issues, or see a correction needed on our Taxsifter or Mapsifter websites, please contact us at 360-875-9301, 360-642-9301, 360-484-7301 or 360-267-8301.

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