Higher Property Tax?!?

giant mouse wheelSo awhile back I got the little card that told me what my new property tax was for the year 2010. I was surprised it went up, but I figured there must’ve been some re-assessment and my property value went up or something. I didn’t think too much of it initially. Now that I’m looking into refinancing again, I was asked what my property tax was. Looking up the information on the King County’s website, I noticed my 2010 property value assessment actually went down, but my 2010 property tax went up.

The assessment of my property value actually dropped ~2.5%, but my property tax increased by 17%. What gives? Did King County or Bellevue just suddenly decide to levy a whole bunch of new taxes I wasn’t aware of? There was that school strike earlier. Hmmmm.

After asking a couple friends and searching online, I found this article: Why property taxes go up – and sometimes down. The following passage explains my situation:

Depending upon where you live, about half of your property tax is determined by voter approved levies for services such as schools, parks, water districts, EMS and fire/rescue. If these levies stay the same or increase from the year before, your property taxes may increase. Similarly, if other valuations decrease more than yours, your taxes may also increase.

It’s a bit like an old fashioned scale – if values go down, levy rates go up. If values go up, rates drop.

So because my property value didn’t drop as much as the average property value in Bellevue or King County, that means I have to pay a higher property tax this year so that the city or county will be able to get the same amount of money they’ve already levied.

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