King County Council creates tax incentives to promote trail links

June 16, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. June 16, 2012

Landowners could receive tax incentives for allowing public access to trails to link to points of interest and existing public trails.

In a decision Monday, King County Council members approved implementation strategies to expand trail linkages through a program created in October 2010. The program expands the Public Benefit Rating System — a program for private landowners to receive incentives to conserve and protect land resources and open space.

“With more people throughout King County using trails for recreation and transportation, finding low cost options for increasing access and connections to our trail system makes sense, especially for taxpayers,” Councilman Larry Phillips, trail legislation sponsor, said in a statement.

The system program provides incentives to encourage landowners to conserve land. In return for preserving and managing resources, the land is assessed at a value consistent with “current use” rather than the “highest and best use.”

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Voters could decide $118.9 million county levy for fingerprint services

June 5, 2012

King County voters could decide on a $118.9 million property tax levy to continue funding criminal fingerprint identification services for local law enforcement agencies.

The proposal is to keep the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, in operation through 2018. The system provides criminal fingerprint identification services to law enforcement agencies throughout the county, including the Issaquah Police Department.

The proposed renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home.

Voters approved the initial AFIS levy in 1986, and overwhelmingly renewed the levy since then, most recently in 2006. The current levy expires in December.

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Voters could decide $118.9 million levy for fingerprint services

May 31, 2012

NEW — 12:30 p.m. May 31, 2012

King County voters could decide on a $118.9 million property tax levy to continue funding criminal fingerprint identification services for local law enforcement agencies.

The proposal is to keep the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, in operation through 2018. The proposed renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home.

The system provides criminal fingerprint identification services to law enforcement agencies throughout the county, including the Issaquah Police Department.

Voters approved the initial AFIS levy in 1986, and overwhelmingly renewed the levy since then, most recently in 2006. The current levy expires in December.

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Plan progresses to relocate rural fire station near Issaquah

May 22, 2012

Construction should start on a May Valley fire station next summer, as local fire officials relocate firefighters and equipment deeper into Fire District 10 from a station close to the Renton city limits.

In late April, officials from Fire District 10 — May Valley, Mirrormont and other communities near Issaquah — completed the process to issue $5.5 million in construction bonds to build a May Valley fire station and complete other projects throughout the district.

Fire District 10 is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Mirrormont, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area, plus Carnation in rural King County.

The district encompasses about 130 square miles and about 28,000 people.

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King County voters to decide $200 million property tax hike

May 1, 2012

King County voters could decide to increase the property tax rate to construct a juvenile detention facility, county leaders decided April 16.

In a unanimous decision, King County Council members placed a $200 million property tax levy on the Aug. 7 ballot to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle. The facility is a collection of decaying buildings. Officials said the electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling infrastructure is beyond repair.

If the nine-year levy is placed on the ballot and passed, homeowners should pay about 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $20 per year for a home assessed at $350,000.

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April 30 is King County property tax deadline

April 24, 2012

The deadline for King County residents to pay or postmark property tax bills is April 30.

Officials said property values declined in almost every area in King County last year, although property tax collection in the county is up 1.71 percent from last year.

The county uses assessed property valuations established during the previous year to determine property taxes.

Homeowners can pay property taxes online or by check, cash or credit card in person at King County Treasury Operations, Room 600, 500 Fourth Ave., Seattle. Or use the secure payment system at www.kingcounty.gov/propertytax.

The statement is sent to the lender if a property owner relies on a mortgage company to pay the bill. However, the taxpayer is responsible for the bill to be paid in a timely manner.

The county also offers property tax-relief programs, including breaks for seniors. Call the King County Assessor’s Office at 206-296-3920.

King County voters to decide $200 million levy for juvenile detention facility

April 16, 2012

NEW — 4:30 p.m. April 16, 2012

King County Council members decided Monday to put a $200 million property tax levy to construct a juvenile detention facility on the August ballot.

The proposal is to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle. The facility is a collection of decaying buildings constructed in the 1950s, 1970s and 1990s. Officials deemed the electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems as beyond repair.

Judges and commissioners at the juvenile court on site handle 3,700 cases per year at the detention facility. The complex houses about 65 children and teenagers from throughout the county.

If the nine-year levy is placed on the ballot and passed, homeowners should pay about 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $20 per year for a home assessed at $350,000.

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Proposed $200 million property tax levy clears hurdle

April 10, 2012

The proposed $200 million property tax levy to raise funds for a juvenile detention center cleared a King County Council committee April 3 — a key step to sending the measure to voters.

Budget and Fiscal Management Committee gave a “do-pass” recommendation to a measure to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle.

The legislation heads to the full council for final consideration. The council must act by the end of April to place a measure on the Aug. 7 primary ballot.

If the nine-year levy is placed on the ballot and passed, homeowners should pay about 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $20 per year for a home assessed at $350,000.

The proposal calls for replacing decaying buildings constructed in the 1950s, 1970s and 1990s. Officials deemed the electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems as beyond repair.

Judges and commissioners at the juvenile court on site handle 3,700 cases per year at the detention facility. The complex houses about 65 children and teenagers from throughout the county.

Proposed $200 million property tax levy clears hurdle

April 5, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. April 5, 2012

The proposed $200 million property tax levy to raise funds for a juvenile detention center cleared a King County Council committee Tuesday — a key step to sending the measure to voters.

Budget and Fiscal Management Committee gave a “do-pass” recommendation to a measure to fund a replacement for the aging Youth Services Center, a juvenile detention facility in Seattle. The legislation heads to the full council for final consideration. The council must act by the end of April to place a measure on the Aug. 7 primary ballot.

Led by Councilman Bob Ferguson, council members proposed the nine-year levy. If the levy is placed on the ballot and passed, homeowners should pay about 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $20 per year for a home assessed at $350,000.

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Supporters have yet to face opposition to $219 million school bond

April 3, 2012

By now, most of the campaign work is done, said Lesley Austin, one of the two co-chairwomen of Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the community organization promoting the Issaquah School District’s capital improvement levy on the April 17 ballot.

The VIS group organized so-called honk and waves at 13 locations throughout the district the morning and afternoon of April 2, Austin said. VIS slated a second such event for April 16, the day before ballots in the election are due back to King County.

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