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County Assessors Preparing For Concerns About High Property Tax Bills

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Harold Hollingsworth
/
Flickr

As property tax bills start going out, county assessors across the state are doing everything they can to educate property owners about what to expect this year. 

Assessors have been holding meetings with community groups, realtors, chambers of commerce and landlords. Some, like Pierce County assessor Mike Lonergan, have gone as far as posting videos explaining what kind of increase taxpayers can expect. 

"People are going to get a bit of sticker shock when they see this bill. So we're trying to warn them ahead of time," Lonergan said in the video.

Pierce County property owners will see, on average, a nearly 12 percent bump in the amount they pay, though it could be more depending on where you live in the county.

People in Snohomish County should expect a 16 percent jump. King County property owners may see a bill that's as much as 17 percent higher.

Rates increased this year because of a plan to pay for basic education in the state. And lawmakers in Olympia are trying to find ways to offer some relief to property owners as part of the House and Senate supplemental budgets.

Pierce County assessor Lonergan says property owners may also see slightly lower tax bills next year because of a cap on local school levies that will be in place for 2019. 

If you have questions about your property tax bill, local assessors in each county are prepared to help as much as they can. There are also some relief programs in individual counties for who those who qualify, such as people on fixed incomes. 

Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.