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Times are tight for many, but King County still has to mail out property tax bills

A screenshot of the King County presentation about property taxes.
King County
A screenshot of the King County presentation about property taxes.

Arriving soon in the mailboxes of residential and commercial property owners: property tax bills. Most taxpayers will see an increase, especially those in some parts of south King County.

King County Assessor John Wilson says the bills are based on assessed value as of January 2020 – before the pandemic hit.

“This year, countywide, the average property tax increase is going to be just over 4 percent. It will be higher in some areas,” Wilson explained. “A large part of this is driven by voter-approved levies, and that’s why it varies so much community to community.”

Some cities – including Pacific, Enumclaw, Maple Valley and Algona – will see double-digit increases. The county collects property taxes on behalf of the state, the county, cities, school and fire districts. More than half of the revenue collected goes toward public education.

Wilson acknowledges that the bills come at a time when many people are struggling financially – not just homeowners but also commercial business owners hurt by the pandemic.

“We’ve really tried to go an extra mile to make sure the property tax does not become the thing that drives people into homelessness or be forced to sell their home,” he said. “We’re trying to avoid that.”

He says property owners can sign up for payment plans by contacting the county treasurer’s office.

Separately, the Biden administration announced this week that it will extend a foreclosure moratorium and mortgage forbearance through June.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.