Photos by Steve Shay
King County Assessor Lloyd Hara, his colleagues, and King County Councilmember Julia Patterson, District 5, spoke at the Burien Public Library March 14. While nobody likes to pay taxes, Mr. Hara seems a popular figure in King County.

King County Assessor Lloyd Hara hosted meeting at Burien Library; Property values down, but so are taxes

King County Assessor Lloyd Hara and his colleagues from his office, the King County Tax Advisor’s Office and the Treasurer’s Office held a meeting March 14 at the Burien Library/City Hall Building. Only about nine citizens attended. Hara said he has hosted nearly 400 such meetings in the last few years.

Hara was introduced by King County Councilmember Julia Patterson, District 5. She and Council member Joe McDermott, District 8, represent Burien. She also represents Sea Tac and Des Moines. Also speaking were King County Tax Advisor Barbara Alsheikh who discussed the methods of "property valuations and taxes", and handling disputes, King County Treasury Office's Scott Matheson, KC Outreach Coordinator Phillip Sit, and Dept. of Assessments Residential Division, Debra Prins.

Topics included a good news/bad news scenario for Burien homeowners. According to the King County Assessor’s Office, the median assessed value of property in Burien in 2010 was $238,000. The city’s median assessed value of property in 2011 fell to $205,000. Burien took one of the biggest hits in King County. However, property taxes also decreased.

The 2011 tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value (based on 2010 home values) was $12.92, or $3,074.96. The 2012 rate is $13.74 per $1,000 of assessed value, so property taxes decreased to an average of $2,816.70 for 2012 in 2012.

At the meeting, Hara and the other speakers addressed the reality that in many instances a homeowner's property value may go down while their property taxes may still increase. This is due to new, unpaid school levies and other civic obligations that must be paid through property taxes despite a property's value. Again, Burien was not in this category as it has no new school levies, plus the North Highline annexation into Burien added $983 million in value to the city.

A telling pie chart was projected illustrating that while Burien property owners pay their taxes to King County, the county receives just 17 cents of every dollar. Just over half goes to state and local schools, about 18 percent to cities and towns, 4.8 percent to fire, hospital and other districts, 3.8 percent to surface water management and other fees, 2.8 percent to the King County Library District, and 1 percent to flood and ferry districts.

Those wishing to dispute their property tax rate, or need other issues resolved can visit the King County Department of Assessments website here.

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