Sno-Isle levy appears to have squeaked by

Mukilteo voted in favor of increase, Snohomish County overall did not
By Brandon Gustafson | May 02, 2018

After initial counts had the results of the April 24 election as “too close to count,” it appears the proposition to increase Sno-Isle’s property tax levy by 9 cents in 2018 will pass.

The election, which requires a simple majority (more than 50 percent approval), combines votes from Snohomish and Island County residents to determine passage.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, April 30, Island County has voted in overwhelming support of the levy, which will increase the current property tax levy by 9 cents to 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

In Island County, 61.75 percent of voters approved the tax increase, compared to Snohomish County, which as a whole, actually voted against the levy, with just 47.98 percent of Snohomish County voters approving the levy.

Voter turnout in Snohomish County was low, as just 25.61 percent of ballots were returned. In comparison, 39.79 percent of Island County voters participated in the election.

In Mukilteo, 13 of 21 precincts voted in favor of the increase.

Of 13,738 registered Mukilteo voters, just 4,195, or roughly 30.53 percent, voted in this election.

That is a large decrease from the November election, when 51.35 percent of registered voters in Mukilteo voted, but is an increase from the Feb. 13 election, when just 25.35 percent voted.

Of those 4,195 Mukilteo voters, 2,237 supported the tax increase, or about 53.33 percent.

The results will be verified on Thursday, May 4.

Sno-Isle Executive Director Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory was, despite the close call, very happy with the results thus far, noting Sno-Isle can continue their normal services.

“This levy was about being able to maintain services to our customers and communities,” Woolf-Ivory said, adding that “maintain” does not mean services and community libraries will stand still.

According to Woolf-Ivory, funds from the levy cover 98 percent of the library-district budget.

“Without the voters’ approval of the levy, we wouldn’t be able to deliver services at the level they expect and deserve,” she said.

Woolf-Ivory feels Sno-Isle is adapting with the times, which makes their services even more vital.

“The library district is always evolving along with the customers,” she said. “More customers are downloading books, music and video, and the library collection reflects those choices.”

Woolf-Ivory also feels the communities served by their 23 libraries and bookmobile services are changing as well.

“Libraries are seen as community gathering places and conveners of discussions on subjects of community interest,” she said. “We are meeting those changing needs now, and are looking ahead to meet community and customer needs in the future.”

This levy is just another tax increase in Snohomish County of late.

According to the Snohomish County Assessor’s Office, property taxes already increased in Snohomish County from 2017 to 2018 by $82.07 per $100,000 of assessed property value to help fund schools due to the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling to fully fund basic education in Washington state.

According to Zillow.com, the average home price in Mukilteo is $592,265, meaning property taxes increased by an average of just less than $500.

Mukilteo voters also approved two propositions in the Feb. 13 special election to help fund educational programs and technology improvements in the Mukilteo School District. Prop. 1 passed with 53.36 percent, and Prop. 2 passed with 55.06 percent.

Through Prop. 1, the Mukilteo School District is capped at receiving $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This will help fund after-school activities, transportation and additional services for special-needs students, among others.

Through Prop. 2, the school district receives 28 cents per $1,000 in 2019, decreasing by 1 cent each year until 2022. These funds go toward improving technology in the school district.

Both of those levies, in addition to the Sno-Isle levy, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

 

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