The city of Yelm on Wednesday lowered its ad valorem property tax rate by 1 percent for the fourth year in a row.
According to a staff report from Treasurer Teresa Mattson and City Clerk Janine Schnepf, the phrase “ad valorem” is Latin for “according to value.”
“In the case of municipal property taxes, property owners have their property assessed on a periodic basis by a public tax assessor,” the report states. “The assessed value of the property is then used to compute an annual tax, which is levied on the owner by his or her municipality.”
According to Mattson, over the past year the city’s assessed value increased by more than $36 million, allowing the city to levy an additional $63,735.
The city, as it has for the previous three years, factored in a 1 percent decrease in its property tax rate, Mattson said. The city is requesting a levy in the amount of $1.1 million, which would be assessed in two parts, she said. The new levy rate is $1.68 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
“As with their regular property tax, it is approximately a 6 percent increase over last year’s rates,” she said. “Our assessed value was about half of an increase as to the last year’s increase. Obviously we had a major decrease in assessed value at the beginning of the recession. We’re slowly starting to recover but this year was not as good of an increase as last year, so it resulted in this $63,000 overall levy increase.”
Mayor Ron Harding added that the increased levy amount is due to property values starting to rise from its all-time lows.
Councilor Joe Baker was pleased the city could lower the property tax rate.
“I really appreciate the fact that we can reduce it for our public and the city here to realize that we’re not out to gauge them,” Baker said. “I think that’s great.”
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