Local voters will decide the fate of property tax proposals from five Yakima County school districts, the city of Yakima and the Naches Parks and Recreation District in February.
Eight items are on the ballot around the county — a proposal by the city of Yakima to lift the local levy lid, a levy proposal from the Naches Park and Recreation District and six school district levies.
A proposal to replace Yakima’s city manager with an elected mayor will not be on the February ballot. Lawsuits filed against the city last week challenged the election date and ballot title, and the council decided to pull the measure. Supporters say they will ask the council to place the issue on the November ballot instead.
The window to submit resolutions for the February special election closed Friday. Ballots will be mailed the week of Jan. 24 and are due Feb. 11.
Eligible voters can register to vote online through Feb. 3 and in person through Election Day.
Here’s what was filed:
City of Yakima
The city of Yakima is placing a levy lid lift proposal before voters in February in response to cost-of-living increases for salaries, benefits and insurance having outpaced revenue from an annual 1% property tax levy increase, as city Finance and Budget Director Steve Groom told City Council earlier this month.
The lift would mean increasing the city’s regular property tax levy by $0.40 to $3.10 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2021. It would help cover operations costs such as public safety, street and facility maintenance and addressing homelessness, according to information from the city.
The Naches Park and Recreation District is asking voters to approve a special levy to cover the cost of general operating and equipment needs for 2021 and 2022. The two-year levy of roughly $0.66 per $1,000 assessed property value would bring in just under $340,000 total.
The funds would help cover the costs of operations, maintenance, equipment and activities at Applewood Park and Naches Swimming Pool, the filing with the county says. The recreation facilities were approved in 2000 by the Naches community and constructed thereafter.
YAKIMA: Voters will see two, four-year levy proposals from the Yakima School District on the February ballot: a capital improvements levy of $0.54 per $1,000 in assessed property value and a replacement $2.50 per $1,000 education programs and operations levy.
The district says the combined levies would return local schools taxes to the $3.04 amount approved by voters in 2016 and help the district’s budget, which is expected to go into the red in the 2020-21 school year.
If approved, the renewed education levy alone would return local funds in 2021 to around the 2017 level of $14 million. The levy would be matched by local effort assistance funds by the state if it is passed, making up about $30 million in total. The local taxes would be in addition to increased state school taxes since the last local levy vote.
SUNNYSIDE: The Sunnyside School District is proposing a four-year replacement education levy hovering around $1.61 per $1,000 in assessed value. It would bring in roughly $13 million over its duration.
MABTON: The Mabton School District is running a $1.6 million, four-year replacement education programs levy, which would cost property owners an average of $1.76 per year per $1,000 property value.
ZILLAH: The Zillah School District is seeking support for a two-year replacement education programs levy of $2 per $1,000 in property value, bringing in $2.2 million over its duration.
NACHES VALLEY: The Naches Valley School District is running a replacement levy of $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value, which would bring in $12.3 million over four years. Voters previously approved a levy of $3.48 per $1,000 value before legislative changes to local schools taxes capped levies at $1.50 beginning in 2019.
The levy cap was lifted to $2.50 starting in 2020, making the proposed levy amount the maximum Naches Valley can ask from voters.
Each district said that without the new levies, their respective general funds would not sufficiently cover education needs and district expenses, according to the filings with the county.