The Yakima City Council approved a property tax increase of 1% for 2023 after a public hearing Tuesday.
Finance Director Jennifer Ferrer-Santa Ines said the 2023 budget was developed assuming a 1% increase. The city is allowed a 1% increase annually without going to voters.
The increase was approved by a 5-2 vote. Mayor Janice Deccio, Assistant Mayor Soneya Lund and council members Holly Cousens, Danny Herrera and Eliana Macias voted in favor, while Matt Brown and Patricia Byers voted against it.
Ferrer-Santa Ines noted that the levy rate has an inverse relationship with property values. As values go up, the rate levied decreases to limit revenue growth to that 1%.
“The rate for the city of Yakima is today at $2.34, and given the 12% increase of property values and because the city’s limited to the 1% growth, that levy rate will likely trend downward and it’s expected to be at $1.90,” she said at the meeting.
No one spoke during a public hearing on the budget Tuesday. Residents have another chance to comment at a public hearing Nov. 15 before the budget is adopted.
Sustainable Yakima, other appointments
The council also made appointments to city boards and commissions Tuesday.
The council nominating committee, made up of Brown, Byers and Cousens, earlier this month interviewed applicants for Sustainable Yakima, a committee created this year to improve sustainability efforts and address the adverse effects of climate change.
“After spending three days, hours and hours and hours interviewing about 14 candidates, I will say I was thoroughly impressed with these six getting put through,” Brown said.
Byers said she was impressed with the number of applicants.
“The candidates were just, they were varied and they were all great and interesting,” she said. “We just did the best job we could vetting and making the decision.”
The full council unanimously approved the nominating committee’s recommendation Tuesday, appointing the following individuals to serve on the new committee: Jeff Scott, Jennifer Hickenbottom, Jeremy Leavitt, Dan Schapiro, Ray Paolella and Marcelino Osorio.
The council also appointed Constance Anderton to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
Several reappointments were approved for the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee: Charlie Robin, Angie Girard, Sara Allen, Kristie Holestine and Lisa Vallejo.
Bob Ponti and Linda Orozco were also reappointed to the Yakima Housing Authority.
Cousens said she appreciated all who applied.
“Just really appreciate everybody stepping up to fill these committees and really appreciate your volunteerism and knowledge,” she said.