City Council OKs increase in local EMS levy collection

City of MLT logoAt its Nov. 18 meeting, the Mountlake Terrace City Council adopted various changes to the city budget and tax collections for 2014, including increases in the local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy and the city’s portion of property taxes.

By a 6-0 vote, council members approved a 1 percent increase in the city’s share of residents’ property taxes and an 8.69 percent increase in the EMS levy; city officials calculate the average Mountlake Terrace homeowner will see an increase in their property tax bill of approximately $11 next year as a result of this action.

The City of Mountlake Terrace receives approximately 21 percent of the total property tax collection in the city, with the remainder going to the State of Washington, the Edmonds School District, Snohomish County, Sno-Isle Libraries and the Hospital District.

The EMS levy is collected at a rate of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on property; due to increase in assessed value seen throughout Mountlake Terrace in 2013, the current EMS levy collections had fallen to 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The council’s action restored the 50 cents per $1,000 rate to the voter-approved levy; voters approved the EMS levy in 2009.

City budget revisions approved include adding a budget line necessary to continue paying the approximate $500,000 to rent office space for Interim City Hall and funds needed to operate the city’s Economic Development Office in 2014. Budget reductions in nearly every city department, in addition to cost savings realized by refinancing some of the city’s debt, are being used to offset the cost of office space rent and Economic Development Office expenses, city officials said.

You can view the budget changes for 2014 here.

      1. Actually, I’d be more interested in someone like Len French tracing for the rest of us the BAN from inception through what’s planned for 2014. I’m glad to see the City reorganizing and reducing in areas to accomodate the lease/NNN costs upcoming. I’m having a little trouble following the BAN pea in the linked PDF.

  1. I’m actually trying to do just that through e-mails to our interim city manager. Once I get answers which are translatable into terms most folks would understand, I’ll follow up. That there is now apparently an official budget modification for the extended lease is a great beginning. It would also be helpful to know how much money is estimated to come from the two just increased levies.

    What is known is that the annual cost, principal and interest, for the loan to re-pay the BAN will be about $275,000 per year, every year for the next 7 years. The cost of the lease renewal is estimated to be about $500,000 every year for at least 3 years and maybe 5 years.

    Together, that is $775,000 burdening our General Fund every year for at least the next three years. None of that burden existed anywhere in our budgets until the end of 2012 when the BAN repayment scheme was first introduced in the 2013-14 budget. After the second ballot measure failed in August, 2012, someone at city hall was wise enough to have a plan B if the third try failed, which it did.

    It is also true that neither burden existed before demolishing the old city hall and initiating the current lease in 2009. That may not be wasting $775,000, but it is certainly $775,000 that would have been available for other uses had demolition and leasing never occurred.

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