Pierce County News and the Pierce County Auditor have put out this message regarding your property tax bill that will be arriving shortly:

Why Are Sumner’s Property Taxes Going Up?

A number of things happened all at once.

  • In order to fund schools as required by the McCleary law suit, the State instituted a new State School Levy that adds an estimated $300 to the average home in Sumner.
  • Home values increased.  Some portions of property tax, like the city’s, are capped at a 1% increase in collections.  Others, such as voter approved levies are not and go up as property values increase.
  • In 2016, voters approved both a Sumner School District bond, adding an estimated $120 to the average tax bill and reset the East Pierce Fire rate at $1.50 per $1000, adding an estimated $90 to the average tax bill.
  • Because of loss of revenue that was redirected toward school funding, the City faced a significant deficit in funding.  To address this deficit, the Council voted to raise our rate, adding an estimated $85 per year to the average tax bill. This keeps Sumner’s portion of your property tax bill at just 9% of the total.

Where the Increases Are Occurring

Amounts are based on the average Sumner home value of $293,064.

Why did the City reset its tax rate when so much else was going on already?

The Council had long deliberations about this through meetings held last fall, because they don’t take taxes lightly. However, the City is getting “squeezed” from both sides, facing both the loss of revenue and mandates that take a toll on our budget.

At the same time, demand for city services increases each year. This is the funding that helps build or replace sidewalks, that is used as matching dollars to get grants to repave/expand horribly clogged roads, that is used for police protection, parks and planning the future of Sumner. Plus, new laws are currently being debated in Olympia that would pass more laws that require the cities (and thus you) to spend more money.

The City has worked hard to reduce costs and implement efficiencies, but faced with this loss in revenue, the Council considered this an important step toward maintaining the quality of life of our community and the services our citizen value.