Our online utility bill pay system is currently down. The software vendor is looking into the issue. In the meantime, we will not proceed with shut-offs as scheduled for 2/28/23 and will update the timeline when the system returns. You can still pay by credit card, check or cash at City Hall.

Every year, the City of Sumner sets the City’s portion of your property tax rate for the next year. When you pay your property taxes, the funds are distributed to many agencies. Last year, we received 8% of what you paid. See the graph for more information on where else your money goes.

In 2022, the average value single-family house (valued at $441,472) paid $438.89 in property taxes for the year to the City of Sumner. Assessed values have gone up (16% across the board, yours may be more or less), so our average home value for 2023 is an unbelievable $514,308. At that value, the proposed property tax levy rate the Council is considering for 2023 would be $499.73, an addition of $60 for the year or $5 per month. Putting that back in the graph with all the other jurisdictions from what they collected last year, the City would still remain at about 8% or 9% of your total property tax bill.

Why the Increase?

Your costs are going up, and unfortunately, so are ours. Just think about the gas bill for running police cars at $5.50 per gallon versus $1.50 per gallon. It’s hard to balance a budget that’s seeing 9% inflation without increasing our revenue as well.

Will this raise my property taxes by 9.5%?

No. City of Sumner is just 8% of your total property tax bill, so a 9.5% increase on 8% means a proposed 0.76% increase on your property tax bill.

What about the warehouses – do they pay their fair share?

This rate is also our best way to recoup revenue from the warehouses in the north end. They pay 56% of Sumner’s property tax revenue, so this increase helps them pay for their impacts to our roads and services as well.

How can this increase be higher than the 1% cap?

The 1% cap is often misunderstood: people assume it’s 1% over last year’s collection, but it’s actually 1% over the highest rate the City has ever collected since 1985. Our property tax rate used to be much higher before we joined the fire district, which means this rate the Council is considering IS the 1% increase over our historically highest rate and follows the law correctly. What’s confusing is that in the past, we typically set our rate 1% higher than the previous year as our practice, even though we could have raised it more by law.

People are struggling. What will this mean for the average household?

Again, for the average household, it’s an increase of $60 per year or $5 per month. Even if we followed our typical practice of raising the rate only 1% over the previous year, that would have meant an increase of $23 per year, so the proposed difference between the recommended rate and a 1% increase is $37 per year or roughly $3 per month.

I’m getting tired of paying taxes. Can’t you keep my taxes low?

We understand. Since 2008, the City of Sumner has remained one of the lowest taxing districts in the State of Washington. Yet, property tax bills in Sumner doubled over that time because voters approved ballot measures to support other taxing jurisdictions. With this proposal, City of Sumner will collect less than 10% of your bill while schools are over 40% and fire 15%. When it comes to City services, residents continue to ask for more service, not less, and we simply can’t provide those services with rising costs without considering this modest increase in revenue as well.

Is there a discount available?

Pierce County provides information regarding available property tax discounts and exemptions, including those for senior citizens or people with disabilities.

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