The Spokane City Council approved a 1% property tax increase on Monday.
As in recent years, the additional funding is set aside to fund the purchase of new vehicles for the fire and police departments.
Monday’s action comes as the City Council continues to consider Mayor David Condon’s proposed $1.1 billion city budget for 2020, about $205 million of which is funded directly by city taxpayers.
The council routinely authorizes the 1% annual increase, which is the largest allowed under Washington state law and amounts to $604,796 in additional taxation for the upcoming year.
City CFO Gavin Cooley noted that the property tax increase is less than half the rate of inflation.
Councilman Mike Fagan added that “we’ve been spending that money predominately on our public safety needs and we are no longer driving around in lime green fire trucks that have over 250,000 miles on the them.”
The tax increase was adopted unanimously by the council, with members Lori Kinnear and President Ben Stuckart absent.
Condon’s budget proposal, formally introduced to the council earlier this month, will be inherited and implemented by his successor Nadine Woodward.
The budget is also the first to include revenue from the public safety levy, which was adopted by voters earlier this year to retain 30 firefighters, who were funded by an expiring federal grant, and hire 20 new police officers. The funds can also be used to fund crime reduction programs.
The measure authorized the city to collect 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation every year, which in 2020 will total an estimated $6.35 million.