Island property owners see both values and taxes decline

Most Vashon property owners will see a drop in both the assessed values of their homes as well as their property taxes when they get their 2011 tax bills this week, according to the King County Assessor’s Office.

Property values on Vashon dropped an average of 11.63 percent this year compared to last, said John Arthur Wilson, a spokesman for the county assessor. The average home on Vashon was valued at $483,500 last year; this year, it’s valued at $428,000.

Vashon’s tax rate went up this year from $10.50 to $11.63 per $1,000 of assessed value, Wilson said. But because property values fell, the actual amount most Islanders will pay will drop as well.

On average, Vashon property owners will see their tax bills drop nearly 2 percent this year over last — or $97 for the year — the biggest drop among the county’s school districts. Countywide, residents’ tax bills are climbing an average of 3.3 percent. The largest increase was in the Tukwila School District, with a 10.9 percent increase in property taxes.

Wilson said the Island is seeing a decline in taxes while the rest of the county is seeing an uptick in part because of the significant drop in the Island’s property values. Countywide, that decline was much smaller — a 3.38 percent decrease in values last year over this year.

The situation on Vashon is far different this year from last year, when Islanders saw their average tax bill climb nearly 14 percent and their property values drop 8 percent.

Islanders were so upset about the situation last year that County Assessor Lloyd Hara came to Vashon for a public meeting.

This year, Wilson predicted, “There will be other parts of the county we’ll be hearing from.”

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