Property Tax Increase for Police Funding
January 31, 2024
Voters in the City of Maple Valley have approved a “Levy Lid Lift” to increase property taxes to pay for police services. The November ballot measure, which was approved by 66% of voters, restricts the use of $2.2 million in additional funding for police services only.
City officials, who actively engaged both residents and the business community prior to the election, said the increased funding is needed to maintain existing levels of police services, including neighborhood safety patrols, traffic enforcement in school zones and neighborhoods, School Resource Officers, and community crime prevention programs.
Maple Valley does not have its own Police Department. Instead, it contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office for police services. The City’s cost to provide police services has increased by an average of 6.4% annually since 2020. Collectively bargained wages and liability insurance costs have been two of the largest areas of increasing public safety expenses. According to information published by the City, the Sheriff increased the cost of the City’s contract by 19% from 2022 to 2023.
Under state law, cities cannot increase the amount of property taxes they receive by more than 1% per year without a public vote. City officials pointed out that except for 2020, over the past 10 years the average annual increase in inflation was 3.3%. Approximately 7¢ of each dollar of property tax paid in Maple Valley is received by the City. The other $0.93 goes to other entities. The monthly impact of the levy lid lift on a median priced home in Maple Valley is expected to be approximately $17.67. Qualifying senior citizens on a fixed income, or persons with disabilities, may qualify for tax exemptions or tax deferrals and can contact the King County Assessor’s Office at 206-296-3920 or visit kingcounty.gov/assessor for information.