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Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council holds first meeting of the year
Coordinating with Maple Valley, King County property tax assessments and the king County transportation concurrency ordinance were the main topics discussed at the first Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council meeting of the year on Feb. 3.
Maple Valley City Council Visit
Maple Valley Deputy Mayor and Councilman, Sean Kelly, and Councilwoman, Erin Weaver, discussed potential areas of interest between the Maple Valley City Council and the Area Council. Several mutual areas of interests were identified: transportation, comprehensive planning, and community events.
King County Property Tax Assessments
King County Chief Deputy Assessor, Tre’ Maxie, and Phillip Sit, communication and outreach coordinator, discussed property assessments and taxes.
The Department of Assessments establishes property values, conducts on-site inspections, and develops comparable sales of similar properties and comparisons of select properties.
Washington operates under a revenue based property tax system in which taxing districts, such as fire, library and school districts, submit their annual adopted budgets to the county assessor who has the responsibility to set the levy rate that is necessary to meet the adopted budgets regardless of assessed values.
Maxie reviewed market trends for commercial and residential properties across King County. Depending on where one lives, the specific taxes levied in an area, and local real estate values, it is possible that, while the appraised value of one’s home has decreased, one’s taxes have increased. That is because about half of one’s property tax is determined by voted-approved local levies for schools, parks, EMS and fire/rescue, etc. If these levies stay the same or increase from the year before, one’s property taxes may increase.
Of every property tax dollar, 17 cents goes to the King County general fund. The other 83 cents are divided between the state, cities and other local jurisdictions. There are 163 local taxing districts in King County. Break downs among levies are included in one’s tax bill. Property tax bills for 2014 will be mailed out on Feb. 14. The first half property tax portion will be due on April 30. Appeals can be filed online. For more information visit www.kingcounty.gov/Assessor.aspx
King County Transportation Concurrency Ordinance
The area council discussed King County’s annual update to its Transportation Concurrency Management program. Concurrency means transportation facilities must be able to accommodate trips created by new development for the development to occur. The county prepares concurrency maps that divide the unincorporated area into 25 “Travel Sheds” that are meant to look at traffic flows in an area.
The concept is analogous to watersheds which include water flowing through tributaries, streams, and rivers. The area council's Transportation Committee studied the proposed update and developed a set of comments for full area council review and approval. While the area council fully supports the county’s TCM program, it does have concern with one of the major elements of the proposed update: Travel Shed Splitting.
The proposed change calls for separate evaluation of urban and rural areas within the same travel shed. Such separate concurrency evaluation could be counterproductive by allowing approval of more development within travel sheds that have urban areas, even though the vehicle trips generated by those urban areas will affect the rural areas of the same travel shed. This appears to defeat the laudable purpose of using the travel shed concept to recognize the interwoven traffic patterns across jurisdictional lines.
Because the proposed change could allow more development than the road infrastructure can accommodate--directly contrary to the GMA’s dictates, the area council voted to approve the Transportation Committee’s comments and submit them officially submit to the King County Council, which soon will be taking up an ordinance on the TCM program update.
The area council welcomed new member Nikki Long from the Francis Community Area. Long has property management experience from her professional life. Due to her keen interests in growth and transportation issues, Nikki joined both the area council’s Growth Management and Transportation committees.
Next Area Council Meeting
The area council’s next monthly meeting will held from 7-9 p.m. on Monday, March 6 at the Fire Station at SE corner of 231st St & SR-169. Meetings are held the first non-holiday Monday of each month. A public comment period at the beginning of each meeting provides citizens an opportunity to voice issues of concern to area council members and government officials in attendance. The area council serves as an all-volunteer, locally elected advisory body to King County on behalf of all rural unincorporated area residents living in the Tahoma School District. For more information visit www.greatermaplevalleyareacouncil.org.
If you live in the Tahoma School District outside the city of Maple Valley, you are eligible to apply to become a member of the area council. Interested Rural Area citizens can send a brief letter of interest to GMVUAC, P.O. Box 101, Maple Valley, WA 98038 or an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.