Property tax, EMS levies to increase 1% in 2020
Mill Creek City Council voted 6-1 to raise both the property tax and EMS levy by 1% each next year.
Last updated 12/28/2020 at 12:50pm
The City Council voted to increase both the property tax and EMS levies for Mill Creek residents in 2020 to accommodate for a likely increase in City Hall staff.
The council voted 6-1 for the tax increase during its Nov. 26 meeting.
“To avoid the whipsaw to the public in property taxes I would rather see a steady increase I think that’s more fiscally sustainable in the long run,” councilmember Brian Holtzclaw said, and other council members echoed their support.
Although city revenues were higher than expected, interim Finance Director Tara Dunford said expenses would increase due to the likely outcome that the council approves City Manager Michael Ciaravino’s staff additions, among other expenses like equipment upgrades.
New staff positions included another school resource officer, a maintenance worker in the Public Works department, another marketing and communications coordinator, chief of staff, and an administrative assistant for the city manager.
On the staff additions, councilman John Steckler said he was concerned about the missing director of marketing position. In his proposal, the city manager shifted marketing and communication responsibilities to three coordinators in the communication department and his proposed chief of staff position. Stecker said that he did not think candidates would have the required skill set to meet all of the city’s needs. However, he still supported the chief of staff position.
“We have a bad track record with city managers – they don’t last. Issues happen, and that’s got to stop,” he said. “If you say ‘I need this chief of staff and I need this admin in order to do the job and do it right,’ and we can afford it, I support that.”
Other councilmembers disagreed, saying the job title for the communications staff person should be left to the city manager’s discretion.
Councilmember Cavaleri was the sole vote against the property tax increase. “Personally, I think we [will] fund these positions no problem with a zero percent increase on the taxes,” Cavaleri said.
The tax increase will generate $62,897 in additional revenue, according to City estimates.
The total property tax levy contributes $6.4 million in revenue, but less than 20% of property taxes go to the city. Nearly half of Mill Creek’s property taxes went to the Everett School District, according to City data from the 2019-2020 budget. The state received the second-largest share with 24% and of Mill Creek received 18%.
The City Council also voted to increase the EMS tax levy by 1% and estimates it will generate an additional $17,093 for the City. The vote was unanimous. The total EMS levy, including the 1% increase, is $1.75 million. Currently, the combined property and EMS levies total $8.2 million and contribute 56% of the City’s general fund.