The City Council on Monday unanimously approved a 1 percent increase to residents’ property tax.
The hike means a homeowner whose home is valued at $250,000 can expect to pay $2.18 more in property taxes in 2017, according to city documents. It would bring an additional $10,398 in property tax revenue to the city over the $1.04 million it made last year.
The 1 percent increase was at the low end of a range of increases the council had considered, with a 6.48 percent increase the highest possible hike. State law allows the city to raise its property tax at the beginning of each year by 1 percent of the previous year’s tax revenue. When the city opts to skip that increase, it’s saved and can be used another year in a process called “banked capacity.”
The city’s banked capacity now amounts to 5.48 percent. The council brought two resolutions to Monday night’s meeting – one allowing for the 1 percent increase, the other the 6.48 percent increase – with the intention to approve one or the other, or amend one and pass an increase with a rate somewhere in the middle.
Brent Goodrich and Cathy Watson were the only council members who spoke during the brief discussion, with Goodrich quick to reject the full hike of 6.48 percent. The city, he said, needs to “stay within our means,” adding that he would support a 1 percent increase.
Watson proposed putting both resolutions on the Monday agenda in a committee meeting last week, saying later that she thought the hike could help fund park, sidewalk and road maintenance. But she, too, rejected the full 6.48 percent increase Monday, noting that the countywide Emergency Medical Services levy was now leaning toward approval.
“That’s going to be a large bill for a lot of people in Ferndale, and I don’t think we could add on to that,” she said Monday, adding she would support a 1 percent increase. “I don’t want to double dip with people. The EMS levy’s going to be a big enough hit for most people.”