KGMI News Reporting
By Mike Curtiss
WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. – Property taxes in Whatcom County increased at a higher rate than the rest of the state this year mostly thanks to local voters.
Property tax collections went up 6.1 percent in the county overall and were up 2.3 percent statewide in 2013.
Whatcom County Assessor Keith Willnauer says the majority of the local increase came from voter-approved additions to the property tax levy.
He says some local school districts saw much bigger increases while others saw decreases.
Property taxes are the main source of funding for local government services.
In Bellingham, a large part of this year’s increase came from the $3 million increase in the city’s property tax levy to pay for affordable housing.
Willnauer says property values in the county actually dropped in 2013, but voter-approved tax levies are collected regardless of assessed values.