Port of Tacoma

Proposed port tax rate will raise an additional $1 million-plus because of increasing property values

The Port of Tacoma once again is proposing to keep its property tax rate static for 2015, though rises in property values may cost taxpayers a few dollars more in total port taxes.

The port commission is due to vote on those property tax issues at its meeting Thursday (Nov. 13).

The proposal before the commission calls for setting the property tax rate for the port at 18.365 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That’s the same rate the port has collected since 2009. That tax rate is less than half the rate the port collected in 1989, 39.75 cents per $1,000.

That rate will result in the port collecting about $14.2 million from Pierce County property taxpayers next year compared with $13.1 million the port is receiving in 2014. The $1.1 million difference is the result of Pierce County property gaining value during the course of the year from inflation and from additions and improvements to that property.

For the average taxpayer, said David Morrison, the port’s director of finance and treasury, the result will be an increase in their tax bill for the port to $44.28 annually from $40.44 this year. That figure assumes the average Pierce County home has risen in assessed value from $220,207 to $241,121.

The port’s tax collections, 1.2 percent of the total property tax bill, are the smallest significant slice of an average property owner’s tax bill. Local schools receive the largest share of that property tax collection, about 40.6 percent.

The port uses the proceeds from its property tax collections to pay down its general obligation bond debt and for general government capital projects such as road and rail infrastructure improvements within the port.

The Port of Tacoma doesn’t subsidize its operating expenses with taxpayer money, Morrison told commissioners this month.