Community Government

City voters decide Tuesday on property tax proposition

Posted on April 22nd, 2024 By:

Voters inside Gig Harbor will decide Tuesday, April 23, whether to increase their property taxes in order to fill a gap in the city government’s general fund.

The Pierce County Auditors Office’s elections division will post preliminary results at about 8:15 p.m. Tuesday. The office will release updated totals through May 3, with certification May 4.

The city is asking voters if they wish to increase the city portion of their property tax to $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed value from the current $0.70. If voters approve the measure, called Proposition 1, the property tax for a $750,000 home in Gig Harbor would increase by about $300 per year.

City budget shortfall

The city council placed Proposition 1 before voters as a possible solution to a $3 million general fund shortfall faces starting next year. City officials say a number of factors contributed to the shortfall.

A state cap on property tax collection increases shriveled how much the city collects from that source. In 2014, property owners paid a levy rate of $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed value; the rate is half that now.

Meanwhile, a 65% population increase over the same time span led to higher demand for city services.

In recent years, development-related revenue also tanked. And sales tax receipts came in lower than expected, partly due to increased inflation.

Sales tax proposal also on horizon

If voters approve Proposition 1, the city expects to bring in $2 million in new revenue from the property tax increase.

City voters are also being asked to weigh in on a proposed sales tax increase. The proposal would increase the sales tax at stores inside city limits from 8.9% to 9.0%, with proceeds earmarked for law enforcement and other public safety purposes.

The sales tax proposition goes to city voters on Aug. 6.

Where to drop your ballot

Ballots must be postmarked by April 23 or dropped in a collection box by 8 p.m.

Ballot drop boxes locations are:

  • The Civic Center, 3510 Grandview St.
  • The Gig Harbor Library, 4424 Point Fosdick Dr.

As of Monday, April 22, about one-third of city voters had returned their ballots, according to the elections office. The city population includes 8,909 registered voters, of whom 2,965 had returned ballots by 1 p.m. Monday.