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Mercer Island


Serving the Mercer Island Community Serving community Since since 1947 1947

WSDOT readies a Plan B

Paying for pavement

Reading to highlight Black History month In honor of Black History Month, The Mercer Island Art’s Council is presenting, Margaret Wrinkle, author of the novel, ‘Wash,’ who will speak tonight, at 7:30 p.m. at Island Books. To learn more about Ms. Wrinkle and her book, go to Page 4.

Peterson is blunt about what is at stake without more dollars By Brandon Macz

Island Park hosting UW Bookstore sale Head down to Island Park Elementary School between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. today and Friday and between 5 and 8 p.m. on Thursday for a sale to benefit the school. Books, both new and used, art supplies, stationary, gifts and more are for sale.

Restore Clark Beach Grab your boots and head down to Clark Beach between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday March 1, to join Earth Corps volunteers and the Island Parks and Rec department to restore the shoreline park. Gloves, tools and refreshments will be provided.

French ‘travels and treasures’ await Find out how you can make a trip to France a trip for the ages by attending “French Travel & Treasues” between 2 and 5 p.m., March 9 at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. The afternoon will feature Rick Steves’ French travel expert: Steve Smith, co-author with Steves of “France 2014,” “Provence and the French Riviera” and “Paris 2014.’” The event is sponsored by the Mercer Island Sister City Association. See more on Page 16.

Washington State Department of Transportation photo

Contractors pour concrete on the SR-520 Bridge on Feb. 18. State Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said that the agency has to find ways to pay for projects with or without the state’s transportation package.

Island property values up 8 percent Average tax bills for Islanders up 5 percent By Mary L. Grady

After five years of sagging home and land values, assessed real property values across the county and on Mercer Island appear to be in recovery mode. According to the King County Assessors Office, county-wide property valuations are approaching pre-recession levels at $340.6 billion, (2008 total property value was $341 billion) up 7.6 percent overall from 2013 ($314.7 billion) “Property values for King County have continued to show signs of strengthening as we emerge from the Great

Recession,” said King County Assessor Lloyd Hara. “Of the 86 residential geographic areas in King County, we saw a residential valuation decrease only in 10 areas for the 2013 (tax) assessment year.” For Mercer Island, the same is true. The 2012 median assessed value of Island property - based on sales the previous year, was $711,000. In 2013 assessed value was based on data collected in 2012, or $771,000, an increase of 8.4 percent over the 2012 value. For taxes paid in 2013, the tax rate for Mercer Island was $9.44 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The average tax payer last year paid $6,713. This year the rate is less; $9.13 per $1,000 of assessed value for an average tax bill of

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$7,041 — an average increase of 4.9 percent or about $328. (Taxes for the present year are based on the previous year’s assessed value.) On Mercer Island, taxpayers are paying for a Mercer Island School district maintenance and operations, a bond and a capital levy earlier approved by voters. (They do not include the recent bond and levy approved in the Feb. 11 special election.) The city is collecting taxes for the general fund, parks, and for the new South-end fire station and a new truck. Countywide, voters approved a six-year temporary lid lift for the renewal of the County Parks levy at a rate of $0.18 cents per $1,000 of all taxable assessed value that would generate $63 million in revenue, and a sixyear renewal of the Emergency Medical services (EMS) levy at a rate of $0.335 cents or less per $1,000 of all taxable assessed value.

Washington Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson says even if the state Legislature approves a transportation package this session, there won't be enough money to go around and a "Plan B" needs to be crafted to deal with the worst cases of maintenance and preservation needs to ensure public safety. Peterson met with Reporter staff Wednesday to discuss her reform package presented to the Legislature earlier this year, as well as the status and issues revolving around Puget Sound transportation projects and funding for failing systems statewide.


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Mercer Island Reporter, February 26, 2014  
Mercer Island Reporter, February 26, 2014  

February 26, 2014 edition of the Mercer Island Reporter