The City of Wenatchee is increasing property taxes by 1% next year.

The city council voted unanimously last Thursday to impose the increase.

Mayor Frank Kuntz says the levy boost won't keep up with inflation in covering city costs, but it's the most that can be done with property taxes.

"I think the simple part of this is we're just taking the 1% plus construction, which is all that we're allowed to take under the Eyman Initiative in terms of increases," said Kuntz. "Obviously, cost to net government is going up faster than one-percent, but our property tax is limited to that."

The property tax increase is part of an overall budget for 2023 that the Wenatchee City Council will look at this Thursday.

The Eyman initiative has been in place since 2001. It reduced the overall percentage any government in Washington could raise property taxes annually from 6% to 1%. The 1% does not directly apply to the tax rate of an individual property, but caps the overall rate a government, such as the City of Wenatchee, can raise property taxes.

This limit does not apply to taxes from voter-approved bonds and special levies. Wenatchee had a bond levy for the past two decades, but in expired in the last year.

Some Washington cities hike property taxes by the 1% limit every year. Wenatchee hasn't done so since 2016. Last year's increase was a fraction of the maximum allowed.

Tim Eyman authored the 1% initiative named after him. He defended the measure in a conversation with KPQ News. "It's working," said Eyman. "It's putting limits on how much people pay in property taxes. It's a good thing. And if he (Mayor Kuntz) even wanted more money, he could ask the voters for permission."

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