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Washington Public Library Trustee Wiki

Property taxes (RCW 84.04)

“Assessed value of property”
“… the aggregate valuation of the property subject to taxation by any taxing district as placed on the last completed and balanced tax rolls of the county preceding the date of any tax levy.”
Note: RCW 84.04.020 clarifies this, stating “The terms ‘assessed valuation of taxable property’, ‘valuation of taxable property’, ‘value of taxable property’, ‘taxable value of property’, ‘property assessed’ and ‘value’ whenever used in any statute, law, charter or ordinance with relation to the levy of taxes in any taxing district, shall be held and construed to mean ‘assessed value of property’ as defined in RCW 84.04.030.
“Assessment year,” “Fiscal Year”
“… shall commence on January 1st and end on December 31st in each year.”
“Legal description”
“… for property tax purposes, the parcel number is sufficient for the legal description.”
“Levy rate”
The amount of property tax revenue a library district can raise each year (i.e., its property tax levy) is its level rate (its tax rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation) times its taxable assessed valuation. Note: Limitations, such as those imposed by RCW 84.52.050 may affect this rate.
“Library district”
A library district is defined as a junior taxing district, included among “… all taxing districts other than the state, counties, road districts, cities, towns, port districts, and public utility districts” as defined by RCW 84.52.043(2), and, as such, is empowered to levy a tax against property specifically for the purpose of supporting the library. See also “Special purpose districts.”
“Regular property taxes,” “regular property tax levies”
“… a property tax levy by or for a taxing district which levy is subject to the aggregate limitation set forth in RCW 84.52.043 and RCW 84.52.050, as now or hereafter amended, or which is imposed by or for a port district or a public utility district.”
“Taxing district”
“… shall be held and construed to mean and include the state and any county, city, town, port district, school district, road district, metropolitan park district, water-sewer district or other municipal corporation, now or hereafter existing, having the power or authorized by law to impose burdens upon property within the district in proportion to the value thereof, for the purpose of obtaining revenue for public purposes, as distinguished from municipal corporations authorized to impose burdens, or for which burdens may be imposed, for such purposes, upon property in proportion to the benefits accruing thereto. RCW 84.04.120.

Other Definitions

“Local infrastructure financing”
“… the use of revenues received from local excise tax allocation revenues, local property tax allocation revenues, other revenues from local public sources, and revenues received from the local option sales and use tax authorized in RCW 82.14.475, dedicated to pay either the principal and interest on bonds authorized under RCW 39.102.150 or to pay public improvement costs on a pay-as-you-go basis subject to RCW 39.102.195, or both.” RCW 39.102.020(11)
“Library capital facility area”
“… a quasi-municipal corporation and independent taxing authority within the meaning of Article VII, section 1 of the Washington State Constitution, and a taxing district within the meaning of Article VII, section 2 of the state Constitution, created by a county legislative authority of one or several counties. A library capital facility area may include all or a portion of a city or town.” RCW 27.15.010(2).
“Library capital facilities”
“includes both real and personal property including, but not limited to, land, buildings, site improvements, equipment, furnishings, collections, and all necessary costs related to acquisition, financing, design, construction, equipping, and remodeling.” RCW 27.15.010(3).
“Special purpose districts”
As defined by the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington (MRSC) in their publication, Special Purpose Districts in Washington State, “In Washington, special purpose districts are limited purpose local governments separate from a city, town, or county government. Generally they perform a single function, though some perform a limited number of functions. They provide an array of services and facilities including electricity, fire protection, flood control, health, housing, irrigation, parks and recreation, library, water-sewer service, and more recently, public transportation, stadiums, convention centers, and entertainment facilities. Special districts provide a means for citizens to obtain these services for a specific geographic area when they are not otherwise available from a city or county.” Page 7 of MRSC’s “Washington Special Purpose Districts Overview” features a very helpful graphical overview of the various types of library special purpose districts in the state.
“Tax code area”
“a geographical area made up of a unique mix of one or more taxing districts, which is established for the purpose of properly calculating, collecting, and distributing taxes. Only one tax code area will have the same combination of taxing districts, with limited exceptions.” WAC 458-19-005(x). See also WAC 458-12-140(1)(3).
“Value of the taxable property”
“… the actual value of the taxable property in a taxing district incurring indebtedness, as the term “taxing district” is defined in RCW 39.36.010, to be ascertained by the last assessment for state and county purposes previous to the incurring of such indebtedness except that in incorporated cities the assessment shall be taken from the last assessment for city purposes, plus the timber assessed value for the district as defined in RCW 84.33.035. RCW 39.36.015.

The National Association of Counties (NACO) provides more definitions in their Research Brief, Finance Terms Every Commissioner Should Know. The Washington State Office of Financial Management has an extensive A – Z Glossary with clear explanations of many fiscal terms.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel for specific concerns.

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