Property owners notice discrepencies in taxes toward school levy
Last week West Linn residents received their property taxes for fiscal year 2020, or June 2019-July 2020.
Some residents noted that the line item for the West Linn Wilsonville School District local option levy didn't quite add up to the $1.50 per $1,000 of the assessed property value, as promised by the district.
As West Linn and Wilsonville residents decide whether to renew this levy, the seemingly random numbers they saw on their statements sent some into a confused flurry of worry over the levy and the implications of renewing it.
Most line items on the property tax statement are calculated using a fixed rate per $1,000 of the assessed property value. For the levy that means district residents pay about $1.50 for every $1,000 of the value at which their house was assessed. But someWest Linn residents noticed this wasn't the case: While some paid the standard amount, others paid less, some significantly less.
Property tax statements, which are public record through Clackamas County, revealed that one resident, whose property was assessed $673,974 paid $820 for the levy, where they should have paid $1,010, following the standard $1.50 per $1,000.
This is due to limitations stipulated in the Oregon Constitution which limits the amount Oregon residents can pay in property taxes for education and general government.
These limitations are known as the Measure 5 limits because they were imposed by Ballot Measure 5 that passed in 1990.
The Measure 5 Limits mandate that property owners can't pay more than $5 per $1,000 of the real market value of their property for education and no more than $10 per $1,000 of the real market value for general government (real market value is distinct from the assessed value, which the levy and bond rates are based on).
The limitations do not apply to bond funds.
She said that the limit applies to certain residents when the total for education they pay, which comprises four line items: Clackamas County Community College, Clackamas Education Service District, standard taxes for the WL-WV School district, and the district local option levy, exceeds $5 per $1,000, the amount they pay toward the levy is cut back so they don't pay more than that limit.
WL-WV School District Spokesman Andrew Kilstrom said the district takes into account the fact that not all property owners are paying the full $1.50 per assessed $1,000 because of these limitations when planning the option levy.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)