Before we get into the Assessor’s race, an update on the most contested race on the Island this election year: the race for City Council Position #2. No fewer than 6 former Mercer Island mayors (including Fred “loved by all” Jarrett) sent a letter endorsing Grausz as a good guy on the Council and Ira as a rabble-rouser who uses scare tactics.
Meanwhile, Ira has expanded his single-issue “No Road Diet” campaign to include opposition to any tolling on I-90. And he sent a letter too.
And Now, Assessing the Assessor
The King County Assessor race probably falls into the less interesting of the ballot items this November, but it’s important to homeowners. The Assessor is the one whose office tells you how much your property is worth in the eyes of the county and therefore, how much you’ll pay in taxes. This is an off-schedule election due to recent turmoil in the Assessor’s office.
I’ve narrowed down the candidates based on the Seattle Municipal League’s ratings because, frankly, it’s Sunday night and I’m tired. So here are the 3 rated “Good” or “Very Good” by the League:
- Lloyd Hara, Seattle Port Commissioner, who’s running on his management experience
- Bob Rosenberger, Retired Deputy Assessor who’s running on his experience as an Assessor and as part of the Assessor’s office
- Graham Albertini, Appraiser and teacher of Appraisers
All have some kind of fairness or current value language in their platforms, referring to assessing real values instead of the real estate peak. Rosenberger also talks about “reducing exemptions” that shift the burden to normal taxpayers. Based on the candidates’ statements and their experience, I’ll vote for Rosenberger though Lloyd Hara would probably be a good Assessor as well.
Aside: What the Assessor’s Taxes Pay For
The Assessor’s race is also important to anyone with kids in the local schools, because it was a fall in tax revenues that caused $2.4 million in cuts to Mercer Island schools this year. The Mercer Island Schools Foundation helped to partly address with $1 million in fundraising, about half of which went directly to saving 5.4 teaching positions. The organization doing a phone-a-thon Oct. 26th and 27th, so expect to hear from them.