2023 Levy Highlights

What is the county-wide increase for  2023?

The total 2023 levy amount increased $3.81 million or 5.49% over last year. To see a 7-year comparison of levy amounts by taxing district, please click here.   

1% Property Tax Levy Limit

The passage of Initiative 747 in 2001 limited the year-over-year budget increase of a taxing district to 1% plus any revenue generated by new construction plus any revenue generated by business properties that cross county boundaries, such as telecommunications, air transportation companies, etc. 

There are three exceptions to the 1% property levy increase growth. 

  • Local school taxes
  • Levy lid lift & excess levies (voter approval is required to increase more than 1%)
  • Banked capacity (If a taxing district levies less than the maximum amount allowed in prior years, the taxing district retains the right to use the "banked" amount at a future date without voter approval)
What caused the levy amount to increase more than the 1% limit in 2023?

State school taxes

The state school taxes increased $2.2 million or 8.26% over last year.

The state must make ample provisions for a basic education program through regular and dependable tax sources. In other words, the state cannot rely on annual local tax levies that require approval from county voters.  In tax year 2018, the state was mandated by the courts to allocate additional funds to basic education. The additional funding is known as the "State -Part 2" levy. 

Local school taxes

The local school taxes are not subject to a 1% year-over-year budget increase. 

  • Orcas school district: $125k or 2.96% increase over  last year
  • Lopez school district: $53.3k or 2.72% increase over last year
  • San Juan school district $195k or 5.54% increase over last year

Prior years' voter approved measures continue to impact school taxes.

2023 prior year taxes approved for schools

 School Operations Levy (also known as "Enrichment Levy")

RCW 84.52.0531 limits the school operations levy (also known as "enrichment levy") to the lesser of:

  • $2,988.32 per full-time students,
  • $2.50 of assessed value, or
  • the school district's actual voter approved levy.

For each of the school districts, the lesser of these amounts is highlighted in blue. The value in blue is the amount that the property owners in the school district will be taxed for the school operations levy. For Lopez and San Juan schools districts, the actual levy amount is less than the voter approved levy amount. 

2023 Enrichment Levy

Levy renewal and excess levies

Voter approved levy renewal and excess levies are not subject to a 1% year-over-year budget increase. Below are the increases in property taxes that voters approved to be collected in 2023. 

2023 Levy Lid Lift
Banked capacity

Some taxing districts have levied less than the maximum amount allowed over the years. State law (RCW 84.55.092 ) allows these districts to retain the right to use "banked" or "saved" dollars at a later date. A vote from the people is not required for a taxing district to use "banked capacity".

Two districts used banked capacity to increase their 2023 levy.

  • The Orcas Cemetery District increased the  2023 levy by $5,000 or 20% over last year's levy amount. The total 2023 levy amount for the Orcas Cemetery District is $30,000.
  • The Town of Friday Harbor increased the  2023 levy by $111,000 or 30.8% over last year's levy amount. The total 2023 levy amount for the Town of Friday Harbor is $471,000.