Aroundthe City

Published on Thu, Jan 4, 2007
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Around the City

by Tara Nelson

City settles with Klein family over airport land
Blaine City Council agreed to pay nearly $8,900 to one Blaine resident for trees the city cut down on his property south of the Blaine Municipal Airport last year.

In a special meeting November 6, the council voted 4-1 to authorize $8,870 out of the city’s general reserve fund to compensate Eugene Klein for the removal of trees on his property, as recommended by Blaine city attorney Jon Sitkin.

The land-use settlement is the second one incurred by the city this year. In August, the council voted 4-1 to approve a $50,000 loan from the city’s general reserve fund to pay the Carruthers family for a piece of land condemned as a municipal right-of-way.

Blaine City manager Gary Tomsic said that was after the Carruthers claimed the original interest rate set by a Whatcom County District court judge was too low. A Washington State Appeals Court judge agreed, setting the new interest rate to 12 percent.

Blaine finance director Meredith Riley said the total amount the city has loaned the airport through the general fund reserve is $334,160.


City property taxes to increase slightly in 2007

Blaine residents can expect their city property taxes to increase only slightly during the next year even as their assessed home valuations may have doubled.

In a meeting of the Blaine city council Monday, Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic told council members that although the estimated assessed valuation of the city has increased, the city is limited by a 1 percent cap on revenues, which cannot exceed $3.60 per assessed $1,000. Tomsic, however, said he expects the actual tax levy forecasted to be $1.62 per $1,000.

“We’re still limited to a 1 percent growth in revenues,” he said. “So just because the assessed value goes up, our revenues are still limited to a 1 percent increase per year. The taxes are not going to go up proportionate to the amount of increase in assessed value, so if your home doubled in the past four years, that doesn’t mean your taxes you pay are going to double.

“Chances are, it’s actually going to be lower than the $1.62 because it’s not going to take that much to raise the same amount of money.”
Tomsic said property taxes are one of the revenue sources that pay for general city expenses, street improvements and street maintenance.
The meeting was the first in a series of two public comment periods regarding the tax, Tomsic said. The next meeting of the Blaine city council is scheduled for November 27.