MI Weekly

    A weekly update from the City of Mercer Island

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(For event details, visit the City's online calendar or click on a specific event)
Sept 7

Sept 11


Sept 15

Sept 17

Debbie Bertlin

Volunteer Opportunities 

9611 SE 36th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040



Monday - Friday
8:30am to 5:00pm

Donations Requested 

The Mercer Island Food Pantry relies on your non-perishable food donations to keep the shelves stocked year-round.
Click for more info.
Sept 5, 2018 | Vol. 13 | No. 36
Property-taxesProperty Taxes: Does the City Collect More Property Taxes if Assessed Values Increase?
Click to learn about property tax
[Editor's Note: we found a typo in this story and are retransmitting the entire MI-Weekly newsletter]

As home values rise, people often assume their property tax rises too. This is not necessarily the case. Here in Washington, property taxes are
not a set percentage on the value of a property. Instead, the State's "levy-based" system only allows a taxing district to collect a specified total dollar amount (the "levy") each year. Additionally, state law limits levy increases to just 1% each year (this 1% annual growth limit was set by Initiative 747 and subsequently by the State Legislature (RCW 84.55) in 2007, after the initiative was found unconstitutional).
Here's an example of how the math works:

Prior year's levy amount
1% annual growth limit
  X                    1%
Additional amount collected in current year
 =           $10,000
TOTAL levy amount collected in current year

The County Assessor determines the levy rate by dividing the City's total levy amount by the total assessed value of all property within the City. In other words, the Assessor sets the City's levy rate to generate no more than the total levy amount. 

Despite what many believe, rising home prices don't result in higher property tax revenue for the City. Mercer Island's tax rate has actually fallen while property values have steadily climbed during the last decade (the exception being the Great Recession). When the total assessed value of all properties within a jurisdiction increases, the tax rate is lowered to collect only the Council-approved levy amount. On the other hand, if the total assessed value declines, the tax rate is increased to collect the same amount of money.

Out of 20 cities in King County (with 20,000 residents or more), Mercer Island has the lowest rate per $1,000 of assessed value in King County (click to view all 20 cities). In 2018, a Mercer Island homeowner will pay less property tax to the City of Mercer Island than they would to any other city in King County for a home with the same assessed value.

Learn more about  property tax here .
Schoolbus_SafetyBack-to-School Safety
Click to review the laws about when to stop for schoolbuses
The Mercer Island School District is back in session this week (starting Wednesday, September 5). All drivers are reminded to make sure they watch for kids and know the law about stopping for schoolbuses

Under a joint School District and Police Department program started two years ago, many buses on the Island now have external cameras to document vehicles passing illegally; it's a $394 fine.

For any drivers fuzzy on the rules, this handy City of Bellevue illustration provides a clear review. Please drive safely!  
Emergency_AssistanceMIYFS Helping Students in Need
Some of the new shoes donated for students in need; click for
more program information

The Youth and Family Services Department's (MIYFS) Emergency Assistance program partners with local businesses on an annual Back-to-School campaign to provide Island students from income-qualified families the backpacks, school supplies and new shoes or boots needed for school. Staff report there can be a lot of pressure on Mercer Island for students to measure up, both socially and academically. Ensuring all students have basic needs met means that those with tightly limited incomes can start the school year on a level playing field and focus on learning.


MIYFS is thankful for the collaborations and spirit of giving in the community that make this program possible. For example, a shoe drive at Au Courant provided new shoes and rain boots. Aljoya provided school supplies for middle and high schoolers, as well as backpacks for students at all grade levels. And community-wide donations to the MIYFS Emergency Assistance program paid for additional school supplies. This year, 38 income-qualified families (62 children in all) have received support from the program.


Families facing economic hardship are encouraged to contact the MIYFS Emergency Assistance program at any time throughout the year for support; call MIYFS at (206) 275-7611 for more information. Cheryl Manriquez, Program Coordinator, noted that one middle schooler put on their new shoes and said: "I forgot to take them off 'cause I love them so much."

Mercer Island Goes Green
Green_GatheringAnnual Gathering of the Greens, Sept 11
Click to learn more about the City's sustainability program
The City's sustainability program will be presenting an annual update to the community on its programs at a Gathering of the Greens event, convening this year at 7:00pm on Tuesday, September 11, at the MI Congregational Church.
Hosted by local environmental groups Sustainable-MI and MI Ready for 100, the City's Sustainability Manager will address topics such as t he City's trial use of the STAR Community Rating system (to benchmark and measure progress on sustainability measures), local  Climate Action plans, and  ongoing work with the King County Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C). The presentation may also cover s ome of the City's recent sustainability initiatives such as Solarize Mercer Island, and the Bikeshare pilot program.

To view some of the City's sustainability milestones, click here .  
e-cycle E-Cycle Event, Sept 8
The Mercer Island Congregational Church (4545 Island Crest W ay) is hosting their annual e lectronics recycling event with 1GreenPlanet on Saturday, September 8 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Click here to find out what you can and cannot bring to recycle. 

PLEASE DO NOT BRING: Televisions, Wood, Glass, Chemicals, Hazardous Waste, Paint, Tires, or Alkaline Batteries.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a separate event from the City-sponsored recycling event that takes place in the spring and fall.  Click here for information about the upcoming fall recycling event on Saturday, October 27.


For questions and comments on the MI Weekly, contact
Sustainability & Communications Manager Ross Freeman at

ross.freeman@mercergov.org or 206.275.7662.