The Seattle City Council is expected to approve a resolution Tuesday in support of the King County Crisis Care Centers levy proposal slated to come before voters in April.
If approved, the levy would cost the median-value homeowner around an estimated $121 a year over a nine-year period. The levy could raise as much as $1.25 billion through 2032 to fund construction of the five crisis care centers and increase services in the county.
In a memo (PDF) prepared on the proposal to inform Tuesday’s vote on the resolution in support of the levy, council staff says the existing Downtown Emergency Service Center is overburdened and that people experiencing a crisis often end up “either in the emergency room or booked into a jail for a minor crime, although what is needed is a safe place to meet basic needs and address the cause of the crisis.”
CHS reported here on King County Executive Dow Constantine’s proposal for an April ballot measure that would go into effect in 2024.
The April vote will be the second important ballot of the year for Seattle voters. In February, the city’s voters passed I-135, an initiative that will create a new public developer “to build, acquire, own, and manage social housing” in Seattle. D3 voters overwhelmingly supported the initiative.
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Median value home = ?
The proposed assessment is $.145 per $1000 of assessed value so the median price based on that is $834,482. I recently received my property tax bill along with everyone else and most people I have spoken too have seen increases ranging in the 20% range due to increases in assessed value. Based on that I’m guessing the county’s share of that is going up 20% as well so I’d love to know where that additional revenue is going and why they can’t use that to fund this instead of creating another new levy. Almost 60% of my property tax bill is comprised of levies. It’s crazy.
There are several state laws that are the reason for a large portion of funding coming from property tax levies.
You don’t really give a reference to when the 20% increase occurred over, so it’s hard to judge significance… but Seattle has grown rapidly in the last 10+ years, and without the appetite for any other consistent tax sources in site, this continues to be the path forward.
The 20% increase was on the 2023 assessment that people received a a couple of weeks ago. It represents the increase over 2022. The change this year was largely driven by increases in assessed value to land and building not by levies. It is what it is, my point is the county is sure to see a spike in revenue driven by those assessments so I’m wondering what they are doing with that revenue.
While I am hesitant to approve yet-another increase in property tax, I think this plan is worth trying. But I would like to see the increase time-limited, and a robust process to assess whether the centers are really making a difference in what is so obviously an urgent mental health crisis.
This is desperately needed and should be something that everyone can get behind. Emergency rooms and police jails have served as makeshift mental health facilities for too long. This will help our overworked healthcare system, and create more opportunities for people suffering mental health crisis to get treatment. The state has shown that they cannot be relied on for mental health treatment, and therefore, if we want this region to thrive, we need to figure out local solutions.
I would be more excited if the number of facilities proposed, 6, had a 0 after it. I think that’s the kind of scale that is needed to make a real impact and I also think the per facility cost, both operations and creation, would drop dramatically if this proposal were offered on a larger scale.
I’m not sure King County voters would be on board with such a large $ increase in property taxes from an order of magnitude increase. You also get both sides, if they proposed many more sites and a larger price tag you would have others say start small and prove it works first.
This is a step in the right direction and seems reasonably well thought out. From what I have heard and read, these are going to be closer to a small hospital, with many beds, rather than something like a clinic. They will then be supported by mobile units that go into communities to provide services and connect people to these locations. The levy also includes funding to increase overall staffing and retention of mental healthcare professionals, so this should be beneficial across the board to mental health in King County.
Let’s start talking about adding those 55 community-based facilities though Glenn, I like where your heads at!